News

Steve Jobs, Apple's creative genius, dies at 56

Apple co-founder battled pancreatic cancer

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple and the creative force behind the company's transformation into one of the world's most iconic and pace-setting technology giants, died Wednesday, the company announced.

Jobs, who was perhaps Palo Alto's most influential resident, announced in 2004 that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He resigned from his duties as the CEO of Apple on Aug. 24 but remained on the company's board of directors.

He was 56.

In a company statement, Apple said it "has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being."

"Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor," the company said. "Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built; and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."

Though best known worldwide as the man behind the early personal computer and devices such as the PowerBook, the iPod, the iPhone, and, most recently, the iPad, Jobs was also a familiar figure to local residents. He was frequently seen taking walks around his Old Palo Alto neighborhood with family members or companions.

He grew up in Los Altos and lived in Palo Alto nearly all of his adult life.

Neighborhood kids love the elaborate haunted house in the Jobs' front yard at Halloween, where the family is known to pass out non-sugary treats.

His children attended local public and private schools. His philanthropically active wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, sits on the national board of Teach for America and co-founded a college prep program for underserved students that was launched in East Palo Alto and has expanded to Oakland, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Jobs himself was not active in Palo Alto's civic culture but was deeply rooted in the local tech community, and from a young age looked to his Silicon Valley elders for guidance.

A CEO by the age of 21, "he arranged at his own initiative to meet on a very regular basis with Bob Noyce of Intel, Andy Grove of Intel and, I believe, Jerry Sanders of AMD," said Noyce biographer Leslie Berlin, project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University.

Berlin spoke with the Weekly in late August around the time Jobs resigned as CEO.

"In some very real way he apprenticed himself to these people. People see the supremely confident Steve Jobs -- and no doubt he was confident back then -- but he was very aware of what he didn't know," Berlin said.

"He talked about there being more or less a relay race in Silicon Valley where one generation of entrepreneurs passes the baton to the next generation: Hewlett and Packard to Noyce at Intel, who then passed it on to Jobs at Apple."

Jobs saw himself as part of that generational succession and is said to have paid it forward by helping the founders of Google when they approached him for advice, she said.

And, like Packard at HP, and Noyce and Gordon Moore at Intel, Jobs followed a Valley tradition of assuming the role of board chair after resigning as CEO.

Despite his early death, Jobs saw Apple through all but 11 years of its 35-year history in which the company evolved from its '60s-style hippie roots to a symbol of global chic -- from the peace symbol to the Mercedes symbol, some have said.

"Before Apple, and specifically before the Macintosh, there really wasn't any kind of 'cool factor' associated with the personal computer industry -- that's an understatement," said Henry Lowood, curator for history of science and technology collections in the Stanford University Libraries.

"Steve Jobs and Apple have certainly changed that."

The original Apple machine, born of meetings of Stanford's Homebrew Computer Club, "was basically a motherboard with 30 chips in it. Anyone using it had to know how to program in hexadecimal machine language -- it was very much 'gearhead to gearhead,'" Berlin said.

"It went through various permutations en route to the Mac and then after the Mac, and what's emerged now is not even Apple Computer anymore, it's just Apple.

"He wasn't at the helm for all of that time, but this is somebody who's been able to change as things needed to change and to push the change forward."

Aside from his qualities of salesmanship and execution of a vision, Jobs's design sensibility was the secret sauce the other companies have envied and never successfully duplicated, Lowood said.

"But important as design is, probably the characteristic that's the most important is he's somebody who has this unbelievable ability to have his company execute on a vision, specifically of what a product should be, and they don't really waver from that."

Jobs considered himself lucky to have found, early in life, what he loved to do.

Though devastated when he suffered the public humiliation of ouster from Apple following a 1985 power struggle, Jobs said in a 2005 commencement address at Stanford, that he knew he still loved what he did.

"I had been rejected, but I was still in love," he told graduates, urging them to find work they love and not settle for less.

"The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything."

The failure paved the way for "one of the most creative periods of my life," he said, in which he started NeXT and Pixar and met the woman who would become his wife. He returned to Apple in 1996.

