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Business Giants on the Passing of Heroic Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011

Image by Bosch Fawstin

Only a few weeks after his resignation as CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, a great visionary, inventor, innovator and entrepreneur, has passed away. Jobs was 56.

Apple made the following statement: “We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” read a statement by Apple’s board of directors. “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”

As expected, business and political leaders reacted to the death of Apple’s founder and creator of Macs, iPads and iPhones.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO:

Amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp. co-founder:

“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Co.:

“Steve was such an ‘original,’ with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend.”

Cary Sherman, CEO of RIAA:

“Steve was a larger-than-life personality — passionate about music and one of its biggest fans and advocates. He was a true visionary who forever transformed how fans access and enjoy music. With the introduction of the iTunes software and other platforms, Steve and Apple made it once again easy and accepted to pay for music. His legacy will live on, long past his all-too-short time on Earth.”

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. CEO:

“Today, we lost one of the most influential thinkers, creators and entrepreneurs of all time. Steve Jobs was simply the greatest CEO of his generation. While I am deeply saddened by his passing, I’m reminded of the stunning impact he had in revolutionizing the way people consume media and entertainment.”

Michael Dell, Dell Inc. founder and CEO:

“Today the world lost a visionary leader, the technology industry lost an iconic legend and I lost a friend and fellow founder. The legacy of Steve Jobs will be remembered for generations to come.”

Sen. Chris Dodd, CEO, MPAA:

“The genius of Steve Jobs, a man I’ve known for 40 years, not only brought to life the visual magic and brilliant storytelling of Pixar, but brought the world one of the most innovative and successful platforms to make movies and TV available online at the click of a mouse. He was a pioneer, and helped all of us better understand how technologists and creators can work together to enrich and enliven our shared world.”

Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell:

“The world has lost a genius who has forever changed the way we live, work and play.”

Yaron Brook, President of the Ayn Rand Institute:

“Well done, Steve Jobs”

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged lionizes the great wealth creators–the men and women whose thought, creativity, and drive has lifted mankind from the cave to the glistening skyscrapers of New York City. As the president of the Ayn Rand Institute, I regularly speak about Atlas and there is one living person who, more than anyone else, I reference as embodying those traits: Steve Jobs. The news that Jobs is no longer with us leaves me truly heartbroken.

What Jobs has always represented to me is someone who devoted his life to creating great values–who pursued his own vision, his own dreams, his own happiness. The results of his life’s work are truly astounding: the Apple II, the Macintosh, Pixar, the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, the iPad, and much, much more. He set out to change the world. He succeeded, and by all accounts took deep joy in his career and his achievements. He deserved it.

Ever since I heard the news that Steve Jobs died, a certain passage from Atlas Shrugged keeps running through my head, although only readers of the novel will understand the full impact of the scene.

Toward the end of the novel, when heroine Dagny Taggart is reunited with several men she had thought she would never see again, she says that the meeting is like a childhood dream “when you think that some day, in heaven, you will see those great departed men whom you had not seen on earth, and you choose, from all the past centuries, the great men you would like to meet.”

One of the men replies: “And if you met those great men in heaven…. There’s something you’d want to hear from them. [Y]ou’d want them to look at you and to say, ‘Well done.’ … All right, then. Well done, Dagny!”

If there were a heaven, filled with the great men of history, I have no doubt that they would say, “Well done, Steve Jobs.”

Meanwhile, Asia and the whole world mourn the technology hero and innovator. The Chinese, for instance, have their own way of showing respect and admiration to Jobs. In a country where freedom and rights are curtailed, people know how to pay tribute to a great innovator. The Chinese call him “Master Jobs”.

A Chinese academic named Wu Jiaxiang made the following comment:

Apple is the fruit of a tree, on which branches are free thoughts and creations, rooted from constitutional government and democracy. There would be collective projects rather than technology masters in authoritarian countries.

It is said Chinese people hate the rich. But all the Chinese are mourning for Jobs after he died. They don’t hate the rich. They respect the rich who accumulate their fortune via talents and innovation as well. What Chinese people hate are those get rich by monopoly, corruption and cheating.


Steve Jobs: The ‘Howard Roark’ in Business

Quotes from the Visionary who Built the Strongest Computer Brand on Earth

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