Editorial: Steve Jobs saw future

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs never set foot in Rowan County, but he forged a trail that ran right through our offices and living rooms ó much as he did around the world.
Jobsí death Wednesday at the age of 56 has sparked extraordinary reaction for a corporate executive. But Jobs, co-founder and chairman of Apple, went beyond building a business. He had a vision for how people might someday compute, communicate and entertain themselves ó and he had the leadership to make it happen.
Appleís Macintosh computers were an amazing innovation in themselves. With the mouse and an easy-to-use interface, Macs put the ěpersonalî in personal computing. Anyone could do it.
Apple leapfrogged ahead of the competition when Jobs unveiled the iPod, another new but immediately adopted concept. Eventually iPhones and iPads followed. As the Associated Press reported, Jobs had a knack for channeling technology into products people didnít even know they wanted ó but then had to have. The release of new Apple products became much-anticipated events.
Thursday people were comparing Jobs to Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, other iconic innovators. But Jobs was equally prescient in his philosophy for living. As he told the commencement day crowd at Stanford in 2005, he once read as a teen that if you live each day as if it was your last, someday youíll be right. He went on:
ěIt made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, Iíve looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ënoí for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
ěRemembering that Iíll be dead soon is the most important tool Iíve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life, because almost everything ó all external expectations; all pride; all fear of embarrassment and failure ó these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.î
Even if you never use an Apple product, thatís a message worth remembering. Jobs followed his heart and achieved amazing things. What would happen if more people did the same?