In the Stanford speech Jobs also reflected on his early life as an adopted child and college dropout, and on facing the prospect of premature death after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004.

"Remembering 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," he said.

Apple's board or directors also released a statement Wednesday mourning Jobs' passing.

"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives," the board' said. "The world is immeasurably better because of Steve."

Related material:

Editorial: Creative genius, respected neighbor

Mourners: 'Steve Jobs changed the whole world'

Video of Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Town Square: Steve Jobs, Apple, and Palo Alto

Statement from Jobs' family

Gennady Sheyner contributed to this report.

Comments

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Rest in peace, Steve.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm

"Some men see things as they are and say why. Some dream things that never were and say why not." - George Bernard Shaw


Posted by Triona Gogarty, a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm

As I start to cook dinner, I am listening to iTunes played through my MacBook and stored on my iPod.
Rest in peace Steve.


Posted by Colin Pape, a resident of Professorville
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Thank you Steve, for inspiring us and changing the world... You will be missed...


Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

The following comments were moved from a duplicate thread:

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, 32 minutes ago:

"My thoughts are with his loved ones during this heartbreaking time. I will always value his visionary innovation. I am sorry that he died so young."

**********

Posted by applefan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, 28 minutes ago:

"Here's the Wall Street Journal obit:

Web Link

Also, Apple has a striking, memorial on their homepage right now."

**********

Posted by Midtowner, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, 27 minutes ago:

"RIP Steve Jobs. What a sad day. My thoughts are with his family."


Posted by T, a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I'm away at college now, but I'm so proud to be from Palo Alto where the most amazing and creative guy lived. I will always remember driving by his house on my way to work this past summer. Funny, now that I think of it, I sort of felt like this was coming. Anyway, RIP Steve. See you soon <3


Posted by righttime, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm

He had a vision to target the market at the right time with the right product.


Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Palo Alto's startup heart & soul, the Babe Ruth of tech. Rest in peace.


Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm

He was the best of us. We should do something to honor him.


Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Never read a manual for my iMacs, iPhone, or iPad2.

Never needed to.

Brilliance.

Thank you, Steve.


Posted by Joyce, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm

We lost such great visionary among us, a great man and a creative mind. Simple, humble and down to Earth Palo Altan.

RIP.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Let's re-name Palo Alto Jobs City.


Posted by Esther & Robert Nio, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm

"To live in the hearts of those we love is never to die."
(Thomas Campbell)

Our thoughts are with his loved ones.

RIP


Posted by Albert K Henning, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I happened to drive by the Jobs' home today. The tree in front was, appropriately enough, full of apples.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Farewell and rest in peace to a remarkable man who changed the world.

(I write this on my Powerbook, as I listen to my iPod.)


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I think that it would be nice if the city could honor Steve in a very visible way...such as renaming a street (like Page Mill, Oregon Expressway or Alma) after this great tech visionary.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm

He was the Thomas Edison and Leonardo of our time,and he happened to be local. I'm typing this on my iMac after getting home from the gym where I worked out while listening to my iPod, enough said.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm

So sorry to hear of the passing of this world-changing genius. I hope Palo Alto will make a suitable memorial - attention city council members. Sincere condolences to his family and to Apple.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Sad day for his wife and kids.

Very dignified wake out side his home [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] in Palo Alto.

A marketing guru– and a micro manager.

It will be interesting to read his authorized biography that comes out Nov.

Ashes to ashes--dust to dust.

"May his soul and the souls of all the departed faithful by God's mercy rest in peace".


Posted by pamom, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

An amazing man and his brilliance and creativity will be missed. He is a model for us all. His family can take comfort in that.


Posted by Me, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Genius happens one in a trillion and not always in your lifetime, Steve was next door.
RIP, you are unreplacable and unforgettable. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.
Your Stanford speech was so moving. Condolences to your family.



who changed the world. Unfulfilled loss.


Posted by Sad, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I worked for Apple when Steve came back via the NeXT acquisition. He wasn't very popular then, but he sure turned around the company.

It's the end of an era. Truly sad.

Steve we'll miss you and your INSANELY GREAT Halloween decorations.


