Steve Jobs died yesterday and technology fans all over the world were saddened to hear the news. However, it wasn't completely unexpected. Jobs had cancer and had been in declining health for several years. He had stepped down from his executive position at Apple several months ago.
News media and pundits around the world were all hailing him as the modern day Thomas Edison, or Henry Ford. I wouldn't go quite that far. There are still over a billion people in the world who don't have a computer or an iPhone. But there are almost none whose lives haven't been affected by the motor vehicles pioneered by Ford or the electric light bulb of Thomas Edison. But still, Jobs is in the same general zip code as those men.
Jobs was the visionary of the computer age. Although he made few actual breakthroughs or innovations, Jobs just continued to push the envelope of what was new and cutting edge for the consumers. People were eager to run to the store and give him their money to obtain the newest, coolest project he had created. His competitors were also creating personal computers and MP3 players and smart phones. Jobs just did things a little better and eventually started to dominate the market in digital music and cellular phones.
In 1974, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computers with a few thousand dollars in the garage of Jobs' home. In 2011 stock market valuations, Apple temporarily surpassed ExxonMobil to become the most valuable company in the world.
At his death, Steve Jobs had acquired a net wealth of $8.3 billion dollars.
In my opinion, he was worth a hell of a lot more than that.
We were lucky to live in the same time as Steve Jobs.
His speech at Stanfords graduation (above) is one of the best I have ever heard.