I can’t fathom a world without Steve Jobs.

As a kid in the 70s and 80s, I’d had exposure to lots of computers–the Apple I & II, Commodore Pets, Amigas, and TI TRS-80s–but it wasn’t until I encountered my first Mac in 1985 that I cared about a computer. With that first Mac in my high school art class, I learned the basics of desktop publishing, created my first digital art and design projects, and found that a computer could be vehicle for personal expression.

For the 26 years since, Steve Jobs has been a near constant presence in my life. After high school, during Apple’s dark years, I worked on Sculley-Macs and used NeXT workstations in my college’s computer labs. In 1993, I designed my first web page on a Quadra 650 and thereafter came Power Macs, Performas, iMacs, iBooks, and more Apple products than I can track. Each was radically better than the last and each was a beloved tool for improving my life.

With his products, Steve Jobs enriched my career and my material well being more than I can estimate. But with his personal example of independence, idealism, perseverance, love of work, and self confidence, he also enriched my soul. He didn’t tend wounds, build monuments, give sermons, or demand sacrifices. During hard times, I never heard him ask for a bailout, for the playing field to be leveled, or for government to invest in his industry. During great times, I never heard him apologize, recount his humanitarian works, or offer himself as a moral admonition to other industrialists. He just made great products, talked about them proudly, and left us to judge for ourselves.

You’re a hero, Steve. It won’t be the same without you.

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