Yesterday morning when my dad wrote his daily blog post — about the life and achievements of Steve Jobs –I realized, once again, just how much Jobs’ life, vision, and achievements are a part of our general culture. One doesn’t need to be digitally savvy, a gadget fanatic, an iPhone evangelist, or even a Macintosh loyalist. All that’s required is experience with one intuitive Apple product — in this case my dad, age 88, writing on his iPad — and an interest in the news.
Over the years that I’ve spent working in the educational technology field, that’s the way it’s gone again and again. Give a senior, a teacher — in fact just about anyone — a Mac or an iPhone, and they use it and work with it, and the tech people barely see them. Now the same thing is starting to happen with iPads.
Boy would I love to have a dozen iPads to use with residents in an assisted living or other senior community.
Since the death of Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs (Read John Markoff’s obituary/appreciation in the New York Times), the digital world is experiencing a collective moment of silence while people read, write, and listen to stories about a man who was responsible for a significant part of the digital revolution. After reading my dad’s blog post, I came across Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech –a presentation I want my Dad to listen to.
Jobs gave a thoughtful and insightful exploration of the challenges of life, and his life had many, but he also encouraged his listeners to live fully and without fear of the future. Steve — so many of us thought of him on a first name basis — delivered that speech at Stanford, and the university has posted the text as well as a video of Jobs’ delivery.
Two Jobs quotes below illustrate how he believed that his life, while juxtaposed with a death that would come too soon, should be lived to the fullest. And he encouraged listeners not to think of challenging life events as obstacles (aging? illness?).
— Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.and …— No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.
Other Interesting Comments from Jobs Speech
- He studied calligraphy just after he dropped out of Reed College, and later used this knowledge when he developed the Macintosh computer fonts.
- Since it is not possible to connect the dots of life looking into the future, a person needs to trust his or her decisions.
- Work fills up a huge amount of a person’s life, so it’s important to keep searching for things that are fulfilling throughout life.
- Difficulties should not be viewed as insurmountable obstacles.
Other Memorial Posts Worth Reading
- What Steve Jobs Understood that Our Politicians Don’t – New York Times
- The Steve Jobs I Knew – Wall Street Journal
- Steve Jobs the World Pays Tribute – The Guardian
- Steve Jobs and the Media: For the Most Part It Was a Love Affair– Washington Post
- To His Millions of Fans He Was Simply Steve – LA Times