What has Steve Jobs left behind?

Apple's Steve Jobs appears at a special media event at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif. Jobs founded Apple in 1976, along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.

As is often the case in modern society, Twitter was one of the fastest ways to learn about something like the death of Steve Jobs. And in many of those tweets from all over the world, there was a strong sense that people were emboldened by what Jobs made and what he did. We asked some of our listeners to share their thoughts.

"Jobs was to the creative world what George Bailey was to Bedford Falls. Hard to imagine the world if he'd never been born." - Dan Jones

"Apple products were a route to learning about who our austic son is. I once emailed Steve Jobs our thanks. Steve wrote back. That's class." - Steve Huff

"Steve taught me that if you can dream it you can make it. and at 45 I'm going back to university to become an artist. inspired by Steve Jobs. Thank you." - Kathleen Ralph

"I've worked at Apple for over 20 years. Having had the privilege of looking him in the eye and sharing a smile is the only thing I need to keep me focused on changing the landscape of technology, and appreciating the human spirit." - Tom Clark

"As one who does UX for mobile apps for a living it is almost unimaginable. Jobs put the user in computing. My job exists because of him." - Steven Neuman

Many people on Twitter linked to a 2005 commencement address Jobs gave at Stanford University. It's a humble Jobs who appears in the speech. He says that as a college dropout, this is the closest he's been to a graduation ceremony. By this point, Jobs had already begun his battle with cancer and the speech is philosophical, no product launch, no black turtleneck.

Veteran technology journalist and author Doc Searls was one of those linking to the speech. He says Jobs, "Was one of the great artists of any time, and yet in spite of this reputation he had for great charisma, there was such a self-effacing modesty to the way he presented himself that was not, you know, great oratory, or great presentation style even though he's always credited with that. It was just very straightforward and humble and profoundly moving for those reasons."

As for what Jobs left us with, Searls says, "You know he changed retailing, he changed computing, he changed networking, he changed everything he meant to. Which is kind of an amazing thing. He was a great lesson in intentionality and focus. The thing that concerns me at this point is what are all of those things going to be without him around? Because he changed so many things so well and for so long, for a guy so young, he was only 56 when he died. I can't help but think the world really is missing something from now on, that we're not going to have his very unique and influential taste - to use a word that he liked to use so much. We were really blessed to have the guy around."

The Apple IIe is not a very sophisticated computer by today's standards. 64k of memory, 5 inch floppy disks. Remember those? They were actually floppy. My family got an Apple IIe when I was 14.

And the first time I tried it, something shifted in my brain. This was different. This wasn't a toy, it wasn't a video game that you played ON.
This was a workshop, this was something you climbed INTO. I remember as clear as a bell sitting in my family rec room, right by the patio door, whiling away hours upon hours on that computer. I wrote programs. I tinkered.

And the style of it, the feel of that Apple computer, even then, invited that, it invited me in. I could make stuff with it. The computer came with Apple decals, the old rainbow stripe ones, which I displayed with pride on my bedroom door. I program computers. I make things happen.

That's what Steve Jobs did. He built machines people could use to make things happen. To connect, to discover, to create.

About the author

John Moe is the host of Marketplace Tech Report, where he provides an insightful overview of the latest tech news.

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