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A Tribute to Steve Jobs: Connecting People Using Technology

October 7, 2011 - 27 Comments

The world has lost a great leader and icon of the Silicon Valley and computer era. Some might even call him a marketing genius. There is no doubt that the recent passing of Steve Jobs has sent waves of emotion throughout the Silicon Valley and the world. Even though I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally, I still felt a great sense of loss considering just how much he has changed and influenced the technology age by taking innovative risks and ultimately changing the way the world communicates (Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc.) consumes music (iPod, iTunes, etc.), enabling us all to connect with each other. The simplicity and ease of use of Apple’s products speak for themselves. (I can say that confidently as I type this blog post on my Mac :-))

I was in NYC on business when I heard the news (through Twitter first). It felt strange to not be in the valley with the rest of my technology peers experiencing the sadness of the loss together. After all, I had just visited the Apple campus a day earlier and received a tour from a friend who works there. So I did the next best thing… I headed down to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue (which is open 24 hours btw!) where I found myself surrounded by hundreds of New Yorkers who also wanted to honor the legacy of Steve Jobs.

News reporters gathered as an Apple fan lit a candle on his iPad. Flowers were left on the steps leading up to the Apple store. People smiled at each other and told stories about endlessly waiting in line for sleek and sexy iPhones and iPads. Passersby who had yet to hear the news stopped to inquire and they too, payed tribute to Apple’s visionary leader, by simply standing shoulder to shoulder for a moment of silence.

Apple Store, Fifth Avenue (NYC). Still Open 24 hours.

Apple Store, Fifth Avenue (NYC). Still Open 24 hours.

Crowds gather on Fifth Avenue in NYC to honor Steve Jobs.

Crowds gather on Fifth Avenue in NYC to honor Steve Jobs.

An Apple fan lights a candle on his iPad to pay tribue to Steve Jobs.

An Apple fan lights a candle on his iPad to pay tribue to Steve Jobs.

I echo the sentiments of our CEO, John Chambers:

“The world lost a true visionary and great man today. Steve Jobs did more than simply shape our concepts of technology and invention, he helped define our understanding of how great innovation and design can bring people closer together. I, and everyone at Cisco, am deeply saddened by Steve’s loss. Our deepest sympathies go out to his colleagues and family. We’ll miss you, Steve, but your legacy will continue forever.”

– John Chambers, CEO, Cisco

A couple of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs:

“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”

– Steve Jobs

The following quote is from Steve’s commencement address at Standford in 2005. If you haven’t had an opportunity to watch, it’s definitely worth the 15 minutes.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

– Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs challenged the world to ‘think different” and to take risks. Technology alone is not enough. It’s about bringing people together. That is how lives are touched. Thank you Steve, for bringing the world closer together. My deepest sympathies go out to Steve’s family and friends. May he rest in peace knowing that the impact that he has made on both technology and people will live on in his honor.

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  1. Steve Jobs was an innovator, a visionary, and extremely talented, but he was also at the right place at the right time. He will be truly missed

  2. Thanks for your comments @Dev @kingsfour @memee

  3. Steve Jobs is the best man of years and never ever

  4. Very well done Deanna. Steve Jobs was certainly an inspiration to us all. Without people in the world willing to take risks and think outside the box, where would we be?

  5. Steve Jobs was an inspiration for many including me.
    The best quality in him was that he emerged stronger every time he was defeated by life.
    I believe there is no one there in apple to take his place.

  6. We lost a kind of prophet…

  7. Deanna,

    Really great post on Jobs. I hadn’t seen the Standford commencement until now. Glad I did.

    I really like this old comment I found on Jobs back in 1985.

    “The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people–as remarkable as the telephone.”

    — Playboy interview, 1985

    • Thank you, Josh. I love that comment by Jobs as well. He was on to something… the evolution of the internet, the PC and social networking has dramatically changed the way the world communicates. And look how fast it’s changed…Kids who grow up in today’s generation can’t imagine living in a world without technology, it’s in their DNA 🙂

  8. Thanks, Mason and Felix for your comments.

  9. Deanna, thank you for sharing your experience with us. Steve Jobs was an innovator, a visionary, and extremely talented. It is a giant loss for us as he had the rare ability to drive innovation and change so quickly.

    It’s important that we take the time to remember him and his accomplishments.

