The Legacy of Steve Jobs

Posted Oct 5, 2012 by Alexander Baron
Steve Jobs died one year ago today, but what will be the true legacy of the man whose name has become synonymous with Apple, and who has been called among other things the father of the digital revolution?
Apple co-founder and former CEO  Steve Jobs.
Apple co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs.
Photo by Matt Yohe
That is one question that has a million answers. That is the number of people who are said to have contacted Apple since Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on October 5 last year.
There is an authorised biography by Walter Isaacson; there is a page devoted to books by and about him on Amazon, and a biopic is on the way.
One curious criticism of Jobs is that he did not give away his billions the same way Bill Gates has elected to. Some have suggested that he donated money to worthy causes anonymously. He certainly did give, and at one point set up a foundation, but the simple truth is probably that for all his enormous contributions to the digital age, Jobs was not interested in material possessions, a fact that can be readily discerned from his lifestyle. This is a whim the super-rich can afford, but the same trait can be seen in Mark Zuckerberg. Sure, he likes to travel, and doubtless to eat well, but where is the corporate jet, the chauffeur driven Rolls or even the Rolex watch?
Like George Harrison, Jobs looked to the East to find his purpose in life; Harrison found Hinduism, Jobs found Buddhism. Clearly he had a sense of purpose, he could have retired young and lived a playboy lifestyle, but like so many creative individuals: musicians, writers and even inventors, it was the next song, the next play, the next innovation, that motivated him.
Two people who knew him summed him up shortly after his death. His contemporary Jennifer Stockman said he bridged art and technology, while 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft said he would be remembered as a latter day Henry Ford, a man who made the existing technology better. We can of course only speculate about just how much more he would have contributed had he lived another ten years.