I read a lot of very respectful comments on Facebook yesterday about Steve Jobs passing. Some said thank you, some said in rest in peace, and some said farewell. A few of them started with something like “I’ve never owned an Apple product, but …”. I found those comments very interesting because it almost seemed as if their authors were trying to say, “I know you didn’t affect me, but you deserve my respect”. The funny thing about it is that Steve Jobs did affect them. He affected all of us.
There is a line in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep’s character explains to Anne Hathaway how high-end fashion works its way from the runways in Paris down to the racks at TJ Maxx. She tells Hathaway how the fashions on the runway influence the boutiques in New York City which influence style at high-end stores which influence clothing at large chains and so on and so forth until the styles eventually end up on the racks at Wal Mart. Along the way it loses some of its original character and philosophy, but by the end you can still see the influence. That is the kind of influence that Steve Jobs had on the world.
Even if you never owned a Mac or an iPod or an iPad, never used iTunes, and never watched a Pixar movie, you still felt the influence of Steve Jobs. The silver laptop you carry around, the computer animated movie you watch, the music you buy from Amazon or Rhapsody, the simple packaging you open when you get a new smart phone, the Android phone you check Facebook with were all influenced by Steve Jobs. Computers with glass trackpads, software with simple user interfaces, MP3 players, online music stores, app stores, touch screens, all in one computers, colored accessories, white phones, animated movies, gaming consoles – these were all influenced by the vision of Steve Jobs in some way. Not all directly, but in some way. His ideals slowly trickled down from Apple to its competitors to consumers. If you own a computer, listen to music, use a smart phone, watch movies, shop, browse the internet, go to the club, or take photos, you benefit from the influence of Steve Jobs.
He changed the world. He changed our world. And we can all thank him for that.