Posted by mary bartnikowski, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Steve Jobs always inspired me - I've lived in Palo Alto 25 years and would see him, a genius walking around town - living in the same neighborhood was inspiring - just knowing he was inside concocting new ideas and excecuting them in these powerful life changing global ways - wow he gave us so much. My condolences to his family. We'll miss him.


Posted by Missing the Giant, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I also have liver disease and know there is no cure for it. Even though Steve had tried, science could not save the life of one the most famous and looked up to persons in the Silicone Valley...
Many thanks to Hewlett and Packard who nurtured him in the beginning of his dedicated career here in Palo Alto. Steve is now among those GIANTS, rightfully so.
He will be so missed.


Posted by Solon, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Remember, Palo Alto Historical review process treted him very badly, unne cessarily, when he had tospend a great deal of time and money just to get a permit to tear down a house for an orchard they refused to grant it untilhis plans for a mew house was approved! But there were no plans So . . . . .

ALSO, STEVE had to litigte for years over a large old house in Woodisde he had lived in, but wanted to tear down to build a SMALLER modest house for wife and family, BUT litigation, appeals, even to appellate court, took many years.

I think that at one point the preservation folks argues ( I am one too( and the judge opined, that $4,000,000 to $5,000,000 to restore the house is no unreasonable for the homeowner . . . ." Really? That is far and equal ?

Was he even able to build and enjoy that new house?

Steve Young never got approval I dont think at the time for a few windows by his stairs . . .

Life is short. Let government, and each of us, treat each other reasonably . . . .


Posted by scientella, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm

He was everyman's alternative to the Microsoft monopoly.

Microsoft, producer of the most defective consumer products ever.

Just imagine where the consumer tech sector would be now without his products.

He did the world a great service, and he will be greatly missed.



Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I feel sad that this guy worked right up almost to the moment of his death. So sorry to hear of his passing and II hope he actually had time to live his life.


Posted by scientella, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by DZ, a resident of Terman Middle School
on Oct 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm

We are all missing Steve tonight.
Thank you for everything. Really, everything.
RIP!!!


Posted by James Hoosac, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm

This morning I saw a double-rainbow for the first time in my life. Maybe the rain, so much earlier than usual, was God's tears for a giant lost among us. RIP.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Scientella, I agree w/you. I didn't "love" him - that's just too weird. I remain very sad for his family and friends. I know many of his employees are sad as well. He was a respected community member as well, and many are reacting to that.


Posted by scientella, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 5, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Yes it is a sad day for the family and friends. And actually these posts in Palo Alto are less extreme and have every right to fond memories because people actually KNEW Sj.

But read the New York Times tributes. There is some woman who is weeping in Wisconsin as she looks at her Iphone 3G! not even the 4G. Surely she is fodder for a book in the near future about mixing up objects with people, and love and consumerism and idolatry. And TV pundits saying he was the greatest man of our century! really someone said this. Are we just consumers now and the greatest men are those who produce the most STUFF however they do it using whatever labor and materials????


Posted by Rob, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I will always remember my daughter dancing around his car at the sushi shop and smiling at him, unaware of who he was. He will inspire many to be the best they can be, what more of a legacy can you leave?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Good points, Scientella! It does make me wonder how he'd react to all of this gnashing of teeth & tearing at hair.

I met him a number of times over the years, and mostly remember him from when I was a kid. We still have mutual friends & it's sad for them. He made huge contributions to modern life & modern culture & I understand people valuing that. But my thoughts just return to the loss for his loved ones.

What a sad day - I think also of the gunman in Cupertino & those who died at his hands.

Here in E. Palo Alto, the thoughts of many are w/Mrs. Jobs, the co-founder of College Track. It has made a big impact on this community & I've had the pleasure of working w/many College Track kids. I also have some of their artwork I bought years ago.

I guess if I had anything of comfort to say, I would say that I am glad that they all had time to prepare for this.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm



are there plans for a public memorial service?