    • @Allison – thanks for reading and for your comment. Jobs knew how to rally his troops (even if they failed, after all, failing early can only lead to success sooner). His team at Apple is extremely dedicated and will continue to be dedicated to driving innovation. (I say this as I just ordered my brand new iPhone 4S! :-))

  10. As a user experience designer for several hi-tech companies in Silicon Valley over the years, I have always admired and strived for the simplicity and elegance that is Apple. Steve’s continual drive and determination to bring the user to the forefront is one of the fundamental reasons for his success. You see, it’s not as simple as everyone thinks it is. Everyone loves Apple products. Why? Because they are easy to use, make our lives easier and bring people together. What most people don’t see and understand is the hours, days, months, even YEARS of innovative, forward-thinking design that goes on behind closed doors. That one simple task on your iPhone that you love so much? What you don’t see are the hundreds of post-it notes, whiteboard drawings, flow diagrams, sketches, charts, and visual design iterations that went into making that “simple” final product. As a fellow designer, I have always appreciated and respected Steve’s passion for design. He has now helped other companies see the value of placing user experience much, much earlier in the product development life cycle. Innovation is about taking risks and just like our engineering counterparts, we can’t be perfect all the time. User experience teams have “bugs” too.. it’s part of our design iteration process and by bringing this up earlier in the process, we have time to get the design right. Simple as that.

    This is a great article about how Steve Jobs has changed the life of every designer. A MUST read:

    Well written article Deanna. Thank you Steve Jobs for being my inspiration on a daily basis. Your passion will live on through me.


    • Well said, Denise. I agree that placing the user experience at the core is imperative.

      “Steve’s continual drive and determination to bring the user to the forefront is one of the fundamental reasons for his success. You see, it’s not as simple as everyone thinks it is. Everyone loves Apple products. Why? Because they are easy to use, make our lives easier and bring people together.”

      This absolutely takes time and a lot of effort behind the scenes. And when it is done right, the products speak for themselves 🙂

      Thanks for the link to the article as well!

  11. Steve Jobs was undeniably one of the greatest innovators of our time, and he shall indeed be missed.

    May he rest in peace and soar with those who came before.

  12. Steve Jobs!, Ur innovative mind and passion changed the world. This world will never be the same without the mind of Steve Jobs.

  13. MY APPLE STORY: I gave Iphone-1 to my wife on our weeding anniversary few years back. I gave Iphone-3 to my second daughter when she finished her medicine degree. Last year my eldest daughter gave me my Iphone-4 of which I am using now as a birthday present. I am now hoping to buy myself on 21 October 2011 a gift on my 60th birthday this time a Mac Air. Thank you Steve for the wonderful gift to my family.

  14. He learned us to believe in visions, like Henry Ford did it.

  15. Great blog Deanna. Similar to other icons, I think each of us will know exactly where we were when we heard of Steve Jobs’ passing,

    I’d like to remember him as a good man first and foremost. His contributions and accomplishments while insurmountable to the world of technology seem secondary at his passing. He conducted himself with humility and dignity and I think those are the qualities that made him reachable to the masses. While mostly anonymous and under the radar, his charitable contributions were plentiful which is a testament to his way of being that you don’t have to be loud to be heard.

    He shall be missed dearly.

    • Hi Vibha,
      Well said. And you are exactly right. I will never forget where I was when I learned of the passing of Steve Jobs. Thanks for your heartfelt comment.

  16. Good-bye, Steve.
    Everyone feels lost but all your work will never be lost.

  17. Dave

    “we’ve lost a DaVinci, a Lennon…”

    These were my thoughts, exactly… A great visionary was lost.

  18. The world lost a genius.

  19. He changed mankind, we’ve lost a DaVinci, a Lennon…

    • Hi Dave. Indeed. And the impact is being felt all over the world. I am in awe of the countless Steve Jobs stories and tributes that have and will continue to be posted across the web for a long time to come…Thanks for reading and for your comment.

  20. That was a shocking news , we heard on Wednesday!.Steve, You will be so missed and will be remembered on all the Apple products that we use. You brought a drift for “I”, which will be learnt by heart forever in future generations.
    We were so happy to live in your era , thank you for your innovations and feel proud to use your first generation product…
    You are a great technology legend and idol for many young inspirers. A simple and down to earth human being.
    Our deepest condolence to your family and May your soul rest in peace.