Archive for October, 2011

I won’t lie, today has been a tough day. I unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet Steve Jobs; but today it feels like I lost a major presence in my life, a mentor. I woke up, and it was clear things were different.For most people outside of the Valley ecosystem, Steve Jobs will be most prominently known for bringing us our Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads. He is the inventor and innovator behind much that drives our personal lives, our work lives and our social relationships. His legacy will be through Apple, and that alone is remarkable.

However, as I have grown up to “know” Steve Jobs, his legacy is so very different. Sure, much of the way I consume information is through his machinations, and many of the devices I use rest on his vision for the way we should interact with the world. But, as he would best put it, those are transient, those will change.

What really resonates about Steve Jobs was not what he created, but what his creations represented. He believed that what he built would (not could) change the world; and through hard work and imagination, he did just that. For a generation looking for a figure to inspire, he provided a real beacon of hope; a hope that our visions don’t have to be an illusion, they can become reality. And in our current society, where forward thinkers are deemed crazy and visionaries are met by cynics and naysayers, he reminded us that even though change is often times met with resistance, we can always accomplish the unthinkable…we just need a little imagination. It very rare that a man can think truly differently, but his work inspired us to all do the same.

In what I believe to be one of the best commencement speeches ever delivered, Jobs addressed Stanford’s 2005 graduating class and spoke to 3 key themes: 1) trust your instincts, 2) failure can be your greatest weapon, and 3) use death as a motivator to be great each and every day.

Every graduation speech has similar themes, but what made his speech so beautiful was the way his words coupled with his life’s story were able to liberate a generation. We now have a generation of thinkers and do’ers across all industries, who not only try to disrupt the old guard, but also strive tirelessly to create a positive impact, to change the world. He challenged us to be different and unlock genius; he led by example.I’ve unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet Steve Jobs. But as I’ve grown up, his youthful optimism, his passion and drive have all been a guide-post. I have a firm belief that my instinct, my energy and my youthfulness are my greatest assets; and through his “mentorship”, he has given me the confidence to use these assets to accomplish my dreams, to make a difference. He liberated me. He has liberated a generation. And that is what makes him truly inspirational.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thank you Steve, RIP.

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