R.I.P. Steve Jobs. It's already cliché to wax poetic about how he changed our lives but that won't stop me. I have been using Apple products for over a decade and I don't think there is a minute of any day that goes by that isn't in some way connected to, influenced by or impacted by something Steve Jobs had a hand in introducing to my world. Famously, in my inner circle of friends and family, I recently bought my first non-Apple computer in over a decade but that didn't mean I stopped loving what Apple and Steve did for computing, music and consumption of media in general. As a photographer, artist, writer and avid technology user, I have been quietly inspired by Jobs and his vision over the years in ways I wasn't even aware of until now.
One of my favorite books of all time is The Fountainhead about, among other things, an architect who steadfastly refused to compromise his vision to suit the world around him. While his designs were clearly ahead of their time, his contemporaries hated him for having the nerve to try to achieve greatness through innovation rather than imitation. More than any other figure in my lifetime, Steve Jobs embodied these ideals. He was known to be an a--hole by many but that didn't stop them from respecting, even loving what he accomplished. In the end, while he didn't suffer the ridicule Howard Roark did in Ayn Rand's novel, he did often take risks that nobody else would to achieve unparalleled leaps in innovation. His vision completely transformed popular culture, and probably the direction of world history, more than any other figure in our generation.
While those things were evident just in observing his life, this speech Jobs gave in 2005 was something I had never seen until last night and I suspect now that I have watched it I will never forget it. The message of his passing, and this speech is clear; do what you love, be who you are and never compromise. Like many others today I am moved by how simple a message this is and how profoundly it will affect my life going forward. Looking in the mirror will never be the same.
RIP Steve Jobs. October 5, 2011...