After legendary Apple (NAS: AAPL) leader Steve Jobs passed away Wednesday night, thousands of messages filled with grief and sadness hit the Web. Several friends, colleagues, fellow entrepreneurs, journalists, and even the president weighed in with a statement about their experiences with Jobs.
I've compiled some of the best I found:
Colleagues and the business community
Jobs successor and current Apple CEO Tim Cook's email to staff (via TechCrunch):
I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an 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.
We are planning a celebration of Steve's extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.
Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett (via @CNBC's Twitter feed): "He was one of the most remarkable business managers and innovators in American business history."
Microsoft's Bill Gates (via AllThingsD):
I'm truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs' death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.
Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors, and friends over the course of more than half our lives.
The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.
For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (on Facebook, of course): "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you."
Google's Sergey Brin (via Google+): "From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met. On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple."
Google's Larry Page (via Google+):"I am very, very sad to hear the news about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance. He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it. His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well. My thoughts and Google's are with his family and the whole Apple family."
Starbucks' Howard Schultz (via Starbucks Newsroom): "It's a sad day for America -- a man who embodied innovation and our entrepreneurial spirit like no-one else has passed and will be greatly missed."
Dell's Michael Dell (via The Wall Street Journal): "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. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to the Apple team."
Disney's Bob Iger (via The Wall Street Journal): "Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time."
Pixar's John Lasseter and Ed Catmull (via The Huffington Post): "Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply 'make it great.' He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar's DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time."
President Obama (via The White House Blog):
Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators -- brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.
By building one of the planet's most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.
The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve's wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.
In the press
Evan Niu (via Fool.com): "One reason that might explain why we feel so close to him is that he had an uncanny ability to access the deepest recesses of our minds and imaginations, even without knowing us individually. He knew what we wanted even before we did. His visions have shaped technology and society in such profound ways that it's impossible to grasp how one man could achieve so much."
Ken Auletta (via The New Yorker): "In what may be the Gettysburg Address of graduation speechism, Jobs spoke at Stanford, in 2005. [Note: You can see his Stanford speech on YouTube.] Ever the corporate rebel, he did not dress for the occasion, but wore jeans and dark sneakers under his black robe. He did not shave. He told three personal stories, and the third was about death, which 'is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.' Steve Jobs will not be replaced by the new."
Lance Ulanoff (via Mashable): "In the coming days and weeks much will be said of the life of Steve Jobs. Eventually, the talk will turn to what's next for Apple, and how Steve's absence will [affect] the company he built. But for now, I will remember Steve Jobs on stage pausing just a moment, smiling wryly at the crowd, saying 'and one more thing.' One more thing that will never pass this way again."
John Abell (via Wired): "Farewell, Steve. We hardly knew you, and there isn't anyone who knew us better."
Walt Mossberg (via AllThingsD):
That Steve Jobs was a genius, a giant influence on multiple industries and billions of lives, has been written many times since he retired as Apple's CEO in August. He was a historical figure on the scale of a Thomas Edison or a Henry Ford, and set the mold for many other corporate leaders in many other industries.
He did what a CEO should: Hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term, not the quarter or the short-term stock price; made big bets and took big risks. He insisted on the highest product quality and on building things to delight and empower actual users, not intermediaries like corporate IT directors or wireless carriers. And he could sell. Man, he could sell.
Jobs on Jobs
Steve Jobs in his own words (via AllThingsD):
"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me."
"My model for business is The Beatles. There were four guys who kept each other's, kind of, negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. And that's how I see business. You know, great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people."
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that 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."
Farewell, Steve. You'll be missed.
At the time thisarticle was published Fool.com managing editor Brian Richards owns shares of Microsoft and Disney. Follow him on Twitter,@brianlrichards. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Microsoft.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Walt Disney, Berkshire Hathaway, Google, Apple, and Microsoft and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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