Posted by iSad, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2011 at 11:34 pm

You will be missed but your presence will live on forever.
Our heartfelt sympathy to L and family.
We have been friends for many years.
I hope you decide to stay in our neighborhood.
J~




Posted by Mom of 3, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I took my children trick-or-treating to his house in 2007, the last year he handed out Halloween treats, and before there were lines. We were the only ones there (except, perhaps, mummies as security guards) and he was so nice, patient, and really seemed to enjoy children because he talked a bit with my 2-year old. To be HIM and give out treats, he must have enjoyed children.

I also heard that last year he went into the Honda dealership, seeking the least expensive car for his son, who had just learned to drive.

How neat that he wanted a normal life for his children.


Posted by James Hoosac, a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Let's also remember that Steve's last public appearance was not a showcase for iPhone or iPad, but a public hearing at Cupertino City Council in June, merely 4 months ago.

At that time he must have known how long he could live. Yet the world's greatest CEO went there for this otherwise minor event. An Apple facilities VP could have done it. But he chose to go by himself. It just shows how much passion he had for Apple, and how much respect he had for our community, and the rule of law.


Posted by Frank Bravo, webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on Oct 6, 2011 at 6:01 am

Frank Bravo is a registered user.

As a huge Mac Fanatic (Web Link), I'm saddened by the passing of Steve Jobs.

Death of an iCon - Remembering Steve Jobs: Web Link


Posted by It-All-Started-At-Xerox-PARC, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2011 at 8:15 am

While there is no question that Jobs was Apple, people need to remember that Jobs was not so much a product design genius as he was an "integrator" of other people's ideas. And the ideas that he absorbed into Apple that differentiated Apple from the other PC companies were the ideas of the 1970s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

PARC was full of "institutional" thinking, but had no concept of "personal computing". By the late 1970s, PARC was at war with its home office, and most of the early designers were frustrated that their work was not "going anywhere". Jobs, after seeing the ALTO, was "blown away" and soon after PARC designers were moving to Apple, and Microsoft, too.

While Job's first PARC-based computer, the Lisa, was a disaster, he was able to take over the Macintosh project and add his own unique visions to the product definition. About the same time, PARC-born Adobe came along with its printing software, joined forces with Apple to produce a laser printer that integrated completely with the Macintosh, and the Apple products were on the way to being the "computers for the rest of us".

Jobs will be remembered for most of this technological innovation. But most of the seminal thinking was done at Xerox PARC a decade before Jobs and Apple were able to "productize" PARC's ideas.


Posted by Thankful, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2011 at 8:23 am

Rest In Love Steve Jobs. I'm very thankful for intelligent and innovative minds like you. What you've created for the world will forever be your legacy and it will live on<3


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2011 at 8:32 am

I think there was a movie made about the story of the founding of Apple with the two Steves' lives and their friendship. I can't remember the title, but I expect it is on Netflix if I could remember what it is called.

I hope they make another movie.

It is always sad when someone dies of such a horrible disease so young, regardless of who they are. As very much a public figure, we are all saddened at this news. My thoughts and prayers are for his family and those who knew him best at this difficult time. For the rest of us, we should continue to be inspired by his legacy of greatness while keeping the simplicity and normalcy of everyday life as a goal.

Steve, you will be missed. RIP.


Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2011 at 10:08 am

I saw a great comment:

"3 apples changed the world. The one that Eve ate, the one that dropped on Newtons head and the one that Steve built.

Thanks Steve!"


Posted by An Admirer, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

Those of us who were lucky enough to live in his neighborhood will miss his presence. He moved into Old Palo Alto approximately 25 years ago. I can remember him roller blading through the neighborhood when he was young. Sometimes he would roller blade pushing his baby's stroller. Sometimes he would just walk around the neighborhood in his usual attire, a black turtleneck and jeans, holding hands with his wife. For several years, his girls would have lemonade stands in front of his house. They would be selling lemonade and cookies to raise money for the victims of Katrina or other charities. His daughter would make and sell homemade cat toys to raise money for her favorite animal shelter. So precious and sweet. And of course, who could forget his incredible Halloween decorations for the children of Palo Alto. Steve Jobs was a gift to the world and a gift to our town. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his lovely family.


Posted by Christopher Radin, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm

A friend asked me "Was Steve Jobs an inventor or someone who took others' inventions and rearrange them in a new and cooler way?" I think both descriptions entirely miss his genius.

