Steve Jobs, Apple founder and CEO and the man who embodied innovation for a generation of American entrepreneurs, died today at age 56. The announcement came from Apple’s board of directors: ”Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.” Jobs had been battling cancer since 2004 and had a liver transplant in 2009; he resigned as the CEO of Apple last August 24.
With Steve Wozniak, college dropout Jobs founded Apple Computer in 1976, introducing the world to the first personal computer, the Apple II, and revolutionizing how we interact with technology. Besides Apple, he headed NeXT and Pixar, and changed how we buy, listen to and carry music.
Steve Jobs was the consummate marketer, and is credited with turning the art of product design upside down with his approach of creating demand with new products rather than meeting existing expectations. His presentation style — spare, elegant, yet also dramatic — is an object lesson for anyone launching a business; his product unveilings were legendary.
While famed for his marketing instincts and somewhat fearsome management style, Jobs was above all an innovator and creator. Hailed as the Thomas Edison of his time, he is listed as inventor or co-inventor on 313 U.S. patents for laptops, desktop computers, smart phones, the iPad, keyboards, packaging, operating systems and more.
In this commencement address to Stanford University in 2005, Jobs describes the arc of his own life in three stories. Its 15 minutes shows the drive, intensity, aesthetics and intellectual curiosity that were the hallmarks of his life and the products he created:
Jobs’ parting words to the Stanford grads in 2005 was “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” advice that he followed to the fullest.
A message on the Apple website invites the public to share thoughts, memories and condolences by emailing email@example.com.
Photo of Steve Jobs from apple.com website, 10/5/2011