Steve Jobs’ Legacy

Last Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56 after his 6-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Within minutes of this news, social media was buzzing with memorials, tributes and memories from Apple fans around the world.

We mourn the death of Steve Jobs because of the legacy he left behind. Steve Jobs was not just the face of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Steve Jobs was not just a successful business owner. He was an entrepreneur who took risks, faced huge setbacks, survived on a dream, and went on to build one of the most recognizable brands in the world. He was a man who redefined what it means to communicate and stay connected in the 21st century. Steve’s story is one of inspiration. Here are some things I learned from Steve that will stick with me:

Don't follow the rules. Connect the dots instead.

I talked about this a few months ago when I reflected on Jobs' 2005 Stanford commencement speech. During his speech, he told a story about how he dropped out of college because he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. One day, out of curiosity, he decided to “drop in” to a calligraphy class just for fun. Years later, when he developed the first Mac computer, Jobs remembered this course and had the idea to add multiple font options to the word processor. While Jobs could have followed the status quo by staying in college and taking only classes that applied to his chosen career path, he chased after what seemed like detours only to find out that his experiences came in handy later in life. This symmetry seems unlikely to happen to the regular person, but Steve’s advice is true for us all: look for connectedness in the seemingly disparate parts of life, and build with them.

Don't lose faith in what you love.

Jobs started Apple with a friend in his parents' garage when he was 20. In just 10 years, the 2-person operation grew to over 4,000 employees. By the time Jobs was 30, he had a falling out with the company and he was fired. This event was very devastating and public, and it could have ruined anyone. But, with his love for technology and innovation, Jobs pressed on and started NeXT, helped Pixar create the world's first animated feature film and eventually made his way back to Apple to resurrect it from a path of failure and grow it into the most successful technology companies in the world. Jobs stated in his 2005 speech: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”

Live each day as if it were your last.

Instead of taking his illness lying down, Jobs pursued his dreams, lived his life, and contributed to our world every day.

Steve’s memory will live on in those who remember him as the passionate, innovative, and inspirational person he was.