For those of you living under a rock, Steve Jobs died yesterday. He was a man worshipped and adored by many. For Apple fanatics, he was their god, lifted up and praised for the blessings his creativity bestowed upon the world. For everyone else, they unwillingly went along with the disruptive innovations created by Apple, cursing his name under their breath as they realize just how much their lives have changed because of him.
Beyond Apple, the best thing Steve Jobs did was buying Pixar from George Lucas, hiring amazing people to run the company—computer scientists, programmers, animators and artists—and then getting out of the way and letting them do their thing. I thank Steve for Monsters Inc., Ratatouille and WALL-E, they are my favorites.
With the passing of Steve Jobs, I think of other heroes that have come and gone: Walt Disney, Jim Henson, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Kurt Cobain, Keith Green, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, Ghandi, Mohammad, Jesus, Graham Chapman, and a million other names that have been lifted up because of their deeds. We remember these names because of the impact that their actions had upon those living in their time. Countless stories have been told across, keeping their vision alive, even millennia after they have left this world.
People are talking about whether Apple will survive the passing of Jobs, but the truth is that he has left his legacy imprinted upon the world. If our lives have changed immeasurably, imagine what he left within the hallowed halls of Apple headquarters in Cupertino. His story will continue to be told for years and decades to come. His photo is engraved in the collective hall of heroes that is formed within our minds.
Our life is about legacy. We leave one regardless of what we do. For some, their legacy is of love, action and sacrifice, for others it is devoted to disruptive societal innovations, design aesthetic, animated films and puppets. Some people leave a legacy of pain and hatred, others die so that all will live.
While we have lost the physical presence of a hero, we remember him with our lives. That is the ultimate legacy that a human being can leave.