I am usually incredulous when someone – usually clutching an iPhone or an iPod, or even the owner of a Mac – professes ignorance as to who Steve Jobs is. I find it incredible. Given his role in the personal computing and now wider electronic media industries, it defies logic that he should be anything but a household name. But it seems he remains invisible to many outside the geekosphere.
I’m not going to attempt to explain Steve Jobs to the world. That’s Wikipedia’s job.
This week came the news that Steve Jobs is to go on indefinite medical leave. Again. The speculation has of course started as to how long he will be away and who would ultimately replace him. Or at least, who would take the reins (cum reign) at Apple.
All of the cold, practical considerations around Steve Jobs’ succession planning, and the effect his absence will have on Apple’s fortunes and share price, are all well and good, and it’s a necessary discussion. But as a guy in the industry who cut my teeth on, and still have massive affection for, Apple ][s, and who from my early teens took a deep interest in all of the stories surrounding the germination of the personal computer industry in the 70s & early 80s, and who lived through the times that saw its initial genesis, I can’t help putting all of the intellectualism aside and just hoping that this doesn’t signal the end of Steve’s career, or indeed an inexorably downward spiral in his health.
Steve’s an icon and a giant of the industry. This sounds blindingly obvious to say. But for many of us around my age, he is in a very real sense the father of our careers, and the founder of a not insignificant proportion of our way of life. I just hope all of the non-geek Apple customers out there can appreciate what the man has achieved in his lifetime. If & when Steve is lost to us, whenever that may occur, it will really feel like the captain has left the bridge.
Long Live Steve Jobs. And I’m not even an Apple fanboy.