Steve Jobs, Dead at 56

October 6, 2011

I shut down TweetDeck hoping to muster one more ounce of focus. I’m starting to burn out. It’s a cycle for me. I invest all I have into a project and within a few months I get that feeling. I wake up and there’s nothing. Not a worthy thought or a single idea of what I should be doing. So I start pacing myself.

I mess around with my baseball card collection I gathered from my parents’ house over the weekend. I watch some playoff baseball. I walk to the coffee shop.

But I feel guilty. I’m supposed to be working. I’m supposed to be creating. It’s what I’ve done since as long as I can remember, really.

So I clear all distractions and try to put a rally together. I just need to get this one feature working then I’ll call it a day. Then the text message came.

“Omg…steve is dead?”

I open TweetDeck hoping to find it’s just another poorly designed rumor.

It’s not. He really is dead.

“Shit,” I replied.

And for the next five hours I’m enveloped by a hurricane of emotion. The knot in my stomach. The heavy heart. The lump in my throat.

All for a man that I didn’t know. A man I never met.

When I stopped being insane for sports and Dale Murphy and Dan Marino, I started to be insane for computers and Steve Jobs. He became an idol for the grown-up version of myself.

But exactly why did I have so much feeling for him and why was I so emotional about his passing? And why was I seeing the same sentiment being expressed in my Twitter stream by just about everyone?

Beyond the products that Apple delivered over the years, Steve Jobs inspired an entire generation of makers. We all try to reach a level of design purity that Jobs stood for and brought to us in the form of a computer, phone or a piece of software. We’re all smarter and more savvy because Jobs trusted intuitiveness and bet that us users would just get it. He could’ve been wrong. But he wasn’t. He was rarely wrong.

Jobs embodied that one thing we all truly wanted–to be the best at what we do.

The people I want to work with, the people I want to associate with, the people I love most dearly are all like Steve Jobs. They focus on being the best whatever it is they are trying to be and if they ever have┬áto accept anything short of the best, it’s because they just ran out of time.

Here’s to hoping time doesn’t run out on us before we do our best work.

 

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