Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs came to represent the near limitless potential of human spirit and endeavor. His brash and abrasive manner left scores of detractors in his wake, yet it’s hard to argue with his accomplishments and success over the years. Here was a man who was given up for adoption from birth, never graduated from college, and had the wild idea to start a computer company in his garage with engineering wunderkind, Steve Wozniak, during the go-go 80’s.

Steve Jobs was unique in that he was fired from the company he helped start, and a decade later came back like a conquering hero which launched his personal career and the fortunes of Apple on an unimaginable trajectory. Jobs created NeXT Computers after leaving Apple, but was brought back after its technology was bought and merged. Though nothing remains of the unique hardware platforms – which John Carmack of iD Software fame swears by – the legacy of the company lives on in Apple’s OSX operating system.

During Jobs’ second coming, he redefined Apple from a failing computer company into a highly successful consumer electronics and technology company. He singlehandedly managed to beat Sony at their own game and made their decades old “Walkman” brand irrelevant. All the large handset makers like Nokia, Motorola and Samsung laughed and derided Apple when they announced they were getting into the mobile handset business.

Jobs didn’t care; he showed the world how to integrate hardware and software into a seamless experience and in the process, invented the model for media distribution in the digital age. Despite the iTunes store coming into its first decade of existence, everyone is still scrambling to catch up.

In the past decade, Steve Jobs’ unique drive and vision turned Apple into the most valuable technology company in the world, and he himself became one of the richest individuals on the planet. Shooting stars that shine the brightest and travel the furthest often burn out more quickly. Steve, you were unique and you will be sorely missed. Jobs was 56 when he passed away yesterday. RIP.

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