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Steve Jobs Dead at 56

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The undisputed leader of the computer, mobile phone, entertainment industries, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday at the age of 56.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011All the best eulogies were already written when he stepped down on Aug. 24th as CEO of Apple...and most of us knew the only reason he would walk away from Apple would be his own ultimate demise.

Steve wanted to changed the world and he did. Held up as the consummate businessman, ironically Steve actually was an anti-businessman...a cult legend who stood against much of the business culture. Frank Sinatra may have sung the song, but Steve Jobs really lived "I Did It My Way."

You heard a lot about his business life when he gave up Apple. Now you'll start to hear a lot more about Steve as a man. Now when his private life will be less guarded and admirers, deprived of his public persona, will seek further insight from his life.

A family man who lived in a modest neighborhood for a blllionaire, Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene Powell, and four children. His neighbours seem fond of him which is more than you can say of Larry Ellison and other industry icons.

He was born February 24, 1955 in San Francisco to Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian political science graduate student and Joanne Schieble, an American graduate student.The unmarried couple gave him up for adoption to Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, Calif. His adopted parents never went to college and had to promise Joanne that Steve would go in order to get her to sign the final papers.

In one of many remarkable turn of events in Steve's life, his birth parents did marry and in 1957 had a daughter, his biological sister (the novelist Mona Simpson). Steve only met his only sister only after both were adults.

While his parents wanted him to go to college, Steve dropped out after one semester. He stayed at the college for 18 months sitting in on classes he wanted to learn, not the ones the college required for a degree. One class he enjoyed was calligraphy and he later said it inspired Mac's multiple typefaces.

At 20, he made a spiritual pilgrimage to India and at 21, he and Steve Wozniak, a friend and fellow college dropout, founded Apple Computer in the Jobs family's garage.

Steve Jobs collage

Later Apple hired a professional business manager from Pepsi-Cola and in a coup, the Board backed the "businessman" and threw out the Product Genius.

Publicly thrown out of a company he actually founded and partly-owned at 30, Steve said getting forced out was the best thing that every happened because it freed him to be creative, to think afresh. "It was awful tasting medicine but I guess I needed it..."

In 2004, Steve was diagnosed with cancer...told he had no longer than 3-6 months and told to say his goodbyes...but he survived. Not for the decades he hoped but for 7 years. Those years brought us iPhone and iPad. They brought him adulation beyond his cult of Mac fans.

Steve embraced death like he did life: "Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."

At Apple headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop, Steve has left his legacy of product.

  1. Apple I (1976)
  2. Apple II (1977)
  3. Lisa (1983)
  4. Macintosh (1984)
  5. NeXT computer (1989)
  6. iMac (1998)
  7. iPod (2001)
  8. iTunes store (2003)
  9. iPhone (2007)
  10. iPad (2010)

But it's really not the products that are his real legacy. That's hardware. That's just the physical manifestation of a spirit that fought on, even after getting knocked down several times, always picking himself back up...and finally winning against the establishment.

An adopted child, a college drop-out, a spiritual seeker, Steve Jobs went from rags to riches by showing the "leaders" of PC, mobile phone, music, and retail business that he knew better what the consumer really wanted.  Steve Jobs lived the American Dream.

Hopefully somewhere, someplace at Apple, they will place a plaque that might better define the "Infinite Loop" that Steve really wanted.  On that plaque would be four words of advice that Steve cherished: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Go Apple Invites Remembrances

Go Why We Really Love Steve Jobs

Go Steve's Best Talk: How to Live Before you Die