One week ago, a businessman named Steve Jobs passed away. It was headline news, broadcast on major media networks all over the world. And though hardly any of us knew Mr. Jobs personally, many of us mourned. But why?
Perhaps it was that the technology Steve Jobs so relentlessly pushed forward affected our daily lives so extensively. But then, many other technological and other innovations have profoundly changed the world, and we don’t even know the names of the companies behind them, never mind the identities of their directors.
Perhaps it was the combination of the importance of Apple’s products with the very public persona of Steve Jobs that made his death a cause for such public mourning. Certainly it’s only recently that such a wide audience even COULD encounter the personality of any major business figure. But while this would certainly make Jobs’s death newsworthy, I doubt it would be enough to elicit such an outpouring of public tributes to his memory.
I think what really moved the world to mourn was that Steve Jobs was a visionary storyteller. He had a genius for seeing how the world could be different, coming up with a way of getting us there, and then bringing us along on the journey of invention. Through story, he helped us to see the world as he saw it and get excited about the innovations he made.
Steve Jobs captured our imaginations with his ability to think differently, and, more than that, he inspired us to do the same.