Has it really been a decade? 5 October 2021 marked ten years since the untimely death of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs (see “Steve Jobs Dead at 56,” 5 October 2011, and “Mourning Steve Jobs,” 10 October 2011). On that day, Apple commemorated the anniversary with a tribute on its homepage that featured a brief video about his life. The tribute page was ephemeral, but Apple has now shared the video on its YouTube channel.
Former Apple design guru Jony Ive, a close friend and collaborator of Jobs, penned his own tribute for the Wall Street Journal, offering a rare glimpse into Jobs’s thought process:
Steve was preoccupied with the nature and quality of his own thinking. He expected so much of himself and worked hard to think with a rare vitality, elegance and discipline. His rigor and tenacity set a dizzyingly high bar. When he could not think satisfactorily he would complain in the same way I would complain about my knees.
As thoughts grew into ideas, however tentative, however fragile, he recognized that this was hallowed ground. He had such a deep understanding and reverence for the creative process. He understood creating should be afforded rare respect—not only when the ideas were good or the circumstances convenient.
Ideas are fragile. If they were resolved, they would not be ideas, they would be products. It takes determined effort not to be consumed by the problems of a new idea. Problems are easy to articulate and understand, and they take the oxygen. Steve focused on the actual ideas, however partial and unlikely.
Apple CEO Tim Cook kept his remembrances more private, sharing an internal memo with Apple employees:
Steve was so many things: brilliant, funny, and wise, a husband, a father, a friend, and, of course, a visionary. He challenged us to see the world not for what it was, but for what it could be. And he helped so many people, myself included, see the same potential in ourselves. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.
Jobs was a rare figure, and while he was a famously imperfect human being, few people have equaled his technological impact on the modern world. Over the course of his career, Jobs touched every major milestone in personal computing: video games, home computing, graphical interfaces, local networking, digital music, smartphones, tablets, and more. Jobs himself invented very little, but his taste, insight, wisdom, and refusal to settle for anything but the best work left an indelible dent in the universe.