Steve Jobs was an artist whose medium was technology. He brought esthetic art to the world of technology. Usually these two worlds are diametrically opposed to each other. Technology is logical, quantitative and functional. It draws people who think that way. But art is qualitative, emotional, intuitive. So was Steve. His genius was to create artistic technology products.

His genius can't be described as just rearranging existing parts into a cooler product. It's was more than that. Paint and canvas existed before the Impressionist painters Monet, Cezanne, Cassatt and Renoir came on to the scene. Before them painting was in the style of Realism. The goal of Realism art was to look realistic. The Impressionist didn't just "rearrange" Realism painting to create Impressionism painting. They created a different artistic esthetic, a different goal of painting. The Impressionist changed the goal of art to creating emotion.

Such was the work of Steve Jobs. It wasn't enough WHAT something did (which what traditional technologist did), but HOW it did it. The concept he brought was: doing something, functionally, wasn't enough. The new goal was to emotionally like what you were doing.

Jobs was the artist that brought technology from "Realism" to "Impressionism". He changed the goal of technology. This required more than just the most visible part, making a cool product. It took changing the mindset of the people worked on technology, the structure of a technology company and yes, the products itself. But it also required changing in expectations of the people that used technology, to expect to like using technology. And this, I think, is his biggest and will be his longest lasting achievement.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I hear the train whisk rapidly by, the birds chirp on branches outside under cloudy skies, with a sudden down pour of rain. I see a time in Old Palo Alto, when a man, Steve Jobs, stood outside his home with glasses resting on the bridge of his nose, his head tilting slightly forward engaged in conversation with company. I see a man who stood tall among the redwoods while he paced the sidewalk; he'd give a nod, a friendly gesture. Even though he did what others didn't do in the tech world, he did what we all do as Palo Altans, chill in our neighborhood; he was one of us. RIP Steve.


Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2011 at 6:01 pm

The PAPD deserves serious commendation for the way they are monitoring the situation outside the Jobs home [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

Their performance is outstanding in maintaining an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

The PAPD officers and supervisors involved in this matter deserve sincere gratitude and praise from neighbors and the mayor.

Well done PAPD!


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2011 at 6:39 pm


addendum

The agency that has provided discrete security [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] since Jobs left Apple also deserve congratulations

--they have been very professional and low key while being very. effective

The neighbors give them our gratitude as should the mayor---no ugly paparazzi incidents

Well done! the firm deserves praise and acknowledgment by the local press.

We would hire them in a similar situation.


Posted by Suzanne , a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

RIP Steve Jobs, and condolences to the family. I wonder if it would be better for people to not mention the street the family lived on as a measure of some privacy for the family? Or does that not matter? At any rate, the security people are doing a nice job of monitoring, and people are being very respectful as they leave flowers and apples, from what I could see while I was driving by today on my way home. It is hard to lose someone who meant so much to our community, and to the world. Again, my condolences to his family, friends, and those who knew him personally.


Posted by Neighbor , a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 7, 2011 at 12:42 am

Any way to setup a donation of apple devices to
the Stanford cancer center? Perhaps at the stores? Apple products
reached our lives immeasurably but I know from personal
family experience that the Stanford Cancer Center (who treated steve Jobs) that they
are wonderful and truly save lives.


Posted by SWM, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 7, 2011 at 8:03 am

Thank you for everything, Steve. RIP.

Dear Tim: Here in Palo Alto you are among friends and family who support you 100%. Keep it simple and normal like you always have. Best wishes.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Outside Observer just had to refer to the Microsoft "Monopoly".
I purchased seven different operating systems before I bought my first Microsoft OS. I admire the elegance of Apple products, but for many years my necessary functions were not available on the Apple platform. Microsoft has never been without able competition, and yet it held the market. There is plenty of glory to go around.


Posted by Victor Frost, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2011 at 10:18 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by A.J. Lumsdaine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

As someone who did not know Steve Jobs personally, I feel I have to defend the outpouring of emotion by the general public.

