Although I miss Steve Jobs tremendously, I think he achieved what he needed to do, in the sense that he undisputedly established that making something great is a viable business model, and he established what I believe is a sustainable design culture, where people believe that good design is important, and that it is possible, and even superior, to have a business model that is predicated on great design and making great things, as opposed to having some kind of short-term gain on the cheap.
One of the things that occurred to me was that, while Steve Jobs was alive, he embodied and personified that design sensibility so effectively that, although people could be said to subscribe to the same ideals, and to be followers of it, it was almost intimidating to imply that you were a source of that.
I experienced the same thing with my late grandfather, who was really, really assertive (I used to refer to him as “Il Duce”). When he was alive, there was no point to being that way, it was just ineffective. There was no reason to do it when he embodied those characteristics in our family. If there was a problem, he’d be on top of it. Really, it was easier to just try to differentiate yourself instead of trying to embody those characteristics yourself.
Once my grandfather passed away, I missed that about him. I came to realize that I shared a real connection with him, and that all my life, there’d been no point in being like him, because trying to do so with him around was like shining a flashlight at the sun – it just didn’t make any difference.
Now, I’ve come to realize that somebody needs to keep that spirit alive – somebody needs to be the protector of the family and make sure that things work out, and that people are alright. And so I decided to step up to the plate and embrace those qualities in myself instead of suppressing them, and ended up really coming into my own within our family.
I think it’s really the same thing with Steve Jobs. In a world with Steve, a lot of times I’d hear “Who the hell do you think you are, Steve Jobs?” and the answer was, “No, of course not.”
Steve left his stamp on all of us, in the sense that we are loyal to the ideals that Steve put forth, and now we’re free to express them ourselves, and be a voice for those things in the world, as opposed to being me-toos. He’s seeded the industry with people that have reached the point where they are fiercely defensive of these ideals. This is why Apple is going to continue to do well: because Steve left a culture there that really embodies these things. There are enough people there in various capacities to handle things like the business sense, and the strategic sense, and the design sensibilities.
But Steve’s work is done: he’s revolutionized multiple markets, and he has created an awareness and a culture that I don’t think is going to go away any time soon, because nobody wants to go back to the way things were before. He made something sustainable, and it’s not just the company, but its ideals. And I think that makes the world a better place.
So while I miss Steve, I think that now we are free to champion, really champion, the ideals that he put forth. And I think that instead of just one voice, now it will be many.
That sounds like a great world to be in.