For the last several weeks it’s felt a bit as though things were just a touch more crazy than usual. That may be a function of the fact that I’ve spent the better part of the last 8 days on planes and crossing way too many time zones, but be that as it may when I landed in Gotham two nights ago to get ready for the 2nd edition of Dot429’s Straight Talk to say I was a bit of a whirling dervish might be understating things just a touch.
Then, as I sat by my computer scrubbing through email accumulated during my day of travel, I saw the news. Steve Jobs was gone. Now, I never worked with or for him. I can not say that I knew him as folks like Ellen Leanse and Walt Mossberg did. Yet, as so many people have said in the last 48 hours – Steve Jobs left an indelible impact on all of us.
Walking through SOHO last night I came upon this at the Apple Store.
I had been hearing about makeshift memorials popping up at Apple Stores all around the country, but as with things of this nature, seeing it was different. The normally bustling New York street seemed to slow just a touch. People stopped, looking at the notes and flowers. Sometimes they left a thought of their own. Many just paused, bowing their heads. A few even walked away with tears in their eyes.
Walking off to my next destination I thought about what I’d just seen and began to think about how truly powerful this moment is. I mean, think about it. What other company do you know where the death of the CEO would give rise to an immediate and global mourning? What other corporate titan would garner makeshift memorials, in front of their place(s) of business? What business tycoon’s impact would lead people to organize a worldwide remembrance day?
You can’t think of one because there isn’t one.
Why shouldn’t tech execs and indeed people from all industries strive to have an impact that goes well beyond whatever product or service they deliver? Why shouldn’t these people whose businesses and products saturate our lives strive to be … better? Why shouldn’t we all?
Steve Jobs’ own words have infused the Internet for the last couple of days, but this is the quote I see most often:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
It is with this mindset that I head into my day moderating a series of conversations for Straight Talk. This edition of the conference is set to focus on three themes – Exposure, Resilience and Meaning. The idea is to talk with these industry leaders about their respective work/business and focus on what drives them, how they power through adversity and looking forward how they feel their work and their efforts can, may and will impact the world at large.
While I didn’t know the man, I feel thankful for the inspiration that Steve Jobs brought to the world. Until this week, frankly, I liked my Apple products and was grateful that he and the amazing team at Apple had brought them into the world, but didn’t really think about him much beyond that.
Today, I think different.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address