It's not just "stuff." Music transforms lives. Having the ability to easily do myriad computing tasks in our modern world (without being consumed by arcane tasks servicing the equipment and software) makes people employable and effective in their jobs and personal lives. People's lives are touched on a daily basis — having the iPhone when we forget the camera at a kids' recital, having an iPad full of books to take on the plane, casually videoconferencing for free with friends who moved halfway across the globe, having good animated family movies to share with the kids (lest anyone forget the pre-Pixar days). I'm sure most of these people could mention something that touched them personally within the past day or even moments.

When humans lose a loved one, we mourn for what we, ourselves, have lost in our lives: first and foremost we mourn losing the love, but also the joys, the experiences, the opportunities, what might have been.

I think millions of people around the world feel genuine loss in their personal lives because of the passing of this man whose drive and brilliance brought so much to their lives. The past few decades, our commercial world has been characterized by a predatory, almost shake-down environment for consumers — it pervades every problem area of our society: healthcare, housing, banking, telecomm, buying almost anything. Here is one company that consistently sought to exceed our expectations, to delight us, to give us far more for our money than we could expect. People recognize that Steve Jobs had everything to do with that.

Having lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer, I cried at the loss of the dream that this brilliant man who regularly gave us miracles and who had so much to live for and so many resources at his disposal, might beat this terrible killer and through his journey, spark solutions for everyone. As a local parent, I cried for his children. And I wonder now what stranger to me will pour his being into orchestrating a force that brings so many joys, positive experiences, and opportunities to my family's life and the lives of millions.

Maybe what he orchestrated at Apple will live on. I hope so.


Posted by Moira , a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by A.J. Lumsdaine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Moira,
With all due respect, everyone knows many people were involved in the computer revolution. Everyone knows Jobs could be tough to work with. I, too, have friends who worked closely with Mr. Jobs, and I'm sure they have the same stories. Maybe the things he is responsible for creating don't touch your life on a daily basis. But they do many millions of people. I disagree with you completely - they have changed the world. Steve Jobs was a great man and his life's work had a huge impact on the daily life of millions of people.

Are you saying that nothing anyone does to change the world is worthy or worth caring about if it's not comparable to the discovery of penicillin? We are all more than just creatures in search of bacterial disease treatment when we become ill. Fleming, by the way, discovered penicillin but was never able to turn it into a usable product for humans. It was over a decade before other scientists did that.

Steve Jobs is responsible for providing the world with transformative tools that allow that kind of applied productivity across the spectrum of humanity, to make many of us productive in ways we could only dream of (and if you had an afternoon, we could talk specifics). Most importantly, in a business climate dominated by an ethos of providing as little as companies can get away with for the most money, Jobs set an unprecedented standard, a high bar. For that alone, I feel a sense of loss in my own life.

No, it's not anything like what his loved ones feel. And frankly, I wouldn't in a million years have expressed it publicly but for posts like yours. You've made it clear that you don't understand the loss that other people feel. That's fine. Please don't belittle what others feel. I think people have written some beautiful and apt tributes above.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sara, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Why is Steve Jobs name being torn apart on this forum? I see it on other online forums, but did not expect this coming from his hometown, Palo Alto.

I do believe that the new age of internet makes everyone think they have some right to throw criticism at almost every subject.

I do not in any way think this is respectful of the family of Steve Jobs, nor does it do any good to the world.

If some of these commenters were to have the wealth he had, would you mind if I or any others criticized how you lived your life? How much money you gave to charity? What is it ANY of your business? I am so tired of all of this, there is nothing good that comes with the disdain some people feel for him. He has gone, this is a sad day for his family.

PLEASE RESPECT HIS FAMILY.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I have mixed feelings about folks being critical at this time. No one is perfect & when one is known worldwide, their flaws & any criticism are often known worldwide as well. Not just because he was local, but because his family & many loved ones are, it's tasteful to be prudent about criticism at this time. It doesn't make us dishonest to use discretion. I found this article to be helpful in describing some of his impact:

Web Link

The respectful memorial at his home is a lovely example of people trying to express their condolences. These condolences range from personal grief & loss to merely respect for his accomplishments & to age-old empathy, concern & sympathy for his loved ones.

