As Hank Stuever writes, though, Steve Jobs has been preparing us for this reality a long time, “He would be getting off here; we were to proceed without him into the unknown.”
Jobs’s famous Standford commencement speech said as much. Six years ago, he implored a stadium full of people who very likely worshipped the tech hero before them to remember they would all be dead soon. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” he says in his signature casual, straight-forward style. “Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
On Wednesday, when Steve Jobs died at the age of 56, the Internet, which had sprung up on the computers he built, responded with sad, celebratory, and passionate tributes.
Apple’s Web site went stark, asking for people to email their remembrances of Jobs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Google.com went subtle, with a small line under the search bar and buttons leading to the Apple site.
BoingBoing.net was an homage to an old-school Mac. It was a playful — and still respectful — tribute to Jobs. It was a perfect reminder of how much he’s changed our lives.
And Wired.com went all black, with quotes from luminaries in the worlds of technology and politics and others about the man.
Others wrote moving tributes. Brian Lam, the former editor of Gizmodo who publicly fought with Apple when the tech site got a stolen protype of the iPhone 4, wrote of his own personal struggles with Jobs. “I just feel lucky I had the chance to tell a kind man that I was sorry for being an —hole before it was too late.”
But, perhaps, even more powerful, was the simple outpouring of Steve Jobs’s quotes filling social media sites — his own words spreading outward, read by many on the screens he crafted.