“Perfection is achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Yesterday the world lost one of the greatest creative and business minds of the last century, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. A steadfast West Coast iconoclast and a true visionary, his impact on not just computing, but communication and music, is felt around the world on a daily basis.

Jobs has shaped and empowered the way I create, communicate, and recreate

For me personally, he’s simultaneously shaped and empowered the way I create, communicate, and recreate, with product designs that are elegantly simple and impossible to resist. Each new Apple product I’ve personally encountered (the PowerMac (remember the dark days of the beige box, friends?), the MacBook, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad) has felt like a leap forward, and changed my day-to-day life in ways I hadn’t imagined before. For that I am grateful. There aren’t many inanimate objects I am grateful for. There aren’t many products that inspire my creativity and imagination like my Mac. So many of my colleagues, friends, and family share my enthusiasm for Apple that it is–to borrow an apt term–hard-wired into our consciousness, a part of our collective DNA. [It took years but even my parents finally understood this after I sent them a MacBook Air and showed them how easy it was to video chat. To talk to them face-to-face in real-time across hundreds of miles was a pure delight.]

So when I saw the news flash over a flat screen monitor at the gym last night, I stopped in my tracks, and sat down and stared into the distance for several moments. To join the mourning ranks and say that I felt like I’d lost a loved one would be trite and clichéd, since I never met the man, but I had to ask myself—admittedly somewhat selfishly—”what now?” Under Steve Jobs’ direction, Apple has been a titan for the last 13 years, selling us consumer products we never knew we needed. Without his peerless leadership, can Apple maintain the winning streak? [This recent phenomenal success largely overshadows Jobs’ pioneering technological efforts in the 80s, giving us the first commercially successful desktop computer, the GUI, and the mouse, among other things.]

I wish Apple the best of luck keeping Steve Jobs’ culture of innovation steering the company so we continue to see “insanely great” products for years to come.

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