Through the years, I had some interactions w/him & I am happy to say that he grew wiser, and in my opinion, kinder. I am not a brilliant visionary, billionaire or Silicon Valley VIP, but I appreciate his contributions & like so many, they made my life easier, more productive & creative.

I wish his loved ones the very best in life of that which has nothing to do with wealth, but everything to do with happiness & health. Living our lives well is the best app for that.


Posted by Moira, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm

I hesitated posting anything except that the unbalanced adoration of Mr Jobs seemed a bit much. To give my opinion on a public forum which is designed to air different viewpoints is part of the democracy we live in. What I wrote regarding Jobs wasn't anything that hasn't been said in many other publications over the years. Certainly nothing that deserved censure by the Palo Alto Weekly. What exactly are the guidelines which had my comments removed along with others that weren't unwavering in their admiration of Mr. Jobs, but a harsh response to my comments was allowed to remain?

No we probably don't all work on curing cancer or teaching disabled children, but that doesn't mean we can't reflect upon whether public figures who are idolized upon their death earned said status. To each their own opinion.


Posted by see the good, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Thank you, Sara and Hmmm. There are a few people who have something negative to say on every Town Square thread they visit. Just ignore them.

I'm with you, Sara. No one is perfect, but at such a time, it's time to let go of pettiness. It's important for those left behind to know their loved one was valued. Jobs was/is because he left such a great legacy to the world.

Speaking of teaching disabled children, a friend with cerebral palsy was able to get his college degree and work only because of his computer equipment (the most helpful being just ordinary equipment with small adaptations.) There is almost no way to even quantify the ripples of this legacy.



Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2011 at 12:41 am

Moira, I actually found your comments insightful & not mean-spirited; you added balance w/your thoughtful comment. I have seen a lot of good from Apple products to those w/disabilities & worked for a company that specifically used Apple products create uses for the disabled. At conferences, the disabled folks I met used Apple products nearly exclusively. I'm not trying to diss your opinion, but I just wanted to give an anecdotal example of what helped that demographic in the 90s that I was aware of.

People are complicated & the more influence they have in the business world, the more, imo, that their complexities become apparent if one pays attention. Powerful businesspeople often aren't "nice" in the way we generally use that word. Maintaining power makes niceness a luxury a lot of the time.

I think some folks here are trying to put this all in perspective & it's unwieldy - the Sili Valley can be a wild & cutthroat place.

I respect Sharon's right to speak her mind, but I find her comments too mean-spirited at this juncture, because she has a history of saying very negative things about non-conservatives.

As a current East Palo Alto resident, I am very appreciative of the amazing work his wife has done as co-founder of College Track. No disrespect to her, but my understanding that the funds from her weren't *solely* from her - he had something to do w/those funds as well ;-) So in that, Sharon is wrong.

To expect Mr. Jobs to have been Mr. Perfect for all of our various expectations, run a cutting edge company & be living like WWJD/WWTBD (What Would Jesus Do/What Would The Buddha Do) is naive, imo. It also clearly would've run counter to his personal philosophy.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2011 at 12:50 am

To those who are claiming that Steve Jobs did not donate large amounts of money: how do you even know that? How can you make a statement like that?

Given that he was such a private person, it is likely that he gave anonymous donations. That makes a lot of sense to me. How does anyone know that he did not give away large amounts of money anonymously or some other way that would not associate his name with the donation?


Posted by Chele, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 8, 2011 at 7:37 am

There are many beautiful and thoughtful tributes to Steve here.

Perhaps the "reality" moments should find an appropriate venue to air as the time immediately following death seems best reserved for respect.


Posted by Roger, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

A.J. Lumsdaine:

So the legacy of Jobs is:

"Having the iPhone when we forget the camera at a kids' recital"

"Having an iPad full of books to take on the plane"

"Casually videoconferencing for free with friends who moved halfway across the globe"

"Having good animated family movies to share with the kids (lest anyone forget the pre-Pixar days)"

I agree. That's about all ianything has really done for me.

I take exception, however, to:

"To give us far more for our money than we could expect"

Apple products are far too expensive for most.

