Steve Jobs is dead and I feel it. When somebody important dies, I go back and look at the fragments they left behind, just to see if I missed anything. I read the Stanford graduation speech. I rolled through a Tom Junod piece in Esquire. I saw the tweets. Most of them look at what Steve Jobs did on a macro level-- that you're reading about his death on an iPhone or an iPad or something. They all say he changed everything. It's probably true.
That's not why I feel it.
I grew up on computers. I loved them. I started out at a computer camp, learning how to write programs on a TRS-80. I started messing around with BASIC. I played around on an Apple II GS in middle school. I taught myself to crudely code in C++. I created little games. I made a program that took raw statistics and printed out baseball box scores. I ran a BBS from my bedroom. I became a node on Fidonet.
At some point, I quit all that. I decided that it wasn't cool and I would rather concentrate on being popular and doing things that would make me blend in. That was the logic I acquired in high school and college: be cool first, then the real you won't be so weird. But the real me, the one that loved learning and creating and programming, got shoved into the closet while I tried to make my public persona less girl-repellent. By the time that I had the guts to be me again, I thought it was too late.
Some guys didn't care, and those are the guys who started computer companies in garages and stuck with it. Those are the guys who had a passion for something and didn't care who knew it. Those are the guys who had a vision and never wavered. The good stuff will come. It might take longer, it might take a lot of work and a lot of failure and a lot of pain and a lot of sacrifice, but it will come. They had the guts.
Could I have been Steve Jobs? Probably not. That doesn't bother me.
I think of things I'd like to do. Things I'd like to change. Things I think I could do better. If I knew more about programming, I could design a better way myself. I could sit down and figure it out. But I know I really can't do that anymore, and it makes me a bit upset for a moment, and then it passes until I get the next idea.
I can create. But I can only create so much. I can only change so much. I can only live so much. I can only leave so much behind.
That bothers me. I regret some things. But it bugs me that I regret some things. I shouldn't. It's hard not to.
Steve Jobs' story isn't about technology. It's about mortality. Death will come. When it comes to others, life has a way of telling us it's not too late to drop your regrets, have some guts, stop watching, jump in, and live.