Steve Jobs is no more.
It is natural for the World to pay homage whenever a prominent personality dies. In the case of many leaders, the tributes are mainly customary. Speech writers often scramble to identify characteristics that could be attributed to the departed soul, to make the homage appear realistic. At times they succeed, but often times soulless words get uttered and printed – words, which both the speaker and the reader know, make no meaning, have no impact, and establish no connection.
A select few personalities are, however, different. Their death generates spontaneous outpouring of grief, sense of loss, and emotions ranging from disappointment, to sorrow, and to pain. And Steve was never one in the crowd, to say the least. He was always among a select few. More than that, he was often unique.
Steve Jobs had so many positive qualities, inspiring traits, and admirable characteristics, that it would be a herculean task for an amateur like me to capture even a fraction of them. At the risk of sounding to be just another guy jumping on to the bandwagon of people expressing their homage to Steve, I venture to share my feelings about him, and a few characteristics of his that I admired the most.
First of all, he seemed to be blessed with an amazing sense of clarity in respect of what he wanted, an amazing clarity of thought. It seemed like he exactly knew what he wanted. Knowing what you really want is a trait not everyone is blessed with.
Secondly, his communication abilities were remarkable. He was a born presenter, communicating clear and simple. He got to the point quickly, and made them precisely, without leaving any room for misunderstanding. His ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’ speech is one of the most inspirational and wise speeches of all time. I really wish that it is made part of curriculum at some level in high school.
Thirdly, it appeared that to him, everything was personal. Mostly, that is a limitation, but he gloriously displayed how that could be an asset. May be, that was one huge difference between him and the other boy genius of his times, Bill Gates. Jobs is credited to be behind every single, minute detail behind Apple products. Every face-off and competition he had in the commercial world, from Microsoft to Dell, he made it all personal. Even towards the end when reports started coming out about Google’s plans to come up with mobile handsets, he is famously reported to remarking ‘but we didn’t get into the search business.’
Fourthly, he made the world a better place – few could argue against that. In a world where speculators pass of as visionaries, he was a true visionary. He made bold moves, justified them when questioned, and they finally emerged as he predicted. He satisfied demands (at times after creating them), and fulfilled expectations. He raised the bar – be it while demanding from his team, or while delivering to his customers.
I must confess that I am not half as much a fan of Apple, as I am Steve. But for an iPod gifted to me by my brother, I have never used an Apple product. And pricing of Apple products, undeniably, had a major say in this. Even as a child, I was identified as ‘stingy’. As I grew up, I realized that as much as I got my priorities wrong at times, the world too, mixed my desire to evaluate ‘value for money’ with stinginess. And I, somehow, found the other mp3 players that come at a fraction of the cost of an iPod, to be serving my purpose. Similarly, I am not too inclined to spend money on an iPhone, when comparable utilities are available at lesser cost. And my views on the iPad are getting aligned in the same direction.
However, that does not mean I don’t respect or like Apple products. Apple products were always a statement. And they meant QUALITY – always! Seldom, did their products fail. No doubt, they appeared to be steeply priced, but regular Apple customers always trusted that Apple knew exactly what they wanted. They were seldom disappointed. And, in fact, Apple often delivered to them experiences that even they never imagined of.
Finally, I must also admit that as much as I admire him for all his abilities, talents and his achievements, I, by no means, can claim to have implemented any of the lessons that he shared with the world. True homage is reflected more in actions than words. And by that yardstick, I would be a miserable failure. That however should not take away any of my right to be in awe of this man. As a member of the human race, I am entitled to that much indulgence – to be in awe of an extraordinary genius and an inspirational personality.