There have been plenty of moving tributes written over the last 24 hours by people who actually knew Steve Jobs. I will let their words speak for who he was as a friend and a man. However, I still find myself moved to put something down. I'm not even an Apple fanatic -- I got my first Mac only two months ago -- but the feeling of loss still weighs on me.
In many ways, my generation came of age during Steve's resurgence. Pixar came to prominence when we were in middle school, making us the target demographic. The iPod was released when we were in high school, transforming the music industry just as we really got into music. The iPhone came out when we were graduating college, immediately shaping how we would approach business and mobile computing at work. It seems as the progression of Steve's second act at Apple was lock-step with the evolution of millenials.
In addition to that, my company has come of age during a period when Steve Jobs was the scion of business. My idea of running, marketing, and growing a business was certainly shaped by studying and understanding him. That's not to say we're trying to build anything like Apple (we're a 10 person web design firm!), but his influence was so omnipresent that any entrepreneur would be foolish to ignore his lessons.
The pall of loss is lifted by a feeling of extreme fortune. I keep thinking of how lucky we were to live in this time and to experience Steve Jobs. He will no doubt go down as one of the greatest innovators and businessmen of the 21st century and we all had a front row seat. We came of age with Steve and that's something that we can own and better shape our path to the future. Thanks.