Steve Jobs: The Man Who Inspired a Generation

Exactly 10 years ago, on 5 October 2011, one of the world’s most iconic business leaders and visionaries passed away. His legacy is that of a brilliant futurist, a wonderfully intuitive design guru, but also a hugely impactful public speaker, who has shaped an entire generation of public speakers and defined the way some of the best products and services are introduced to markets worldwide. Here’s to Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computers, the man who built the company he loved so much that – to paraphrase Confucius – he never had to work a day in his life.
Foto: Steve Jobs
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Steve Jobs

I remember reading biographies back in school and later at university, of men I found interesting, intriguing or otherwise thought-provoking. There is something especially rewarding in this particular genre. After all, it is almost presumptuous to assume one can 'recreate' something as wonderfully complex as a lifetime on a few hundred pages of a book, explain its formative moments, decisions, motivations and emotions, let alone decipher the countless correlations between them. You can only connect the dots looking backwards, right? The ones that seem to matter and the ones that actually matter, defying intuition, even probability on the way. 

Every once in a while...

...a revolutionary mind comes along and changes everything. Steve Jobs was definitely one of those few extraordinary entrepreneurs who have had a formative influence on many a career choice, not to mention development goals. Don't get me wrong, I'm not your typical Apple boy, even though I have come to prefer Macs to PCs over the years, despite finding some of their long-lived characteristics persistently annoying. This short article, however, is not meant to be about Macs or PCs, nor the underlying differences in design and user-experience philosophies. Instead, it's meant to be a short, personal tribute to the man who had a huge impact on an entire generation of entrepreneurs, however reluctant some of them may be to acknowledge it as years pass.

I'm not going to get into the details of his biography here. Read Isaacson if you feel you know too little to relate, or next to nothing at all. For the purposes of this article, it's perhaps enough to say that the life of Steve Jobs was fascinating in so many ways that, no matter if you are a psychologist, an entrepreneur, a salesman, a future startup founder, a public-speaking coach or an aspiring, young manager starting your journey in a young, aspiring company, chances are you will have learned something really important just by studying his life, his early interviews, his product-launch presentations, his lectures and casual conversations, his commercials, his choice of language, his preparation process, his storytelling instincts, and so on and so forth. And yes, he was a great public speaker, even though he probably wasn't born with many of the things we so eagerly associate with public speaking. In that, too, his was an out-of-the-box approach:

And one last thing

If you do decide to take a closer look at the legacy of the man who changed an entire industry or two (and brought a few more into existence), it's really up to you to decide what to focus on first: the key facts from his life, the evolution of his management style, or the power of his personality. Just make sure you remember that some stories are best read knowing much can be found between the lines.

Here's to Steve Jobs. A truly extraordinary man who really did think different and made generations to follow pay attention.


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