Following the sad news of Steve Jobs' death yesterday it was no surprise that the media was full of technology gurus listing his obvious achievements: the Apple II, Macintosh, NexTSTEP, iMac, OS X, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad. In fact when you write it in a simple list like that it is rather remarkable. It was also no surprise that the media was just as full of business and economics pundits listing his achievements. After all he did co-found the first successful PC company, guide Pixar to stardom, and bring Apple back from near bankruptcy to become the world's most valuable technology company in just 15 years. You could pick any achievement from either list and it would be significant.
Tributes left outside a London Apple store
But you know what has really surprised me? It's been the outpouring of grief, love and respect from members of the public worldwide - Apple's customers. I can think of several occasions in my life when people globally have exhibited grief at the death of a person they never knew: John Lennon, Princess Diana. Michael Jackson for example. But they were celebrities who were constantly in the media spotlight and who touched peoples' lives in very personal ways. Steve Jobs was a business man, a technologist, apart from his Apple keynote speeches he avoided publicity and yet so many worldwide are mourning. People are leaving flowers, tokens and messages outside Apple stores; I can't think of a single CEO's death that has ever been received in this way. Remarkable. RIP Steve Jobs