MEDANSKY: Jobs joins the iCloud

Yesterday, Steve Jobs — the American inventor and entrepreneur famous for his user-friendly philosophy, charisma and signature black turtlenecks — passed away. Jobs, best known for his involvement founding and leading a little start-up called Apple Computer, had been battling cancer since 2004. When Jobs died, Apple released a statement on its website. I found out, like many, through my Twitter.

Apple wrote that Steve Jobs leaves behind a “company only he could have built.” This is true. Steve Jobs’ knowledge, insight and intellectual agility were essential in shaping Apple as both a series of products and a series of philosophies. Jobs balanced form with function, creativity with practicality. He helped build machines that speak universally to our needs and our wants. Even my grandfather has an iPhone.

But it’s not enough to remember Steve Jobs as the man who made the Mac. That’s trite. It’s inaccurate, too. The iPhone and the Macbook aren’t, after all, the result of one man’s singular vision: they’re the result of great minds meeting and working together. It’s a disservice to Jobs’ collaborative spirit to suggest anything else. Furthermore, Jobs didn’t just work at Apple; his contributions to the technology industry, though best associated with Apple, far surpass his involvement there.

In 2005, Jobs delivered the commencement address at Stanford University. He spoke of his time as a college dropout; he slept on floors and took calligraphy classes instead of finishing his degree from Reed College. He spoke of the lessons he learned when he was fired as a young man from the company he had founded. He spoke of his cancer, too. “Your time is limited,” he told the graduates, “so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Steve Jobs was indeed the man who made the Mac, but insofar as Jobs embodied a determination, creative spirit, intellectual fearlessness and innate sense of foresight about the world and its people, he will be remembered as much more.

In 1984, Apple Computer bought its first television advertisement. It began with grainy black-and-white footage of a Leni-Riefenstahl-meets-George-Orwell dystopia. Nameless, anonymous extras stared blankly at their Big Brother. The camera panned to a lone figure; she let go of her hammer, smashing the screen. And in simple text dominating the screen, Apple promised us that 1984 wouldn’t be like 1984.

Apple made good on that promise, but Steve Jobs let that promise guide his career. During that Stanford address, Steve Jobs made a simple proclamation: “You’ve got to find what you love.”

May we all find what we love as passionately and perfectly as he did.

Marissa Medansky is a freshman in Morse College. Contact her at marissa.medansky@yale.edu.

Comments

  • The Anti-Yale

    Death is the absolute unknown.
    I am uncomfortable with the “flip” quality of this headline “Jobs joins the iCloud”. However, I would be uncomfortable with the equally trivial euphemism “Jobs Goes to Heaven.” Both of these headlines embellish the news, one with a pun, the other with proselytizing.

    “Steve Jobs, Technology Wizard, is Dead” is news.

  • yalie1420

    ^ This is not a news piece. It is a column.

  • The Anti-Yale

    It is a solemn column. Death commands a certain respect—even if that respect is “defiance”. Euphemisms and puns on such an occasion are of dubious merit to the survivors.

  • yayasisterhood

    Survivors? Life, it has been said, is a fatal, sexually transmitted disease from which nobody has ever survived. No one here gets out alive, Mr. Keane.

    • The Anti-Yale

      I have often said that “The only way off the planet is the cemetery.”

      However, “survivors” in this case means living intimates and family of the deceased.

  • yalie13

    I think the title is clever and sweet.
    It’s a nice way to symbolize how he lives on in the impact he’s made in our lives figuratively and literally. I really like it.

  • The Anti-Yale

    I think it’s clever and sweet too. Just like “Never Never Land”.

    Maybe I’m being too picky.

    It’s just that I read a book on “the Singularity” in which at a distinct moment in the evolution of the Internet its accumulated DATA will become a mega-consciousness and individual humans will be able to download their personalities into that mega-consciousness to achieve the immortality imagined for thousands of years by poets and dreamers.

    “Jobs joins the iCloud” smacks of a new Elvis myth: He’s still alive.

    Not so.

  • Yale12

    “Jobs joins the iCloud” smacks of a new Elvis myth: He’s still alive.”

    And yet you’re OK saying something like this.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Apparently I’m too dense to get the drift of your insult. How is the allusion to Jobs’ immortality in the Cloud any less trivial than the myth of Elvis’ immortality incognito?

  • Yalie

    Jobs’s “immortality” is based on the idea that much of his personality will live on through daily use of the products he gave us, combined with a nice play on the word “cloud” and its obvious iconography. I don’t think there’s any implied sense of true immortality, unlike in Elvis’s case where some people believe he is physically still alive and managing a Dairy Queen in Abilene, TX or somesuch.

    As for the idea of uploading consciousness to a network: that’s not the common definition of the singularity, at least as someone like Ray Kurzweil defines it. I certainly hope and believe it will become a possibility, though it raises any number of questions about the nature of consciousness.

  • The Anti-Yale

    I’m with Steve Jobs: HE said “Death is Nature’s greatest gift.”

  • yalie13

    Dude, you’re over-analyzing this way too much.

    • The Anti-Yale

      I KNOW I am.

      I merely said, I’m “uncomfortable” with the headline. Perhaps if it had appeared a week after his death I might not be uncomfortable.

      I grew up in an era in which no one dared intrude on the mourners’ world with comments of any kind other than solemn respect for at least a few days after a person’s death.

      The fact that he had a small, private funeral indicates he honored that world himself.

      “Joins the iCloud” has a Disneyland ring to it, at least to my antique ears.

    • The Anti-Yale

      It’s analogous to day-after death headlines like: “Judy Garland is off to see the Wizard”
      or” Mrs. Onassis returns to Camelot” or “Michael Jackson walks over the Moon”, especially since all of them –including Jobs –died after long public struggles with illness.

  • anon82

    i love the headline.

  • SY

    “He spoke of his time as a college dropout; he slept on floors and took calligraphy classes instead of finishing his degree from Reed College.”

    Is his lesson to us: don’t drop out of Yale to follow your inner voice and heart unless you will chance 1 in a billion good fortune? What if Jobs had dropped out of college in Pittsburg or Dallas, instead of being able to drop into Atari and meet Steve W.? He happened to drop out of college in Silicon Valley at the start of the biggest tech/entertainment revolution since Hollywood. Otherwise, what would he have innovated or sold? Financial products and commodity futures? He should be remembered for recognizing the 1 in billion chance he got, and seizing it to put together software and internet in new forms–ipod and iphone.