Today is the anniversary of Steve Jobs death, and its worth a visit to Apple.com to see the commemorative video there. How much more drab our world would be without his work, and how long delayed would be the progress he brought!
Steves encouragement and his unrestrained critique were important influences on the software company I started in the 80s, when I became one of the first Macintosh developers. He and I were both in our early 30s; Id written him a letter a paper letter describing the technology I was developing. He picked up the phone and called me, we chatted a bit and he asked me to fly down to the Valley and meet with him. We spent about an hour that first meeting. He wanted to see everything Id built and had insightful comments on it all, encouraging some parts as of importance and significance, while brutally telling me one was not, as it was something you should never show to anyone ever again!
I appreciated the reality check - I was fresh off a sojourn in the deep woods, so without thinking Id worn hiking boots. Steve noticed and often called me Mountain Man when we saw each other after that. He was always generous with his time and attention to me.
Steve was the most charismatic person I ever met, and it was clearly effortless, a true gift. He used that gift and others in a way that led to humanitys betterment, enlisting people to achieve a level of elegance in product development that showed us that a thoroughness of quality itself has a quality of its own. His products moved our hearts as well as markets and money, and their elegance continues to give us a glimpse of things beyond our time.