The founder and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, who passed away on Thursday, embodied the digital age in his vision and his actions more than anyone else. In the 35 years of his career Jobs introduced a series of products onto the market that created a revolution in communication between people and computers, in the music industry and in animation.
It is hard to imagine modern life, at work or play, without the developments that Jobs pioneered and led: the mouse and graphic interface on the computer, iPod and iTunes, iPhone and iPad. In recent years, under Jobs' leadership, Apple became the largest company in the world, with product launches that generated enormous interest and long lines at stores.
The story of Jobs' life reads like the American dream come true: an adopted boy who dropped out of college and founded a start-up with a friend in a garage; an entrepreneur who was ousted from the company he established and was called back to save it from collapse; the CEO of a small company that outstripped the growth of its competitors; the terminal cancer patient who fought the disease and continued to lead Apple almost to the last day of his life. His success made him a national hero in the United States. President Barack Obama eulogized him as the man who "changed the way each of us sees the world."
As a technological and business leader, Jobs thought first of all about the people who would use his products, and so he stressed design more than technical specifications. His goal was to give his customers "what they don't yet know that they want," and he achieved it again and again. His vision was far-reaching: As far back as 1985 he believed the telephone and the personal computer would be unified in one instrument - a prophecy that came true 22 years later when he launched the first iPhone.
Jobs epitomized the essence of the individual entrepreneur and the visionary even in the world of huge corporations, chain stores and global supply.
He showed humanity that the value of technology lies first and foremost in the understanding of the person using it. And he taught business people that they must think first of all of the consumers and if they know how to talk to them, they will grow and prosper.
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