And I still don't see the value of Facebook and social media as a substitute for real and authentic physical human interaction.

Take this board as an example.

Edison gave light to the world.

Bell allowed us to speak to each other over long distances.

Curie gave us penicillin.

Jobs, with the help of many engineers, gave some of us the iPod, iPhone and iPad


Posted by A.J. Lumsdaine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2011 at 11:05 am

Peace, Roger.

This is a sad time for his family, for many in the community, for millions of people whose lives are touched by far more than the simple examples I mentioned. I didn't go for more personal and meaningful in my own life, because I'm not big on sharing like that on public fora.

I have been a Mac user since the beginning, and my life has been far richer because of it, in some truly lifesaving ways. You can't afford one? I'm still using my old Quadra 700. I bet you could find far better than that in a computer recycling center for free.

Being a critic is easy; being a leader who can orchestra what Steve Jobs did is difficult and rare.

So much of commerce in recent decades has been a race to the bottom -- offer as little as possible for as much money with lots of fine print to trip people up: housing, banking, telecomm, airlines and travel, insurance and healthcare, the list goes on.

Apple was refreshingly different. Jobs went for insanely awesome at accessible prices. He set a high bar which others then had to try to meet -- for less money if they could, that's what healthy competition is about.

To me, that is one of his greatest legacies: showing that high standards, really giving us far more for our money than we could expect, can be rewarded in business.

With that, I will sign off. I hope his children can appreciate what a contribution their father made to the lives of millions. He did to mine.


Posted by Roger, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I guess that's why everything Apple sells is made in China. I think that has something to do with profits over principles. It's for the good of all of us then.


Posted by Jerry Eimbindera1, a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2011 at 5:19 am

Steve Jobs was to technology and Silicon Valley what Washington Irving was to American literature and Hudson Valley — a person capable of extending the boundaries of their profession well beyond what had ever been done before.


Posted by Roger, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 9, 2011 at 6:31 am

And the vast majority of student in public schools could tell you absolutely nothing about Washington Irving and American literature and the Hudson Valley, let alone find the Hudson Valley on a map or on a computer. There are too busy surfing the internet for other fluff, or engaged in social media and texting or viewing unrestricted pornography and most likely not on iMacs or iBooks or iPads but on cheap PC knock offs. The ultimate irony is that Steve Jobs didn't have an iPod or iPhone or the internet growing up to distract him on his path to genius. Ok, maybe Zuckerberg did, but I'm not impressed by that fellow.


Posted by MidtownMom, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm

A family lost a loved-one. A wife lost her husband of 20+ years, her life will never be the same; the children lost their father, their life will never be the same; the parents lost their son, their life will never be the same, the sister lost her brother, her life will never be the same.

Doesn't matter what he invented, how he changed the world, if there was any way he could have abandoned his creativity to stay longer with the family, I bet he would have made that choice without batting an eyelid.

Respect the family, respect their loss, respect the loss of human life.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2011 at 12:14 am

I'm glad he was a part of our community. I"m so sorry for his family. I hope they know that there are a lot of neighbors out here who don't write on these public boards but who are praying for them, who will remember their father, husband, son, well.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2011 at 12:26 am

Anonymous,
Web Link
Apple made a huge donation to Stanford to help build the new hospital.

Thank you Apple, Steve. RIP


Posted by been here, a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 10, 2011 at 11:17 am

When he spoke to Stanford students, SJ told them that the new sweeps away the old, repeatedly. Certainly happened in the domain he did so much to create.

A reminder that the only absolutes in this culture are negative ones, and the whole kit and kaboodle will for that reason probably soon be as gone as he is.

Well, this is not about him. He was great, and I wish he had had a much longer life, especially for his family's sake, but also for the other things he would have done.


Posted by kjo5, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I agree...It would be fantastic if Palo Alto honored his legacy here in Palo Alto with a memorial square, a computer museum, a peice of artwork erected as a memorial, etc.

People around the world come to Palo Alto and look for symbols of the tech industry that has so greatly impacted the world. We all want to honor him with respect for generations to come.

I think we would all love a symbolic place in downtown Palo Alto of which to honor SJ.


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