Steve Jobs: The Grandmaster of Technology

INSANELY great. A two-word eulogy that fits into the technological utopia that Steve Jobs constructed, expanded and dominated.

A two-word phrase that Jobs concocted in the mid-1980s as a precocious youngster building and pitching the first Macintosh computer that rocked the world and transformed the way we think about work and play.

Without Steve Jobs, world history would have been alterably different. Perhaps aircraft, automobiles, ships and other machines relying on computing heft would have operated in a far divergent manner.

The computing that we take for granted now, the part that is our major psychological pleasure and leisure dome, would have been skewed to be less perfect, less convenient and less practical if it was not forcefully articulated by Jobs, especially the manipulating of a graphic interface with the click of a mouse.

Yes, Jobs was responsible for that, in case you didn’t know. Jobs, for being the philosophical perfectionist that he is, assumed the persona of a stubborn ass, ignoring his advisers and marketers for refusing to sell a device that he himself would have rejected.

That’s why in the environment that people operate and play with the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad as if these devices were conjoined twins, they may or may not realise that it is a Steve Jobs’ world and we are thankful to live in it.

Jobs was not the perfect human being: he ranted, shouted, screamed, goaded, instigated, cajoled colleagues and critics to the point of hysteria but like all geniuses, they function on a warped timeline, if not an antithetical work ethic. But in life, Jobs was a giant, pioneering new ways of computing, creativity and communications, even if he was a bag of bones battling the cancer diagnosed in 2004, and which, finally, took his life in 2011.

Here’s the terrible beauty about Jobs’ cancer diagnosis: because he knew he had a limited lifespan, he feverishly worked himself towards imagining the applied science that led to the devices we desperately cannot live without now.

As an experiment, try leaving home without the iPhone and iPad, or any computer or mobile devices of other brand names that Jobs was instrumental in their creation.

Now, you will realise that Jobs is THAT great. Jobs gave peace a chance with his vision. He was an extraordinary mortal even if he died in the most ordinary, mortal way, to a disease that afflicts millions.

He presented a worldview that if people used his product, it evoked a less violent, more productive and evenly divine lifestyle. One might wonder if he had applied that ingenuity, wealth and resources to finding a cure for his disease.

For all our sakes, Jobs must have made one hell of an attempt to beat the cancer, but a cure wasn’t imminent, at least not in his lifetime. Having stated that, Jobs was not the run-of-the-mill CEO deserving an eulogy crafted in a single page, from a single moment.

Like this piece, elucidating what Jobs bequeathed to the world, is woefully inadequate. The earlier biographies may have enlightened us on the complexities of Job’s principles, but you’d want to defer on the overall assessment until his autobiography comes out soon, penned with Walter Isaacson.

Somehow, the deep void that Jobs already etched is devastating, where it should simmer for years after devoting his entire professional life into gifting us with probably the most powerful device ever invented.

Jobs’ supreme legacy is now embedded in the pantheon of great geniuses of the past — Edison, Gutenberg, Picasso and, perhaps, Michelangelo.

The “most famous maestro of the micro”, as TIME aptly portrayed Jobs in a 1982 profile when they chose the computer as the “Machine of the Year”, will be still presciently relevant long after his death.

Will there be another computing eureka with Jobs gone, at least in the perfection that he commanded and determined? The real tragedy will be if there is none.

Where Jobs pitched the Mac with his most famous sales doctrine, we now redirect that precept and bestow it back to him, the “insanely great” visionary whose contributions were a privilege to this world. –

  • By Azmi Anshar, Southeast Asian Editor @ neverforget.cloud (This post originally appeared in Malaysia’s New Straits Times in October 2011, when Azmi was its Assistant News Editor)

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