The outpouring of emotion and great writing over the passing of Steve Jobs has been remarkable. As Randy Murray so eloquently put it, “He changed the trajectory of modern life and reshaped the entire future.” The feeling has been fairly universal, with an outpouring of emotion from geeks and the normal folk you wouldn’t expect to care or even realize what he created.
That said, it seems foolish to wait for the passing of those who have made an impact on our lives to say thank you, to acknowledge these strangers who shape our lives. And while Steve is clearly a universal loss, chances are that each and every one of us have someone who is likely lesser known, but who has directly changed the trajectory of our own life.
Anyone who has read this site for more than a week (yep, even this week) can probably figure that mine is Merlin Mann. That things like Inbox Zero, Time & Attention, Obsession x Voice, both of his Mac Power User episodes and his weekly Back to Work podcast have done more than help me find a framework for getting my shit straight. His work has encouraged me to really figure out what matters, to “make the time to be scared of more interesting things,” to attempt and to do more.
Merlin, chances are you’ll never read this, but thank you. You give an ADHD mess such as myself both hope and a path forward (strange as it may be).
As for the rest of you, a simple question: who is your own personal Steve Jobs? Who is the person you’ve never met (and probably never will) who somehow managed to change your life?