Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
by Albert Mohler
The death of Steve Jobs, founder and iconic leader of Apple, is a signal moment in the lives of the “Digital Generation” that Jobs, along with a very few other creative geniuses, made possible. Few individuals of any historical epoch can claim to have changed the way so many people live their lives, do their work, and engage the products of the culture.
Jobs was one of the most influential cultural creatives of all time. If that seems like an exaggeration, it is only because the products that Jobs and Apple brought into being have become so familiar that they appear as the furnishings of contemporary lives. The personal computer was not invented by Steve Jobs, but he saw the possibility of integrated systems that would allow personal creativity to blossom. He saw products that customers did not even know that they needed — and then released the products to the public, creating entire new markets and unleashing an explosion of world-wide technological creativity.
The Apple products that Jobs personally introduced, including the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, defined a new era. There is now no going back. We are in the digital age to stay. But, that world will now have to reckon with the absence of Steve Jobs.
Born to unwed parents in 1955, Jobs was adopted by a couple in Northern California — the region later to be known as Silicon Valley. In one sense, Jobs was first defined by Silicon Valley. Later, he would return the favor by defining the region on his own terms.
He, along with Stephen Wozniak, developed Apple as an idea and as a company. After dropping out of Reed College, Jobs joined Stephen Wozniak in attending the meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, which met at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, California. They began attending the meetings in 1975. In 1976 they began Apple with just over $1,000 of their own money. By 1981, the company was worth $600 million. In 1983, Apple joined the Fortune 500.
Jobs had his share of technological failures, or disappointments. Nevertheless, even in his years away from Apple (after losing control of the company), Jobs redefined entire industries. He developed Pixar into a digital movie powerhouse, among other things, before returning to lead Apple in 1997, becoming CEO again in 2000. The rest is history.
Christians considering the life and death of Steve Jobs will do well to remember once again the power of an individual life…
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