He was a unique amalgam of rare properties, combining the design genius of a Frank Lloyd Wright with the marketing savvy of a Lee Iacocca. Of the Jobs quotations that have been sloshing around the online world for the last 18 hours the one that goes to the heart of his brilliance is this:
"In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains, of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service."Looking at the phenomenon that is Apple, after sloughing off the non-essential, it is all about product design. In the beginning was the design and from the design all good things flowed. The designs are perfect, with nothing lacking that is needed and nothing present that is not necessary. They are like Hemingway's prose, like the music of Mozart, like a Frank Lloyd Wright house. That was Steve Jobs' genius that he could so order life that such glorious artifacts emerged as a matter of course.
He did not save lives through his work, nor feed the hungry nor cure the sick. But through his art he taught us how to make our interaction with a technology-intensive world richer and more productive. For that he will long be remembered and honored. And his like will not be seen again in our time.