I feel this immense sadness right now. That was the first thing I texted my brother, David. I never met Apple founder Steve Jobs, but I feel like I knew him. I think you might feel the same way.
At first I couldn’t understand why. Why did I feel this way about a man I never met before as if he were somehow related to me? Is this how our parents felt when JFK died? Then I realized Steve Jobs might just be the last great American hero. Steve Jobs was the American dream. Steve Jobs made us realize that all those crazy fantasies we have about being bigger than those who came before us is actually possible. Without Steve Jobs in our world, who is going to remind us that it’s OK to dream? More importantly, who is going to remind us that we can achieve those dreams?
I was walking uptown from Wall Street when I saw the news about his passing on Twitter. There was a surreal feeling in the air, but I assumed it was just because of the surrounding #OccupyWallStreet protests. I had just been at the Business Insider Silicon Alley 100 event on the floor of the NYSE, and when I left it suddenly hit me that the surreal feeling was Steve Jobs’ legacy shining down on all of us.
Me, and all those amazing web entrepreneurs that filled the floor of the NYSE, wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs. That protest happening on Wall Street and around the country? The texting, pictures, social media and mobilization efforts? None of that would have ever been possible without Steve Jobs in our world.
I guess the big question is, what impact has Steve Jobs had on you? For me, that’s easy — this sad news has helped me to remember the significant impact he’s had on me as a person, a CEO and an entrepreneur.
Click through the slideshow above for a retrospective look at the some of the pearls of wisdom Steve Jobs has left us with.
Photos courtesy of SIPA.