After the news of Steve Jobs’s death earlier this month, we asked our readers how they felt about his untimely passing and the ensuing media coverage. The overwhelming majority agreed that he was a great CEO who died too young.
In a remarkable career, he helped to invent the personal computer, reinvent the way people listen to music and use their phones, and create a huge new market for tablet computers, at the same time as playing a role in the renaissance of animated movies as the owner of Pixar.
Few other CEOs are given as much individual credit for the success of the companies they lead — and none who run companies so big. Jobs had broad-ranging talents: he was intensely involved in the execution of Apple’s major projects, he was a world-class showman when it came to marketing and as a leader he was an inspirational figurehead.
Even before his death, there were some who complained that he was abrasive and demanding, and something of a bully. But few of our readers agreed with such a portrayal. After all, it is hard to imagine that anyone could build a company like Apple without ruffling any feathers.
Not all his detractors were disgruntled employees. Some consumers complained that Jobs’s controlling personality even extended to the products Apple sold, including restrictions that made it difficult for users to fill their iPhones and iPads with pirated music, movies and games. Instead, he created devices that looked great, were easy to use and worked; and people bought them in their millions. On that front, the jury is already in: Jobs knew what consumers wanted — long before most of them even knew that such things were possible.
That vision is what the world will miss most about Steve Jobs. He was a great CEO who died too young.