There will be literally hundreds of thousands of stories from thousands of sources about Steve Jobs, the founder and CEO of Apple who passed away last night. (here is one from ABC News) And those sources will not be limited to tech or business sources. Want evidence? This blog is a good start.
Jobs was obviously not a pro athlete. We don’t know what his proclivity for sports was. Was he a fan? A participant? I am guessing he was to some degree. But one of the reasons that I believe that so many in sports have love and respect for Jobs, or at least should, is that he was someone who acts improved the lives of others, in his case, all around the world.
Why was he able to have such an impact? Because he was fiercely focused on the consumer. What made things good for them? What would make the computing experience, and as we have seen, the experience of life, that much better. We are fundamentally a different world since Jobs and others of his ilk (admittedly there are very few at his level) focused their efforts on building our capacity to work, to entertain, to communicate, etc.
What we see in our greatest athletes and those involved in sports, just in our greatest citizens overall, is a disproportionate impact on others, whether their teammates, family, friends, and especially society at large. They:
Bring us together
Building a computer, or playing a game is one thing, but what does it mean to those outside our inner circle? Can we improve the lot of others? And if we can, do we have the courage, the energy, and the empathy to go from idea to action? Steve Jobs answered those questions seemingly on a daily basis. And for that, when history judges him, he will surely be considered an icon for his contributions to society.
A quote from Mr. Jobs captures his essence: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”