Death of a salesman
This is not a Steve Jobs obituary. Because I didn't know Steve Jobs any more than you didThis is not a Steve Jobs obituary. Because I didn't know Steve Jobs any more than you did.
Okay, maybe a little more than you did, but that's because I'm a slavish Apple fanboy, exactly the sort of Apple consumer people make fun of.
I'm the guy that spends the defence budget of a small African nation buying Apple products each year.
In fact, I'm only writing this piece to fund my next Apple purchase (I'm torn between the iPhone 4S and an Airport Extreme Base Station. I may just buy both, if I can find a buyer for my second kidney on the black market soon enough).
I digress. My point is, this is not a Steve Jobs obituary. Because enough has been written, by people smarter than me, closer to Steve Jobs than me, and with more clarity about the life and times of Jobs than me. This piece isn't for Steve. It's for me. And a billion iAddicts and MacJunkies like me.
When I heard Steve Jobs had died, I was sad. Genuinely sad, in a way I would be if I heard of the passing of someone I'm formally acquainted with.
Which is weird because famous people, like all people, die all the time, and I don't remember ever being this... moved, for want of a better word.
When I got online, I realised it wasn't just me. Twitter reported a record 10,000 tweets a second in the aftermath of Jobs' death. Post-it notes and flowers had already found their way to the (forgive the irony of the following words) windows of Apple stores. From friends and from foes, the tributes were endless, and sincere.
Remember, this man was not a musician, or a princess, or anyone in the sort of profession that lends itself to imaginative eulogies.
Twitter reported a record 10,000 tweets a second in the aftermath
of Jobs' death; from friends and foes, the tributes were endless
This man made computers and phones, and then he sold them (not cheap, mind you), same as any successful businessman. And yet, I'll miss him in the way I'd miss a favourite musician, or actor, because, like them, Steve Jobs was an artist.
I realised Steve Jobs' death made me so sad because the house Steve built makes me so happy. Because Apple always gives me a product that lies at the crossroads of art and science, of function and form, of utility and emotion.
The way my iPhone looks makes me happy, and I could spend all day on my iPad flicking between pages JUST because it looks so pretty. All art is not useless. I know this because I'm writing this column on the piece of art that is my Macbook Pro.
Did Steve Jobs invent any of the cool crap I use today? Maybe he did, or maybe he hired the right people to do it.
He did, however, invent cooler experiences, like Apple keynote addresses, and suspense-filled product launches (Is it an iPhone 5? A 4S? A winged angel that looks like Scarlett Johannson and feeds you grapes as it does your taxes for you?)
He invented the jeans-wearing, LSD dropping techpreneur stereotype, a stereotype he rocked (black turtleneck in tow) to the very end. Some people say most Steve Jobs adulation is pointless worship at a cult of personality. To them I say, but what a personality it was. So thank you Steve.
For sleepless nights at our computers as we scraped around for live updates from your latest product launch, because you wouldn't allow live video.
Thank you Steve, for Stevenotes filled with mundane information that then lobbed a revolutionary product at us with a throwaway 'Oh, one more thing'.
Thank you Steve for a product, and indeed an experience, that was always just a little better, a little more fun, a little more artistic than what the next guy had to offer. Thank you for seeing the future the way you liked it, and then hiring people to bend the future to your will.
I don't know that there's a heaven, and I don't know where we all go when we die. Wherever the heck it is, I'll bet that it's now running more beautiful technology than it used to.
Thank you. And goodbye.
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo