Reflections on Steve Jobs: Renaissance Man

Comparing Apple CEO Steve Jobs to Michelangelo may seem, at first, like a stretch. Michelangelo, after all, was an artist, a painter, a sculptor, an Italian Renaissance man. And yet… Steve Jobs, whose recent death resulted from cancer, was an artist as well — and, like Michelangelo, an engineer. Both men influenced society in ways unlike any other. Perhaps, therefore, Steve Jobs could be considered an Archetypal Renaissance in technology.

And that, to me, sums up the magic of Steve Jobs. When I worked in Silicon Valley (and, in fact, lived in Cupertino, within walking distance to Apple Computer, I knew many so-called technical geniuses. But Jobs was different: he had the unique ability to develop products that Every Man (and Woman!) could use easily. Beyond that, he had the gift of crafting technology that didn’t just function well — it was beautifully formed as well. Form, function, and fantasy…

Consider just a sampling of his prototypes:

Apple Mac Mini MC815LL/A Desktop: Sleek, efficient, attractive – classic Jobs. Apple iPod: The iPod Touch is impeccable — it’s become the gold standard for portable music. Who can say (or sing?) more? Apple iPhone: More popular than the Beatles, it was an instant “must have” worldwide. Other cell phone manufacturers needed a double dose of Prozac when they saw it.

Functional beauty from a technical pioneer whose passing was marked world-wide.

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