Steve’s Legacy Redux

October 9, 2011  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

I have learned a few things in the days since Steve Jobs passed.  First, I really wish I could write like John Gruber, Walter Isaccson, and others.

Second, I have learned just how many people had strong feelings for Steve’s contribution to society, myself and my wife included.  There was just something wholly magical and grand about Steve, but deeply human and flawed at the same time.

Third, I have come to realize just how generous Steve Jobs was of himself.  Some have tried to paint Steve as uncharitable.  His decision to end Apple’s charitable giving when he returned as CEO and failure to sign the Bill Gates Giving Pledge are often cited.

But consider this.  Steve Jobs had surgery to remove his pancreatic cancer in 2004.  He had to know then that the odds were stacked against him.  Only 4% of pancreatic cancer patients live even 5 years.  And half of pancreatic cancer patients don’t even live 5 months.

No one would have blamed Steve Jobs if he had just walked away after his diagnosis.  He was already fabulously wealthy.  Fortunate ranked him as the 74th richest American in 2004 with a net worth of $2.6 billion.  Far behind Bill Gates at $48 billion.  But more than enough for Steve to spend his remaining days in quiet solitude with his family.

Instead, Steve Jobs gave us seven more years of his brilliance and drive.  He set out to change the world:  iTunes, iPhone, iPad, Mac as a real option, and who knows what else in the pipeline.  We’ll probably never know how much Steve gave personally to charity.  And frankly, I don’t care.  Steve gave of himself, at a time when he truly didn’t need to and when many others would have stepped down.

Steve, your charity won’t be forgotten.  How can it?  You changed the world.

Leave a Reply