“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me…. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful–that’s what matters to me.”
R.I.P Steve Jobs. He was the patron saint of entrepreneurs. Newton once reflected that if his vision extended farther than others’ it was because he stood upon the shoulders of giants. One of the giants has left this iWorld a much more interesting place.
Others will write volumes on this incredible man’s achievements. I do not possess the eloquence to encapsulate so amazing a life nor his impact on the way we live today and will in the future. All I can say from a personal standpoint is that Steve Jobs, through Apple and Pixar, represented to me what possibilities exist in this great country when brilliance, vision, chutzpah and a whole lot of confidence in one’s own assessment of what the public desires combine into one formidable force. (Oh, and as the Occupy Wall Street mob might want to remember as they tweet on their Apple, Inc. iPhones and iBooks, Jobs’ start-up also demonstrates how vital unfettered investment capital from the private sector is to finance said vision–in this case, $250,000 in1977 dollars from Mike Markkula, whom I imagine today would be classified by these same protestors as an “evil millionaire”.)
As the days pass the pantheon of memories of Mr. Jobs’ legacy will also include, rightfully, some failures as well as his many undeniable successes. Eli Lehrer at the Heartland Institute points out a few: The Apple III was bug-infested. The Lisa was prohibitively expensive. The Apple G4 Cube sold poorly and he never made a mark in the applications software arena.
Still, as any creative person knows, and certainly those in business will tell you, the road to ultimate success is often paved by initial failures, so long as they are viewed for what they are: a treasure trove of valuable lessons.
After all, as Thomas Edison so famously (allegedly) replied to a NY Times reporter’s question re: the incandescent light-bulb and about how it felt to fail seven hundred times:
“I have not failed seven hundred times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those seven hundred ways will not work.”
One can imagine Jobs saying the same thing as he rolled up his sleeves and dived into the task of, as he told John Sculley, changing the world. Mission accomplished.
I am happy to have lived in that world after Steve Jobs left his mark upon it. It was a lot more boring before he came along. And it is a little more so again, now that he is no longer with us. But I think his vision will continue. As another great entrepreneur, R.J. Reynolds, said as he was dying: “I have written the book. All you need to do is follow it.”
Sent from my iPhone…