Steve Jobs: A Visionary
From Computer Graphics World and Post Magazine
October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: A Visionary

Some people see something and know they have to have it. Inventor/businessman Steve Jobs thought of something and knew people had to have it.
A lot can be said of Jobs. But if a person had to select just one word to describe him, it likely would be “visionary.”

Jobs founded Apple Computer in 1976 with Steve Wozniak, and together they started a revolution (remember Apple’s “1984” Super Bowl commercial?). Less than a decade later, though, Jobs was fired. Next, he started NeXT Computer (which eventually was purchased by Apple and, serendipitously, brought Jobs back to the company where it all started). Then, an evolution took hold.

Before that happened, though, Jobs would touch yet another industry. After his earlier exit from Apple, Jobs bought the Graphics Group from Lucasfilm, renaming it Pixar. After an unsuccessful run of trying to make the fledgling company into a graphics hardware developer, he tried to insert cash flow by teaming with Disney to produce movies. Beginning with Toy Story, the Pixar hits continued one after the other, the most recent being Cars 2. But Jobs’ relationship with Disney began to tarnish a decade or so later. Pixar and Disney parted ways, only to reunite less than two years later when Disney bought Pixar.

Meanwhile, Jobs brought the same enthusiasm for innovation to the content creation market. Compositors had been using Apple’s Shake for years, after the tool landed on Apple’s plate following its acquisition of Nothing Real in 2002. Soon, creators were using what became Apple’s Final Cut. At the annual NAB show, the Apple user events were akin to a revival. Users just couldn’t get enough. And each time an Apple executive or product manager would introduce a product packed with technology for an incredible price point, their words were met with wild cheers.

Final Cut was growing in popularity. And growing. In 2008, to the dismay of many, Apple did not exhibit at NAB. All eyes turned to the huge consumer business kicked off by Jobs.

Just about the time we were enjoying Monsters, Inc. at the theater, Apple—with Jobs at the helm—introduced the iPod. And iTunes. And, eventually, the iPhone, iTouch, iPad, and iCloud. As a driving force on today’s culture, one would be hard pressed to find an individual who has had a larger impact on not just one, but two, perhaps three, generations. And he was just 56 years old.

When Jobs stepped down from his post at Apple in 2004, the company marched on as its visionary focused on his health. On Oct. 4, 2011, Apple lost its most valuable asset, and the world, an innovator like none other.

Written on Apple’s site: “Apple has lost a visionary and a creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, an his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

In a statement, Pixar’s John Lasseter and Ed Catmull said: “Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend, and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply ‘make it great.’ He is why Pixar turned out the way we did, and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger provided this statement: “Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an ‘original,’ with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend.”

George Lucas: “The magic of Steve was that while others simply accepted the status quo, he saw the true potential in everything he touched and never compromised on that vision. He leaves behind an incredible family and a legacy that will continue to speak to people for years to come.”  

Elsewhere across the industry, others recalled his creative genius.

Red Giant: “Yesterday, the world lost one of its greatest innovators. When we heard that Steve Jobs passed away, none of us at Red Giant were unaffected. We all took time to reflect on the impact he left on the world and on each of us individually. Steve literally changed the way we communicate with each other and how we interact with technology. He also created a new standard in storytelling and branding—showing the world that communicating the benefits of a product is as important as designing them well.”

AMD: "A true visionary, Steve Jobs changed the way people relate to technology. His passion built a company AMD is honored to work with, and he was a catalyst for transforming both personal computing and entertainment."

Marc Petit, Autodesk: “Steve Jobs truly changed our industry, not only in terms of Apple products, but also as the founder of Pixar studios. He demonstrated patience and vision in building a studio that would ultimately set the bar for animation and storytelling. Toy Story inspired many people to believe in the animation art form. The tools and software that we make today at Autodesk Media & Entertainment, combined with Pixar’s technology, will continue to bring innovative movies, like Jurassic Park and Avatar, to life. Steve has set a very high bar the future.”

Adobe: “Steve was a unique visionary, and his influence as a technology innovator will be sorely missed. This is a sad day for the entire industry, and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family.”

John Warnock and Chuck Geschke, Adobe co-founders and co-chairmen of the board: “We met Steve Jobs about three months after we started Adobe. He called us and said, ‘I hear you guys are doing great things—can we meet?’ He came over to our tiny office in Mountain View and saw the early stages of PostScript. He got the concept immediately, and we started about five months of negotiations over our first contract. Apple invested $2.5 million into Adobe and gave us an advance on royalties. This allowed us to help Apple build the first LaserWriter. Without Steve’s vision and incredible willingness to take risk, Adobe would not be what it is today. We owe an enormous debt to Steve and his vision. We have always had great admiration and respect for Steve. The world is a better place because of him, and his absence will leave a huge hole in the world of technology. We will miss him greatly.”

Rob Powers, NewTek: “Steve Jobs represented the perfect balance of art, technology, and creative business innovation. But it was his absolute passion for every single project and product, which ultimately energized his teams and as a result sparked the imagination of the world. Technology exists to empower the artists, writers, and thinkers, and Steve understood this at his very core. That idea is what has fueled my entire career in visual effects, animation, and now software development. Technology serves the artist. He will be missed dearly.”

Paul Babb, Maxon: “Over the years, Apple and Steve Jobs have always been a part of my professional life—when I worked in advertising, design, and freelance marketing—and even more so over the last 18 years as a software developer. His successful pursuit of innovation, quality, and excellence meant that, as a software developer for his platform, we always had to be on our toes. Developing products for the Mac under his leadership was sometimes frustrating, most times challenging, but ALWAYS rewarding.”

Johnnie Semerad, QuietMan: “Steve will be remembered as the Edison of our time. He knew we needed the iPad even before we knew we needed it.”

Steve Jobs revolutionized our world. The way we work. The way we play. The way we communicate. And through this work, his spirit will live on for generations more.