I'm thinking a lot about Steve Jobs, lamenting the loss and appreciating the astonishing impact Steve Jobs made on our lives (as I type this on my new MacBook Pro and complain about Lion). There is so much out there - so much commentary, so many people dedicated to saying anything I might think of to feel or say, so I'll let that stuff settle in my head. My mind eventually drifts to life moving forward - the legacy and company he left behind and what will become of it. What will the new leadership do, how will they keep his vision alive?
The irony hits me that as they try to move forward, and try to keep the innovation Jobs defined the company with, the very attempt to try to follow his footsteps in and of itself contradicts what he stood for, and what made him able to do what others could not even dream. By trying to think "what would Steve do?" they are limiting themselves...what did Steve think instead? He wasn't trying to live up to anyone else - he was trying to innovate beyond anything anyone else had ever thought.
I've thought about this personally as well - when my mom died, how did I handle her legacy? I wasn't sure how to apply the things she had taught me, the advice she had given (whether I liked it or not) and defining how much of what she thought and wanted should impact and shape my future was a difficult subject. I wasn't even sure if it should as a going forward awareness. Clearly it is different in the Steve Jobs/Apple situation, especially because Jobs' leadership created and defined Apple's success. The questions, however, are similar. I think even about other concepts along this line, whether religious text or the Founding Fathers - in so many ways, we take visionaries and continue to try to live in their guidance, and while the benefits can be clear, at what point do we look and say, "it is time for something new"?
I suppose the success of living and acting within that visionary guidance is about the concept. Conceptually, freedom, independence, love, focus and simplicity, all of these are timeless, and not limiting. The trick is in staying true to the concept rather than trying to apply too much of the specific hows. I'm not sure I can completely describe what I mean, but I'm getting there in my head.
It will be interesting to see what happens - what new innovator steps into this space, how Apple will transform, and how they will remain true to Jobs' vision - and what it becomes clear they see it as. As Jobs said, "...death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."
Thank you, Steve, not just for the gifts of your innovation, but for the inspiration to make the world a better place, and dream things no one else ever has.