As I was saying goodbye to Teresa this morning, on my way to work, I heard just a brief few words from the radio, tuned to NPR, “… and Apple has…” and I immediately knew. I listened a bit more and, indeed, Steve Jobs had died. At the iPhone announcement Tuesday, many people were disappointed that Tim Cook didn’t have the final twist that Jobs always did, “One more thing…” Well, this – unfortunately – is the one more thing.
I went to WWDC this year for the first time. I took notes, in journal style, to share with our team. I had never seen Jobs in person before, and I knew this would likely be the first and last time. Here is an excerpt from my notes at the keynote:
Steve Jobs opened up the session, looking very skeletal and frail. He walked a bit hunched over, carefully lifting his sneaker-clad feet which looked outsized because of his stick-like legs. His signature black mock-turtle and jeans hung limply and loose on his tiny frame. His voice was weak, and he actually spoke very little, giving most of the time to his underlings. The spark is still in his eyes, and you can tell he still has the passion, but his body is failing him. I’m not sure he’ll still be around by WWDC next year. Whether you love him, hate him, or are indifferent, we will all mourn this passing of this giant mind and charismatic personality. The other presenters, various VPs of different divisions, were very good and polished – and much healthier looking. I hope they can carry on Steve’s legacy and deliver on his vision for years and decades to come. Jobs is much like the Disney of the digital era; he’ll be very hard to follow up, but Disney the Corporation was able to thrive after Walt was gone, so maybe Apple can too.