Apple Inc. co-founder and board chairman Steven P. Jobs, 56, died Oct. 5, 2011, surrounded by family at home, according to media reports. Mr. Jobs had battled pancreatic cancer for years, and in late August resigned as the firm’s chief executive, replaced by Tim Cook.
Mr. Jobs was as tenacious in guarding his family’s privacy as he was in driving innovation at Apple, which he co-founded with Steve Wozniak in 1976, as well as at NeXT, the Unix-based computer company he started in 1985 after his unceremonious ouster from Apple. He also brought that innovative spirit to Pixar, the film-animation studio he created in 1986 when he bought the computer graphics operation of Lucasfilm Ltd.
Unlike many firms — Eagle Computer, an early manufacturer of PCs comes to mind — the sad passing of Mr. Jobs will not likely have a detrimental impact on Apple. His meticulous care in selecting the firm’s leadership team, his dedication to quality products and groundbreaking design, both of these will be a positive influence on the company going forward.
What is certain is that Mr. Jobs will be long remembered, and deeply appreciated, by those who knew him, worked with him, or whose lives were touched by the products and the company he helped create. Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Mr. Jobs, expressed raw emotion in a Facebook posting after the news broke: “I am in shock and saddened. The phone is ringing constantly and I’m overwhelmed with email and there is only one of me. The bother of all this gets in the way [of] dealing with my own feelings, so please, I need time to myself.”
While I wish I could say that I knew Mr. Jobs personally — that wasn’t to be — I do have a deep appreciation for what he has done and for the company he created. Only once in a generation, perhaps only once in a century, does someone come along whose vision and drive really changes the world in such a substantial way. He will be missed — and he shall be long remembered.
My favorite summation of Mr. Jobs’ life and work came from Regis McKenna, longtime publicist for Apple, who said at the time of Mr. Jobs’ retirement, “I guess the words I like to think about Steve is that he will be forever cool.”
UPDATE: Here’s what I said on FOx 5 DC’s 10 O’Clock News Wednesday night in an interview with Brian Bolter: