I asked my brother, who spent a number of years as a top executive in the computer and high-tech business, to offer his thoughts on the passing of Steve Jobs.
Steve had a unique blend of qualities. He was very able to see things from the user’s perspective, which separated him from the vast majority of the tech world — who see things only from the inside out. But that wasn’t entirely unique, there are others who have that skill (Jeff Bezos of Amazon comes to mind). Steve was also able to connect the dots that lead to the future extraordinarily well. But that too wasn’t unique, there are a lot of visionaries in the tech world. Steve understood business in a deep way, able to build and negotiate business models that changed the way the world works (iTunes vis the record companies, or the iPhone vis AT&T, for example). Here again, though, others have that skill. Bill Gates is one. Steve had a passionate dedication to not settling for less than what he thought was the best. He sent people back to the drawing board time and again. He was merciless in his criticism. He used prototype products personally and savaged them publicly and privately. But here again, he wasn’t unique. I know, I was on the end of it from both Steve and Bill Gates. In hindsight, they were almost always right. But it sure hurt at the time.
Steve, however, was alone in his blend of these all. And the world was better for it. I’ll miss him. Not so much personally. But in the effect he had on the world. I’m sad.