Apple Visionary Steve Jobs Passes Away

Steve Jobs speaks
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Steve Jobs leaves behind one hell of a legacy.

I’m not a Mac user, but even I was caught flat-footed by the news that Steve Jobs died last night at the age of 56 after losing a battle against cancer he waged for close to a decade. The reasons for that are many, but it starts with this: He transformed the face of American culture forever. iPhone, iPad, iPods and Macs have become part of the lexicon. He was a driving force behind Pixar, the perennial Oscar-winning animation company that has forced so many others to step up their game. And he was a major stakeholder in Disney when the company underwent a creative renaissance over the last decade and change.

Under his leadership, Apple never lacked for a revolutionary idea. With his black turtlenecks and wire-frame glasses, Jobs looked the part of a ’60′s revolutionary, but he was no throwback. With his trademark steady hand, he steered Apple through a pitched battle with Microsoft. That’s even more remarkable when you consider that he wasn’t even at the company for an 11-year stretch from the mid-1980′s to mid-1990′s. He stood tall on every stage he was on, a man whose aura made him seem like a giant. Intellectually and creatively, he was.

The products he helped develop and present to the public were wildly popular. The iPod, for example, has sold 300 million units since it was released, with Apple on the verge of bidding a fond farewell to the MP3 player. The release of every new iPhone was treated with the utmost secrecy and greeted in much the same way teenage girls greeted the Beatles, with perhaps a touch less swooning and a few less poodle skirts.

Direct Capital’s CEO, James Broom, shared a favorite Jobs quote with us this morning:

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Today, take a moment to mourn a genius who died much too young. Whether we’ve lived our lives as Mac enthusiasts or not, we must acknowledge when greatness passes.

Tell us your Steve Jobs or Apple product stories in the comments.

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