I keep thinking about Steve Jobs. It's not just because I spend a good part of my day looking at one of the many Apple screens I possess, nor wondering if their future releases will be ones I will covet in the same way I have in the past. Nor because, like many others, I have been reading the countless tributes and articles about his life the last few days. Nor that it is always sad when someone dies much too soon. Of course, all that's a part of it. But I think it's more than that. For me, it's what he did with the 56 years he had. I think about how at a very early age he knew what he loved to do, his laser focus to stay true to that passion, his ability to learn from his mistakes, his vision and leadership, and the insane confidence he must have possessed to bipass all consumer research and even, at times, those in his hand picked team who may have disagreed.
I've been an Apple fan forever. When the company was supposedly on the virge of bankruptcy and the only core users were artists and designers (neither of which I am), it was my computer of choice. The brains and logic behind Apple products made sense to me. Playing with and figuring out how to use my 270 Duo Dock brought out the techie geek in me. And ever since has made me curious about the convergence of technology, media and entertainment. But as much as I, like the rest of the world, am in awe of his amazing insight into what consumers wanted, the perfectly crafted products he created, and how he changed the business models for music, publishing and the mobile industries - it is his personal strength, conviction, passion and focus that keeps me thinking about him.
A Steve Jobs comes along once in a generation, if that. And I'm certain there are many who dream of filling his shoes - not just at Apple, or in the tech sector, but also the kid in the garage hoping to change the world and make as great an impact as he did. I am not in that camp. As much as I am inspired by his tremendous success at making a real difference in our world, and in our everyday lives, that isn't what keeps me thinking about his death and his legacy. While reading about his life and watching the clips on YouTube, what I think about us is his passion, his conviction and his strength in staying true to himself. His now famous Stanford commencement speech probably sums up his philosphy best. (And worth 15 minutes if you haven't seen.) Although most are quoting "your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life," what has stayed with me is this:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like. "If you live each day as it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for to many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
If, when I look in the mirror every morning, I can honestly ask myself whether I will spend the day doing what I love, with as much focus and passion as Steve Jobs did - and actually do it - then I believe there is no greater tribute to his legacy. Other than continuing to wave the Apple banner.