"America lost a genius who will be remembered with Edison and Einstein" said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his tribute to Steve Jobs.
As you know, the 56-year-old founder of Apple died this week. President Obama paid tribute: "Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it." Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thanked Jobs "for showing that what you build can change the world."
A colleague who worked with him for 17 years picked up that theme: "Try to imagine today's society if Steve didn't exist." What would be different? Technologists have composed a list of his unique contributions:
Making computers accessible to non-technical people with MacIntosh
Reinventing the music industry with iPod and iTunes
Revitalizing animation with Pixar
Reinventing the personal communications industry with iPhone
Changing the way we consume media with iPad
Changing the way software and hardware are sold
Forever altering the language of computer interfaces
Building Apple from nothing into the second-most valuable company in the world.
If he were responsible only for the MacBook, or the iPod, or ITunes, or the iPhone, or the iPad, his death would be global news. That he led in the creation of all five justifies the consensus that Steve Jobs was a true genius.
Reading these tributes sparked this question for me: What if I had never existed? How would the world be different? If I died today, what headlines would the event generate? Have I done anything unique, or significant, or lasting? Have you?
Absolutely. We exist for a reason. God didn't make us because the world needed another human. Our planet is home to 6,966,778,621 people as of this moment; it didn't need one more. I'm not here because we were running short on hoteliers. You and I exist because the Lord of the universe wanted us to exist. We are his unique creation. We possess gifts and capacities which no other person has been given in precisely the same way. We have a calling and purpose which no other person can fulfill.
The world will miss Steve Jobs. One day it will miss us as well. In the meantime, let's run our race well.
Excerpts from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture by Dr. Jim Denison