I am sitting in a nice little breakfast shop in St. Augustine, Florida. When I looked at the news this morning the first thing I saw was that Steve Jobs had passed away yesterday.
I feel great compassion for the family and friends that he left behind.
As I was reading about him, and his work, I realized that, although there was a stack of newspapers on the counter, I was reading the news on my iPad. The products Apple has created and that I have bought and used over the past 20 years have, in a very real way, changed my life.
When I was in college I took a course in FORTRAN which is an ancient computer programming language which ran on the college’s mainframe. Writing a program required one to type each command on a punch card and then turn the cards (bundled together with a rubber band) in to the Bursar’s office. Computer time was limited so each student could submit only one deck of cards a week. If you made a mistake or even just a typo—– tough luck— try again next week.
I wrote my first book on a PC and then moved on to Dell laptops. About ten years ago my laptop got snarled by a terrible infestation of viruses. I switched to a Mac. I loved it and never turned back.
I am writing my next book on an ipad 2 with a bluetooth keyboard and an origami folding case. It is light fast and easy to use.
So, here is what I am taking away from the passing of Steve Jobs. He died young (56), too young, with too much left undone. He modeled the kind of leadership that I, frankly, aspire to– he changed the way we relate to the world how we see it and how we move within it.
I want to do something similar, but technology has never interested me in that deep way.
I want to change the way we see, feel about and interact with aging.
When I am gone perhaps someone will take a few minutes to reflect on how aging used to be and how grateful he/she is that it changed. This goal is worthy of a lifetime of work and that is exactly what I intend to give it.
I’ll leave you with a few words that Steve Jobs offered the graduating class of Stanford in 2005:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”– Steve Jobs, Commencement address at Stanford University, June 12, 2005.