Along with my wife, and thousands of my contemporaries around the world, I've spent much of this evening digesting the news that Steve Jobs has passed away. Like many others, I'm somewhat shocked at my own, somewhat personal reaction to his death. I've never met him personally; I've never worked for Apple; and, I only recently even moved to the same side of the country on which he lived. And yet, like so many others have said on Twitter or in visiting Apple's main campus or retail stores, I feel somehow connected to Steve and I'm experiencing grief. To his family and close friends, I can only imagine that my grief and the grief of these others pales in comparison to yours; I'm truly sorry for the loss of your husband, father, brother, and very real friend.
I've read lots of comparisons tonight about Steve; calling him our generation's John Lennon or Thomas Edison. I believe these are all fine concepts and I agree with them; however I also view him as our very own, real life Willy Wonka. He was the candy man who worked tirelessly refining new ideas into products and emerging from his factory every so often to share the results with the rest of the world. When he talked about a new product from Apple, we listened--knowing that this new realization of a piece of his vision was something that would make many of our lives just a bit better. When the iPhone was first introduced, Steve could have told us that Oompa-Loompas had to be brought in to help with it's manufacture and we may well have believed him! He was certainly crazy, eccentric, and saw the world in ways that absolutely no one else did. And for far too brief a period, he surrounded himself with an exceptional group of people to mold his vision into reality so he could share it with us.
Though we never met, any owner and user of Apple products knows Steve Jobs; how could we not? Steve poured not only his time and energy; but also himself into the products that so many of us use daily. Through these products, many of us feel we've come to know some part of that man; and tonight, we mourn our loss.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
Thank you, Candy Man. You left this world tasting pretty damn good.