Losing a hero is tough…

Today, I am still reeling from the news of Steve Jobs’ death.

Losing a hero is tough and Steve has been a hero of mine for many years – from my time as a software geek to my life now, writing and running my own business.

Yesterday when I should have been writing my new book, I was grieving for a man I had never met and spent far too many hours reading about him (on my Mac and iPad).

I’m passionate about Apple’s products because, as Steve said, Apple had taste: they got the details right that their competitors didn’t even seem to care about.

As an entrepreneur Steve Jobs was one of the few people to have created more than one billion dollar company. And he was eloquent about his own personal philosophy of life and work – as demonstrated by his wonderful Standford commencement addess. Steve was certainly a man getting paid to do what he loved.

So many are touched by Steve Jobs’ death not just for these reasons but because he inspired us: he broke the rules, and surprised us again and again with new and better ideas. And he inspired us to come up with our own new and better ideas.

How can we respond to such a lofty role-model? How can we take something positive from the cruelty of his early death?

I believe it is simply to do our own thing. To create something special of our own, even if it seems far more modest than what our heroes have created.

Today we’re on the 7th day of the 30 Day Challenge and 200 people are doing exactly that: investing in a small project they care about for the duration of one month. Blogs, books, businesses and products are being created one step at a time and it’s a wonderful thing to witness – a vibrant community of people following their heart.

As Steve reminded us,

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma… Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

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  • Frank Mason

    Well said John…

  • Love love love love love this. x

  • Richardernestarthur

    He made billions whilst his factory workers suffer in awful conditions in the far east, would have been nice for him to have cared about them instead of his ego.

  • Margot

    Funny enough, the night he died I was reading the sample of your book, John, and since you quoted him massively, I was thinking of Steve Jobs a lot. I hope I will be able to turn my passion into making money for living one day, like he did.

  • Dave Brown

    Steve jobs was insanely great, those two words sum him entirely. 

    You too have the potential to be insanely great, all that is required is to strive, to seek out those things at which you can be insanely great.

    It is sad he is gone & we will miss him, but if you want to remember Steve, to honour him go out there & dare to be insanely great, do it today & every day, demand it of yourself.

    Steve showed us what is possible, join me in following his example & he will not have gone, he will be with us forever.

    Rest In Peace Steve Jobs

  • Chris Stanley

    Thanks for sharing that John – that extract, too, is legendary. Having decided to comment I suddenly find myslef lost for words – unusual for me, so I’m going to trust it.

  • Grainne


    Thank you very much, and the apple with his face is genious! x

  • Olly

    Hi John. I totally get where you’re coming from. That Stanford speech is one of the single most inspiring things I’ve ever heard. I found it a few years back and have watched it several times since, and it still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. In fact, I posted that exact link on my FB page yesterday but it didn’t receive any comments so I just guessed my friends didn’t feel the loss as acutely as I did. Why do I feel sad? Because I believe that Steve Jobs was a truly great human being. He wasn’t just talented, like many great sportsmen or actors. He was a true visionary. And that’s really, really rare. And to lose him at 56 – where’s the justice in that?!
    But his legacy is powerful, not just in terms of the products and the company he created..but also in the words that he left us with. And he will no doubt have inspired a new generation whose work is not yet apparent… but will be in time.

  • It’s humbling to realise we lived as contemporaries of such a visionary.  He changed the world.  Simple as that.  Having the courage to be true to yourself is easier said than done.  But it no reason not to try. Thanks John. J

  • Yes it’s by a young designer in Hong Kong – http://jmak.tumblr.com/

  • Carolscott

    thanks John for eloquently putting what I’m sure a lot of people will be feeling.
    I hope that everyone who needs to grieve allows that to happen and not just brush it away as is sometimes the case in the western world, after all we alone, as human beings, have the capacity to cry.  So even in the midst of the excitement of 30DC its good to take a moment to remember a true entrepeunerial spirit. Cancer is a horrible thing, at least his suffering is over now.

  • Louisebroda

    Absolutely agree with your sentiments! I think that he will become a hero in so many ways what what he did and the person he was though. I read a quote yesterday which i thought was very apt for what he represented and what we are striving for on the 30 day challenge:
    “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

  • Mariana Pereira

    I’m not an Apple consumer, but I apreciate their design and inovation.

    The last two days, I’m hearing and watching over and over Steve’s Stanford speach, and it is ALL there: personal thruth, Love, work, loss and accomplishment…

    I believe that listening to that speech may change lots of lifes… I would like to thank Steve for his impressive words…I guess I will not forget them so soon… RIP

  • Marsha

    Steve Jobs The world as I now know it: I wake up to gentle chimesI upload, downloadexport, import, developand publish photos.I record live musicI search, researchemail, educatesocialize with media, friends.I watch newswatch videoslisten to  musicand transfer info. I transfer musicfrom GarageBandto my iPhone,to my carwith a  Blue Toothto a Bose sound systemfor playback:The music just starts playingwhen I get into my car. I record tracks:A new version of a song.I take a walkto listen and play backthe  songon my iPod.Then I share it on ITunesand sync with my iPod.I take photosfor a 30 day challengeand upload themonto a website.Then I head up to the roofwhere I videoand photographmy gardenand the Washington DCskylineat sunset.I upload them allfor developingand sharing. I can do all of this because of you.Thank you, Mr. Steve JobsFor brilliant tools forinspirational living,for empowering and enhancingthe creative process,for your unique genius.Your message lives on.Through you, then through us.       

  • Heartfelt words John, couldn’t agree more.

    As a long time Mac user I’ve admired Steve Jobs drive and inspiration to make Apple the company it is today and the reason the Apple faithful feel a certain mystique about the company and their products.

    Let’s not forget Steve Jobs was the one who hired Jonathan Ive, who led the team responsible for the iMac, iPhone and iPad, all groundbreaking devices.

    I’m hoping his legacy and design ethos will live on in Apple with Mr Ive’s taking a more prominent role.

  • Yes Jonathan Ive is something special too!

  • Neely

    Well said. I’ve watched his Stanford speech a thousand times and I pick up a new piece of wisdom each time. Thanks for a great post.

  • Coghlan Anne

    You put is so well……Steve was a mighty human being…..
    I cried as I listened to his talk to the students at Stanford…and am telling all my students…..to listen to this!
    May He rest in peace!
    Anne. in Sweden.