Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

One of America’s greatest businessmen died today. Apple founder and Chairman of the Board Steve Jobs was in his prime, and he went out on top of the world, exiting gracefully if prematurely due to pancreatic cancer amid a chorus of passionate expressions of love and admiration for his breathtaking achievements in business, technology and the arts. I can’t add to the countless tributes, posts, and deeply felt bows to this American hero, and I’ve already posted about Apple here, so I’ll simply say that this longtime Apple consumer, who began using Apple’s products at a California newspaper where I was writing ad copy and designing ads before hustling my way into a writing assignment (a feature on the 50th anniversary of The Fountainhead), learned of my hero’s demise in an Apple Store in Century City, California. The location and setting, a rainy, autumn afternoon where steel towers meet the sky in an urban landscape predicated on the union of form and function, seems fitting. I had been taking a brief tutorial on Apple’s new business service, Joint Venture, from Gustavo, with another Apple associate, Chadwick, who later confirmed that Mr. Jobs was gone. I’d already been briefed on the forthcoming Apple iPhone 4S, and watched a clip from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape on AppleTV, and I was exiting the store, the busiest enterprise in the complex, when I noticed his image on a MacBook with his name and birth and death dates. When Chadwick told me, we shared a moment of sadness and I went off to be alone. With America in its darkest days, with capitalism being destroyed by our government, I thought: here was a man who took on the whole world and won, with honor, self-interest, and excellence and on the merits, in every sense. He brought us together, in newsrooms, stores and coffee shops, and on social media, and he knew the supremacy and simplicity of what it means to be left alone. Saying thank you isn’t enough for what he did. Steve Jobs deserves something higher, like a prayer. Today, he died, and I am glad I was in a place he created when I heard the news. I think I will always feel like Apple stores, with rows of products made by the company he created, are an embodiment of the larger than life, something both sacred and real, made by him, Steve Jobs.

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