A few thoughts with Steve Jobs’ passing today at age 56.
There is something about artists and dying young:
- Vincent van Gogh, age 37
- Jim Morrison, age 27
- Janis Joplin, age 26
- John Lennon, age 40
- Jimi Hendrix, age 26
There is no doubt that Jobs was an artist and visionary. A little older than the others listed above, but young for this modern era where he could have led Apple for another 20 years at least.
I bought my first computer, an Apple IIc, in 1986. I was 13 years old and had been making card-based and dice-based baseball and football games for a few years already by then, starting at age 9. I loved that computer. I learned to program in BASIC on it, learned to write code, learned what it meant to invent.
In college I went crazy and abandoned my calling for a few years, along with a number of other discrepancies. But I rediscovered my love of code in 1994. It isn’t really the love of code, though, I learned much later. It is really a love of invention.
I can thank Steve Jobs for all of this.
What is well-known is that The Beatles were Steve Jobs’ favorite band. What I never realized before, though, is how similar the personal histories of Steve Jobs and John Lennon are. Adopted as children, college drop outs, inventors in their own rights, ability to morph and evolve their product in time, interests in Buddhism, dead way before their contributions to society were exhausted. It is stunning how much the two are alike.
He survived a long time for a person with pancreatic cancer. Only 4% of pancreatic cancer patients survive five years, the worst survival rate of all cancers. Thank goodness, too. If he had died in 2004 when he first took a leave of absence, we might not have had the iPhone or the iPad.
Jobs’ passing has brought some powerful emotions for me. My aunt died from pancreatic cancer three years ago.
Steve, wherever you are, I want to make you a promise: I will do my best to always tackle the important problems. Every day, I will bring passion to my job and bring magic to my software. It’s the least I can do given the passion and magic you have brought to my life.