One year ago today, Steve Jobs passed away. I can’t think of any other person of whom I feel more conflicted.
It’s hard to argue with Steve’s results. After all, he brought us the candy-colored iMacs, the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, the iPad, and so much more. His dedication to beautiful, usable products is comparable to none. He sweated the details. He never compromised on quality. He understood the user through and through.
But I can’t focus on outcomes without talking about process. We don’t know that much about Steve’s process. He kept it secret. But the little that we do know, doesn’t sound good. He was a bully. He was always right. It was Steve’s way or the highway.
I get it. You can’t build good products by consensus.
But i refuse to believe that you have to be a bully and a tyrant to build great products. And this is my conflict with the legacy that is Steve Jobs.
Today, I’m putting aside my conflict. I’m celebrating the MacBook Air on which I’m typing this blog post. I’m celebrating the iPhone that is always with me – that allows me to find my way around an unfamiliar city, connect with friends and strangers alike, and always have a book or three in my pocket. I’m celebrating the company that Apple has become and continues to be.
For the other 364 days of the year, I’ll remain critical. Today, I’m just grateful that Steve showed the world what a dedication to design can do.
Thanks, Steve. Rest in peace.