Sunday, 9 October 2011

Thank You, Steve Jobs

The death of Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, as tragic it was, brought back some hope for aspiring journalists like me that it was possible to find positive stories amidst death. For probably the first time, I learnt not to be boggled by the scams and the brain-numbing figures associated with each scam. Though it was a tragic end for Steve at the young age of 56, it rekindled a hope that it was possible to find and unearth positive stories even during adversities which could find a mention on the front page of a newspaper.


He, of course, left behind a legacy which is tough to replace. He created one of the world's best companies, Apple and led the company to a towering success with his inspiring leadership qualities and a unique vision. What he left behind is far more important was that he left the world as a role model for many people. He left behind the possibility that one person can make a huge difference. He proved that even school or college dropouts had the potential in them to dream big and make it large. At this juncture, it is interesting to note how school and college dropouts often emerge successful as architects of a better future than the ones who spend years studying in IITs or IIMs.


Steve proved many experts wrong by his sheer conviction and his high vision. He demonstrated beyond doubt that clarity of vision and a passion for that vision which settles for nothing but the best and an unwillingness to compromise on principles, ethics or on the need for excellence, one can achieve much more than what is actually unimaginable.

As the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once stated: "All progress depends upon the unreasonable man." Steve was the best example to prove this point. He was unreasonableness personified. It is often said that reasonable people do only reasonable things. Starting from the basics in a tiny garage, he succeeded in building the Apple empire with a vision and a demand of nothing less than the best which has given us the Apple we know of and love today.

He loved doing what he was doing which explains why he emerged successful. In a philosophical angle, doing something which you love is known as swadharma (self-duty). Swadharma is the basic quality in man who has the ideas and potentials. As also, there is always something which a person loves doing which does not seem to take much effort. It is generally believed only self-realized people can live up to the standards of following their swadharma but it is not the case. In this case, Steve personified grit and imagination applied to technology. As a writer once said: "To computer jobs, he brought simplicity. To an industry known for its geeky/ugly functionality, he brought beauty." The day Steve resigned as the CEO of Apple Computers, the Oscar winning music maestro AR Rahman said: "A true master knows when to quit. We will miss you, Steve."

In his impactful Stanford Commencement speech in 2005, he said, "Remembering I'll be dead is the most important tool I have encountered to help me to make the big choices in life. Because almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death; leaving only what it is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to close. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." Such great words coming from a college dropout and more importantly, a cancer patient can only make us stand up in awe of the greatest innovator and mass communicator of the 21st century.


He surely had an enormous impact on the modern life and the changes he initiated in the field of computers and technology will roll through our lives for decades. But for millions, he will epitomize the man who stood for encouragement, belief in one's self and being a role model who could exactly demonstrate how much of an impact is possible by a single man.

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