Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Soul Man of the New Machine

The San Jose Mercury news made Steve Jobs' death its top story: "above the fold" in newspaper parlance.

He died Above the Fold, in more ways than one. He was so iconic, just a photo of him and a couple of words in a Silicon Valley newspaper were all that were necessary. His name may have been in small print, but his image was writ large.

He was from my hometown, Los Altos, California. But like most geniuses, he came more from the planet inside his head than anywhere else. 

I came to the party late. It was my first iPhone that did it. The design perfection stretched from the box it came in, to the chamois included to clean its screen, to its easy and logical directions. Even better than that were the dandy things it could do. The terrific camera. The easy downloads. The "apps." Oh yes, and it is also a telephone.

Take something as (relatively) unimportant as its charging cord:

It comes apart and turns into a cord that can be used to sync up your iPhone and download your photos.

It is the same cord that works with an iPod.  They're interchangeable. These are simple ideas that come from a perfectionist--among the thousands that make Apple products so good for the user.

My iPhone led me to a MacBook computer which is, of course, a wonder--though I realize my iPhone makes even an Apple computer somewhat of an anachronism. Small and hand held--that is the future.

Why it is that bright stars like Steve Jobs burn so fiercely and are gone so quickly is something none of us will ever understand, no matter what our religion. Don't you wonder if there is a special heaven for geniuses? Will Jobs get to meet Einstein there? Will their legendary personalities improve in eternity?

We can only imagine.

But Steve Jobs life does show that striving for excellence can bring about a remarkable legacy. That, in itself, is a good life lesson for all of us.

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