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Steve Jobs lived for the possible
Oct. 17, 2011
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by Ivan Raconteur

 When Steve Jobs logged out and shut down for the final time Oct. 5, it made me sad, which is strange, since I never met the man and may not have liked him if I had.

In spite of that, he was part of my life for more than a quarter of a century, and it is difficult to ignore that kind of connection.

I am writing this column on a MacBook, which is practically an extension of my hands, and it is just one of the Apple products I use every day.

The tools Jobs helped to create are elegant, beautiful, and intuitive. The notion that computers and other devices can be attractive, even artistic, is just one of the ways his amazing vision changed the world.

From the early Apple computers to iMacs, iPods, iPhones, and iPads, the list of accomplishments is incredible.

His talent for creating tools that allowed people to use their creativity without obstacles is legendary.

Instead of building machines and forcing people to learn how to make them work, he designed tools that anyone can pick up and start using immediately, and actually have fun doing it.

Not only did he bring personal computing within the reach of the average person, he changed the way we interact with these tools.

Throughout his career, he continued to find ways to change the way we do things, including the way we purchase and listen to music, and what we expect from our mobile phones.

The uncanny thing about Jobs was that with his unique vision, he was so far ahead of the game, he was designing products consumers couldn’t live without, even before we knew we needed them.

Instead of responding to demand, he imagined what we would need next, and went out and created it.

This sounds like a lot of praise for a quirky guy who made computers and other gadgets, but somehow, calling Jobs a visionary and a creative genius doesn’t seem to come close to describing his impact on our lives and culture.

In addition to his technical and creative gifts, he was a master showman, and he turned mundane occasions like product releases into major cultural events.

As I thought about Jobs’ death, and read the news stories about his life, and the Facebook posts that underscored this influence, I thought about his legacy.

One of my friends summed things up nicely when she wrote that Jobs changed the way we interact with technology, and what we expect from it.

There is a lot of truth in that statement.

We can only hope that the company he founded will continue to follow the course he set. Things will be different, of course, but as long as his spirit of innovation remains, there will be hope.

Jobs certainly had a hand in the development of a lot of products that have become indispensable, and he will be remembered for that.

Jobs had his ups-and-downs during his far-too-short life, but he learned from these challenges and moved forward.

He was an inspirational man who preached the gospel of living every day. His short life serves as an example of how important that is. It is a message we would do well to remember.

Jobs had some rare gifts, and he had some abilities that most of us simply don’t possess.

There is, however, a part of Jobs’ legacy that we can all use.

He was called an innovator and a visionary, but the key to his success was his stubborn belief in the possible.

Jobs refused to accept that the way things are is the way that they have to be. Instead, he looked at the world in terms of the way it could be.

He didn’t give a rat’s elbow if anyone else believed him or not. He refused to accept limitations, and he demanded that those around him follow that vision.

The result has been some amazing innovations that have changed the lives of a lot of people.

No matter what our jobs are, or where we are in life, all of us can use that kind of thinking.

Jobs shattered expectations and demolished established rules about how things were supposed to be, and applied this creative approach to everything he did.

We all have the ability to do this in our own lives, and if we do, there is no telling what we might accomplish.

We won’t all become billionaires, but smashing a few boundaries and coloring outside the lines sounds like more fun than blindly following the flock like a bunch of blind automatons devoid of imagination.

Jobs sometimes portrayed his fight for creativity and innovation as a battle between good and evil, darkness and light.

I’d much rather live in a bright new world based on the best that things can be, rather than accepting someone’s dull vision of the way things have to be.

Jobs’ legacy is the rejection of arbitrary boundaries.

Living each day to the fullest, and refusing to accept limitations may be the best way to honor the memory of the guy in the black turtleneck and Levi’s jeans who did so much to change our world for the better.


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