The resignation of Steve Jobs from his post as CEO of Apple, Inc. today was not surprising, but to me it was still shocking. The writing had been on the wall, but as John Gruber said: “I saw that headline and my nervous system took a jolt.”
There is no one person whose hands have taken to the work of shaping the 21st century in the Western world more than Steven Paul Jobs. The son of a Syrian Muslim, born in San Francisco while his father was in the U.S. on a student visa. The adopted son of an immigrant, a 60s radical, and finally, the king of Silicon Valley. The American Dream in action. He is without question the most successful CEO of his time. Loved for his work, and hated for the devotion it inspired in the people that bought it. There will never be another CEO like Steve Jobs.
He isn’t leaving Apple, he’ll undoubtedly be taken on as the Chairman of the Board, but the landscape has unquestionably changed in a way that is difficult to describe. Many will try. Few will do it well. For my part I will say this: Steve Jobs believed in his work, and had a sense for just what makes a product great that we will likely never see again. There will, inevitably, be men whose accomplishments in this space eclipse his own. But they will not be Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple at the beginning of the 21st Century. I was here, and I know better.
Good luck, Steve.