The world changes with each passing moment, sometimes for the better, too often for the worse. Recently, a leader who worked to make this a better place passed away. Steve Jobs was only 56 years old, but his impact on our lives was tremendous.
We all loved Steve Jobs for the incredible products Apple has given us over the years. He built the first computer that was actually fun. He made a machine our friend instead of something we had to use. For those of us in the creative arts he re-defined our professions and allowed us to go in directions that none of us could have ever believed possible just 25 years ago.
My daughter is fourteen years old and she has never known a world without an iPod or the iTunes store. Music dominates her life – is her life – and yet neither of those products existed before she was born. Garage Band, an Apple application for editing audio and music, is an essential tool in her world and it is barely out of infancy.
Not every creative musing from Jobs' mind has been a complete success. A lot of dumb people traverse the planet with smart phones, trading real friendships and experiences for 140 characters of drivel, their eyes glued to the screen while life happens around them. The iPhone changed ... everything. But when it was launched noone wanted it. The phone companies said they couldn't sell a $300+ phone. The iPhone, of course, it isn't all bad, just abused and over used. And now its cousin, the iPad, is re-inventing the way we view all of our devices. Our future children will have all of their school work on an iPad. The classroom will, literally, be at their fingertips. The textbooks of the future will be interactive digital worlds.
Another of Jobs' inspirations changed the world, as well. Who doesn't know Pixar, and what kid in the last 20 years hasn't been entertained and taught through their brilliant films? Pixar was a failing software company when Jobs took over. And it's first product launched under his direction? Toy Story.
Steve Jobs has left a legacy that is founded on possibility. He was proof that Einstein and Jack London were right. "Imagination is more important that knowledge," said Einstein. If you can dream it you can find a way to acquire the knowledge needed to get there.
And Jack London wrote: "I would rather be ashes than dust. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist." Steve Jobs didn't waste his time, nor ours.
Let's just hope we are all worthy and capable of continuing his legacy.