Billions of people have lived on earth, but only a few have been transformational. Steve Jobs -- college dropout, dreamer, icon, 3D-animated-films pioneer, creativity czar, minimalist design lover, technologist, keynote speech giver, Apple founder, and the man who made the letter 'i' a cool prefix -- was one such.
Most of us would be lucky to create just one product that impacts people every day; Jobs, who died yesterday, created several and sold them by the hundreds of millions. More important, he changed not only the topography of technology, he gave a new lease of life to the music industry with the iPod range of devices and the iTunes music store; he changed the way we looked at phones with the iPhone, and with the iPad he created a completely new gadget category. If Sony created the Walkman and brought in the era of mobile entertainment, Apple took it to another level altogether. To be sure, Jobs was not God, even if his fans would like to think so; indeed he committed so many mistakes early on in his career that his own board of directors doubted his ability to lead the company and sacked him. And he was only 30 then.
How he picked himself up and what happened later is the stuff of legend. He set up Pixar (now, the world's most profitable animation film company) and NeXT, a computer firm that, ironically, was bought over by Apple. He was recalled to Apple, a decision that transformed the company, and in some measure, the world.
But Jobs is gone now after losing a seven-year-battle with pancreatic cancer. There won't be the same charismatic keynote speeches to launch iconic new products. There won't be the black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans on stage. There won't be any of the "Oh, and one more thing" moments of drama. There will only be his legacy. And a remarkable one at that.