To put my view of Steve Jobs in Objectivist terms, I see him as a real-life Howard Roark. Even if he had never been successful, his strength of vision, his uncompromising principles, and his confidence in the power of his ideas make him a hero in my book. But of course it is precisely because of those principles that he became the most successful CEO ever. He is truly my personal hero and an inspiration for the life choices I have and will make.
I am writing these words on my first computer designed under Steve Job’s watch, and unfortunately, my last. Even though computers are my career and passion, I have never been attached to them as individual objects, only as an idea. I feel like using this computer for the last three years has been kind of like living in a building designed by Howard Roark, and knowing that I can never have another products created by him (even if Apple continues to be inspired by his vision), I feel far more reluctant to sell it when it is time for the inevitable upgrade.
Steve Jobs was an intensely personal man – his means of expressing his values was almost purely through the products of his work. Unlike most other tech companies, prototypes and discarded ideas rarely leaked out of his laboratories. He only announced new products when he was sure that they could be made. I think he wanted to be known and judged solely by the things he could mass produce, as the “Apple product” included everything for him – the supply chain, production process, company campus, storefront, even the carefully orchestrated box opening ceremony. Still, I think he was able to communicate his basic sense of life in his one public speech. I strongly recommend that everyone watch it and take its ideas to heart.
My introduction to the “Apple experience” came from folklore.org – a collection of stories about the creation of the Macintosh computer. Because he was so private, I eagerly anticipate his upcoming authorized biography. But ultimately, I think his products speak for themselves. They are the concrete (or rather aluminum and glass) embodiment of the values that made Apple successful – and changed the world for the better.
Steve Jobs, you were insanely great.