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Thank You Steve Jobs

August 25, 2011 – by Per Christensson

It's not too difficult to make the case that Steve Jobs has been the single most influential person over the past decade. Most, if not all of us, have been affected in some way by his creative vision at Apple. Whether we use a Mac, iPod, iPhone, or iPad, or if we download music, TV shows, or movies from the iTunes Store, we can thank Steve Jobs. Even those of us who don't use Apple products most likely use something else that was influenced by Jobs' creativity. That's why his announcement yesterday that he is stepping down as CEO of Apple is such sad news.

Steve Jobs is the quintessential innovator. In the late 1970s, when he created the first Apple computer with Steve Wozniak in his garage, Jobs set out change the world. He did just that. The Macintosh ushered in the age of the personal computer. The iMac revived Apple. The iPod changed how we listen to music. The iPhone and iPad changed our lives.

Jobs helped produce many groundbreaking products and he never hesitated to push out old technology to make way for the new. People were shocked that the original iMac didn't include a floppy drive. But it was past its time and soon PCs dropped the floppy drive as well. Record companies were determined to keep selling CDs, but they couldn't keep up with the iTunes Store, so they joined it. Now Apple is leading the way again with digital software downloads, which will soon make CDs and DVDs obsolete.

Jobs never settled for good enough, but always pushed innovation forward. He was a perfectionist and demanded the same from those he worked with. While this expectation has never been easy for Apple employees to live up to, it has enabled them to push their own limits and create some of the finest products the world has ever seen. When I worked for Apple, I was inspired by Steve Jobs' leadership and every other employee I knew felt the same way.

While Steve Jobs is known mostly as a visionary, he is also the savviest of businessmen. Over the past 14 years, he has made a series of exemplary business decisions that would make any Fortune 500 CEO envious. His characteristic blue jeans and black turtle neck may suggest otherwise, but he is a model business leader. Perhaps it is his unassuming style that has inspired everyday people. Maybe it is creative focus that has been refreshing in an era where pride and greed has led to the downfall of other companies. Maybe it is his stubborn attitude that has given him success, because when he insisted that he was right – he was.

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Jobs' resignation. My heart sank when I first heard the news. Still, it is not surprising. Jobs has been fighting to maintain his health for several years, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004 and undergoing a liver transplant in 2009. Even the miracle worker himself is not immune to the frailty of life. It is a potent reminder that no matter what we accomplish in this life, our bodies are finite. No amount of fame or fortune can grant us anything more.

Jobs, who has grown noticeably more humble and thankful in recent years has humbly and gracefully resigned from the company he made great. I am thankful for Jobs' time at Apple and the many ways he impacted my life. I can say with confidence that I and countless others will always "think different" because of him.

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