Huffpost UK Tech uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Mark Hillary Headshot

Steve Jobs Succeeded Against all the Odds

Posted: Updated:
STEVE JOBS DEATH APPLE
Getty

What more can be said about the visionary co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, that has not already been said in the thousands of obituaries flooding the newspapers, magazines, and blogs today?

This was a man with the vision to change entire industries. He changed the movie business, kicked mobile phones into the Smartphone era, and radically shifted the music business to an electronic download model. And that's not even mentioning what Apple did for the computing industry.

But according to all the normal rules of life, he should never have succeeded. Jobs was adopted, he never even got to meet or form a relationship with his biological father. His biological parents were from entirely different races, religions, and communities. When he finally went to college - costing the life savings of his parents - he only lasted a single term before dropping out.

All the cards were stacked against him, yet he still succeeded to build a company that created magic. That's why consumers love Apple so much, because the products are designed to work, look, and feel better than any rival products - a magical halo surrounds them obscuring any flaws.

Music sounds better on an iPod, a writer feels they can write better on a Macbook, and who needs to make phone calls on an iPhone when you can do so many other things with it?

Jobs was rarely presented as a man who battled against enormous challenges before succeeding in business and his Buddhist beliefs tempered any hubris as he achieved greater success with his second spell at Apple. He was a convincing salesman, but the cheering crowds loved the products anyway. Most new Apple products could sell themselves - as the lines outside Apple stores testify.

Despite the acclaim Jobs undoubtedly deserves for his design and business success, the greatest element in his story is that most people faced with the challenges he endured would have achieved nothing, settling instead into a life of obscurity.

Jobs not only leaves his family and Apple behind, but a legacy of innovation in so many different creative industries that one can only wonder what he might have achieved if he had not left us at the age of just 56.

Perhaps the best illustration of his own philosophy was his address to Stanford University graduates 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 other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

The customary obituary sign-off 'Rest in Peace' doesn't sit right with Steve Jobs. As a Buddhist he would have believed in rebirth, so it feels nicer to imagine that as one Steve died yesterday, another was born somewhere in the world today.

Around the Web

Steve Jobs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

all about Steve Jobs.com

Steve Jobs: How to live before you die | Video on TED.com

Apple - Remembering Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Is Dead - WSJ.com

Steve Jobs Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story - Biography.com