Friday, October 7, 2011

"10,000 times better than anything I've ever done"

We may be reaching a saturation point with all the tributes to Steve Jobs. Yet in his case descriptors like genius, man who changed the world, and visionary are all perfectly apt. I'm on the periphery of those millions who claim (rightly) that "Steve changed my life". The only Apple device I own is an iPod which I use almost daily on my commute to and from work. Yes, it's a blessing, and probably if I thought long enough I could come up with less tangible ways my life has been affected by Steve.

The most intriguing thing to me about Steve Jobs bio is his early family history -- born to a single mother and then adopted by a solid middle-class family from whose home he launched his world-changing enterprise. Reportedly he had no relationship with his biological father, despite the latter's wish to one day sit down and have coffee with his famous son. Perhaps we'll learn more in the upcoming biography.

I have little in common with Steve Jobs except that he too was a father. That's probably why I found the following very moving -- this from a NYT account of Jobs' last days ("With Time Running Short, Jobs Managed His Farewells").

“Steve made choices,” Dr. Ornish said. “I once asked him if he was glad that he had kids, and he said, ‘It’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done.’ ”. . . .

“Everyone always wanted a piece of Steve,” said one acquaintance who, in Mr. Jobs’s final weeks, was rebuffed when he sought an opportunity to say goodbye. “He created all these layers to protect himself from the fan boys and other peoples’ expectations and the distractions that have destroyed so many other companies.

“But once you’re gone, you belong to the world.”

Mr. Jobs’s biographer, Mr. Isaacson, whose book will be published in two weeks, asked him why so private a man had consented to the questions of someone writing a book. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Mr. Jobs replied, Mr. Isaacson wrote Thursday in an essay on “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

So human. So understandable. It seems that in the end Jobs found most significance not in the things that set him apart -- his business empire, his technological achievements, his iconic status -- but in those things that bound him to the human race from time immemorial.

No comments: