This may be outside the realm of what you normally see on HackCollege, but I’ll make an exception tonight.

It’s not hyperbolic to say that Steve Jobs was the greatest inventor of his generation; a modern day Thomas Edison. It would be remarkable enough for anyone to play the role he did in inventing the personal computer. Or in redefining the music industry. Or in bringing mobile technology to the masses. Or in ushering in a new era of tablet computing. Any of these alone would be a superlative achievement for any mere human being. Steve Jobs did them all.

Whether you’re reading this on a Mac or a PC, an iPhone or an Android phone, a gaming desktop or a cheap netbook, the device you’re using was influenced in no small part by Steve Jobs. A friend of mine texted me tonight and said that nearly everything that’s happened in the tech industry over the last 30 years has been in response to Steve Jobs’ work, and looking back, it’s hard to find flaw in this statement.

Genius often exacts a toll in what we might call social norms, and there’s no doubt that Steve was a polarizing figure in many ways. However, any criticisms (or accolades) we may have for how he conducted himself and his business are ancillary to his lifelong accomplishments. Steve, his products, and the competitors they spawned have affected all of our lives in a very tangible way, and the world is undoubtedly a better place for his efforts. 

I don’t mourn his death as much as I mourn what he could have accomplished had he not left us so soon. Steve had been innovating for 30 years, and had he been a healthier man he could have gone for 20 more. After his passing, we can only hope that someone, whether they work for Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, or any other tech company, can fill the void and steer the industry for the next 30 years with the same vision, creativity, and love that Steve so consistently demonstrated throughout his life. 

Thanks for everything, Steve. We’ll all miss you.