A day after Steve Jobs’ death at 56, Cornell students and faculty took time to recall the Apple co-founder’s legacy. While many cited characteristics that have come to define Jobs in the day after his death — his vision, leadership and ability to innovate — others believed that it was his personal values and life outlook that separated him from many public figures today.
Rahul Kishore ’12, The Sun’s web editor, who grew up in Los Altos, Calif., near Jobs’ and Apple’s headquarters, said that growing up, he and his friends always saw Jobs as a larger-than-life figure.
“Growing up, when we envisioned Steve Jobs, we envisioned someone who almost wasn’t human, who was above human — someone who just wanted to do truly amazing things to better the world,” Kishore said.
Kishore, who met Jobs a few times, said that he was most impressed by Jobs’ desire to inspire others.
“I remember the ‘think different’ ad, and he said something that has stuck with me until today: ‘Here’s to the crazy ones, because the ones who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world are the ones who do,’” Kishore said. “And that will probably be his legacy … it comes down to him bringing to the world the idea that anything is possible. It comes down to really being able to inspire people to believe that you can turn the impossible into the possible.”
Others agreed that Jobs never believed his legacy should be about himself, but about the imprint he left on others.
Cindy Van Es, senior lecturer in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, said she saw this attribute in one of Jobs’ speeches.
“Personally, I’ve been most intrigued by what he said when asked about his own legacy,” Van Es said. “He said that he wanted his legacy to be his commitment to his family.”
But many saw Jobs primarily as a gifted business executive with the vision and leadership to guide Apple.
“The way I view Steve Jobs was as an innovator, entrepreneur and pioneer of industry. It’s a huge loss for the world, and not just Apple because I really think that the products that he made and the people that he touched benefited from his work,” Stephen Breedon ’14 said.
Phoebe Yu ’12 agreed with Breedon’s sentiments.
“I was saddened by the loss of one of the most innovative visionaries of our times. Steve Jobs impacted each of us in very personal ways and changed how we perceive the world,” she said. “I’ll miss him and the Apple presentations he did.”
Others questioned who would fill the void left by Jobs’ death.
“He was an incredible revolutionary, and to have someone so transformational for the world kind of makes me wonder what’s next, who’s next, what’s going to be the next big thing, who’s going to be creating the next big thing?” EJ Yeterian ’15 said.
That question, however, might be answered best by Jobs himself.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice,” Jobs said in a commencement address at Stanford in 2005. “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”