fbpx

Steve Jobs

The outpouring of stories about Steve Jobs has been impressive and certainly justified in tribute to an incredible person such as Steve Jobs. I am very saddened by the loss of such a vibrant and creative human being. I don’t think about the price of the Apple shares I own, but I can’t help but think about the human and medical aspects of his passing. I don’t know much about his wife and children, but I feel for them — it must have been painful for many months and perhaps years knowing that their husband and father was likely going to die. Miracles happen every day in healthcare, but in spite of a patient who no doubt knew more about his condition than many doctors might know, no cure was possible. If you have not read The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, I highly recommend it. The novel-like non-fiction book tells the story of cancer from thousands of years ago through the many episodes of research.  In 2010, more than 500,000 Americans died of cancer, more than 1,500 people a day. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease. In spite of these large numbers,  to die from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56 is rare. And Steve Jobs was rare. Some say there will not be another hero such as him for a very long time, if ever. I never met Steve Jobs, but I did talk with him by telephone back in the early 1990’s. My assistant said that Mr. Jobs was on the phone and wanted to talk to me. He was CEO of NeXT, Inc. at the time. I was vice president of marketing for IBM’s personal software products. Our product was an operating system for PCs called OS/2. NeXT had an operating systems for PCs. It was not well known, but Tim Berners-Lee was using NeXT when he invented the World Wide Web in 1989-1990. Steve wanted to talk about possible collaboration. What amazed me was that the CEO of a company seemed to knew every detail about NeXT, how it worked, how it was built, what it could do. Attention to detail and unmerciful demands for flawless execution seem to be what brought the company from near failure to the most valuable company in the world. I read in one article that Steve had coached his team on how to handle the launch of the iPhone 4S on Wednesday. It would not surprise me if that is what kept him going near the end, and then when the launch was over and successful, he passed away. It would not surprise me to see a philanthropic move emerge that will be as beautiful as his products. I am currently reading the biography of Einstein by Walter Isaacson. In two weeks the Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs will offer great insight about the legend.

Top