My friend Arin (a fellow entrepreneur) and I were talking the other day and as we were discussing Steve Jobs’ death and trying to understand why it was affecting us so much more than a regular iPhone/iPad/iPod/Mac owner, he said something that really struck a chord with me:
Steve Jobs is like Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson or any other mega super star: he made those in his field want strive to be better.
I think that’s exactly the right analogy. While a lot of people were sad at Steve’s passing, most were sad because a guy who built great products died. But for people in the startup world, like Arin and me, Steve was one of the few people in software who encouraged everyone else to be better.
So just as Michael Jordan encouraged generations of people to improve their game (regardless of whether they were high school players, college level, or even “regular” super stars in the NBA), Steve Jobs inspired everyone from Marc Benioff (a “regular” super star) to aspiring entrepreneurs to folks like me who are somewhere in between (successful startup career, but probably more like college level or maybe Earl Boykins-level).
But regardless of your level, if you were in the software startup world, Steve Jobs likely encouraged you to raise your game. Without him, that world has a lost a legend.