Personal Tribute to Steve Jobs

Today starts with a somber note as yesterday the tech industry lost a great leader. Steve Jobs meant many things to many people. Through his work with Apple, Pixar and Next, he touched the lives of many people.

To me personally, I will miss him in many ways. Over my career in Silicon Valley, I’ve had the good fortune to meet and work with many of technology’s great leaders. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting Steve.

Even so, I marveled in his ability to lead one of the industry’s most reveled companies. Under Steve’s leadership, Apple created a strong cult-like following envied by many others. Their products are truly revolutionary and innovative. They pushed the envelope in ways we never knew existed.

Steve was the quintessential showman. His presentations exemplified his charisma, passion and leadership. Even during his darkest days, he still persisted to remain a strong leader for Apple. He was a visionary that set the tone and pace for products we may not fully appreciate for years to come. Some will debate his callus nature and bravado as being over the top. Yes, he took risks. But with those risks came great rewards. We can all learn from his leadership and examples to guide us from the trappings that often limit our own success, both personally and professionally.

An excerpt from Steve’s 2005 Stanford University Commencement Speech:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

There are a number of things we can learn from his speech in both work and life.

Steve creates a large void that will be difficult to fill. As we mourn his passing, I can’t help to think about what comes next. Personally, I have gained quite a bit from Steve’s examples in leadership, presentation, innovations and successes. Apple’s clever tagline “Think Differently!” still reigns as a viable war cry.

Steve was passionate. Steve believed in what he did. We all benefited from his time with us. Steve will truly be missed!

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