Steve Jobs died last week. Few figures in our lifetime have had as much of an impact on the world as Jobs. His story is interesting because it's the classic American entrepreneur story, filled with success, massive failure, and success again. Under his leadership, his company redefined personal computing twice (Mac and iPad), changed what we do with phones (iPhone), forced a new model on an industry (music) and pushed for elegant and beautiful industrial design that stood out from the commodity crap in every category. We have a lot of shiny aluminum objects in our house, and we love to use them. It's no wonder that the reaction Jobs' passing is so dramatic.
I think it's important to remember that Steve Jobs was a person. His private life was so carefully hidden, despite being such a public figure. As technology enthusiasts, we often watched as the "Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field" would make the most inane thing seem awesome. In an age where big corporations are demonized, Apple has been followed and praised almost in a cult-like way. The credit goes to the guy at the top.
That person had a reputation, for sure. While I think we can objectively say that Jobs made the world better, and pushed technology forward in a way that few, if any, people could, he may not have been the nicest guy in the world in the process. His disregard for people who deliver substandard or inadequate work is legendary. Even in public, at times, he has shown disregard for people simply because he felt they had poor taste. In some ways, that might even be a bad thing, as business leaders look to his style as a way to operate a company, but without the gift of taste-making that Jobs had.
I guess the reason I have to tip my hat to the guy is that he's always had the intention of changing the world, and that's exactly what he did. To be bold enough to say that you intend to, and then do it, is not something very many people ever do. There's something very inspirational about that.