Flensburg Files‘ Tribute to Steven Jobs, Apple founder, thinker, innovator, and the source of inspiration

An Apple a Day helps keep the doctor away- this was an old saying that was used by many to encourage people to eat healthy everyday and avoid seeing the doctor for any illnesses that may come about. My grandmother used to preach this when I was growing up and it helped a great deal when it came to creativity and imagination as a teacher, columnist/writer, parent and a person in general.

That is unless you have an Apple Computer and you are using it every day, like I do. Then the anecdote should read “An Apple a day helps your creativity run away.” I was first introduced to the Apple IIe while in elementary school in 1984 and grew up with the computer, embracing one new type after another, and embracing one new word processing program after another, all the way through high school and to a certain degree, college. Every time I wanted to do something creative and artistic, I always looked to Apple as a source of guidance and inspiration.

For the founder of Apple, Steven Jobs, there was more to creativity than the products he invented over the years, going from the personal computer that covered the entire desk, to the one which fits in the palm of your hand and plays music, saves all kinds of things, and helps you organize your plans and thoughts thoroughly.  There is so much that has been mentioned about his rise to stardom and how he rivaled the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Thomas Edison, and the like that mentioning it again here in this column is like reinventing the wheel. Job was a thinker- an “iPhilosopher” as some have coined it- who encouraged society to be creative, take the risk, and invent and create something that may not be acceptable at first but will be popular in the long term. From a point of view of a political scientist and historian, I would call this the theory of innovation or Jobbesianism, implying that one’s creativity and innovation will have an impact on society and how people behave towards one another, even if it is not accepted at first. In other words, we should create, convince and capture in order to better ourselves and society in general. Jobs may not be the savior, like the Lord Jesus Christ, as he was portrayed holding the iPad in the May 2010 edition of the Economist magazine, but he was the person who made a difference in the lives of many through his philosophy. This goes beyond the company Apple, the computer industry, and science and technology, but for society in general.

Hearing the news of his passing this past Thursday, right before my first class of the day at the university, the response was speechless. While he may have succumbed to pancreatic cancer, the same deadliest form of cancer that has taken the lives of many stars, like Michael Landon (he was diagnosed in 1989 and died less than two years later), he left a legacy that will last for generations to come, a legacy that encourages us to be creative and take a risk at what we are doing so that in the end, win or lose, we can say that we were successful in our own ideas. To end this column, I decided to compile a few excerpts that he mentioned below for you to think about and encourage yourselves to make the best of society and be creative in what you do.  Mull over these comments and go out there and invent. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with in the end.


“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do,”  both quotes he mentioned to the Stanford University graduates in 2005.

“My job is not to be easy on people. My jobs is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” – All About Steve Jobs

“So when a good idea comes, you know, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving among that group of 100 people, get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know – just explore things.” – CNNMoney

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” – Wikiquote, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal (Summer 1993).




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