I really hoped this wasn’t true…
I have two thoughts on this.
First, You can’t see this as anything but a tragedy and I want to say up front that I wish he’d lived to a ripe old age.
At the same time my first thought when I heard this news was to think of an old quote. After the doctor declared Abraham Lincoln dead a silence fell over the room. Then Lincoln’s War Secretary, Edwin Stanton, reportedly said “Now he belongs to the Ages”. As tragic as the death of Steve Jobs is you have to also see the beauty of him always being remembered as the relatively young man with a twinkle in his eye and a magical device in his hand.
Now that he’s passed it seems impossible to imagine him as a doddering old 80 year old sitting in retirement. He truly did belong to the ages.
The other thing that keeps going through my mind is a story that made the rounds a while back. After it was clear MobileMe had become a disaster Jobs reportedly took the team aside and berated them. He’s reported to have yelled “You should hate each other for having let each other down”
To be honest I don’t think you can learn much from Steve Jobs because he had such an extraordinary talent. His instincts were better than the combined rational thought of an entire industry. So in most things you can’t hope to emulate Steve Jobs.
But you can live passionately. You can work so hard at doing something well that you hate yourself for failing. That’s something we can all do and even if we’re not lucky enough the change the world like Steve Jobs we’ll certainly succeed in making the world a better place.
That’s my take away tonight.
Addendum: I certainly didn't realize this but for the record Abraham Lincoln died at the very same age, 56.