Remembering Steve Jobs, 10 Years Later
Jony Ive: Steve was preoccupied with the nature and quality of his own thinking. He expected so much of himself and worked hard to think with a rare vitality, elegance and discipline. His rigor and tenacity set a dizzyingly high bar. When he could not think satisfactorily he would complain in the same way I would complain about my knees.

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As thoughts grew into ideas, however tentative, however fragile, he recognized that this was hallowed ground. He had such a deep understanding and reverence for the creative process. He understood creating should be afforded rare respect — not only when the ideas were good or the circumstances convenient.

Ideas are fragile. If they were resolved, they would not be ideas, they would be products. It takes determined effort not to be consumed by the problems of a new idea. Problems are easy to articulate and understand, and they take the oxygen. Steve focused on the actual ideas, however partial and unlikely.

I had thought that by now there would be reassuring comfort in the memory of my best friend and creative partner, and of his extraordinary vision.

But of course not. Ten years on, he manages to evade a simple place in my memory. My understanding of him refuses to remain cozy or still. It grows and evolves.

Perhaps it is a comment on the daily roar of opinion and the ugly rush to judge, but now, above all else, I miss his singular and beautiful clarity. Beyond his ideas and vision, I miss his insight that brought order to chaos.

It has nothing to do with his legendary ability to communicate but everything to do with his obsession with simplicity, truth and purity. Steven Levy, writing at Wired: The prudent thing to do would have been to write Steve Jobs’obituary well ahead of his death. We all knew that he did not have much time. For almost a year, even while Apple stuck to the story — hoping against hope — that its cofounder and CEO would make it, the body of the world’s most iconic executive was telling a different story. It was saying goodbye, and so was he. My own farewell session had come earlier in the year, in the office he occupied on the fourth floor of One Infinite Loop, Apple’s headquarters at the time. Fellow journalist John Markoff and I had set up the meeting specifying no agenda, but all three of us knew it was about closure. It was the middle of the work day, and thousands of people were on campus, but not a single call or visitor interrupted our 90-minute conversation. As if he were already a ghost.

Despite that evidence, I could not bring myself to pre-write that obituary. Call it denial. So when I got the call late in the afternoon of October 5, 2011, that Jobs was gone, I was stunned. And I had nothing. For the next four hours, I banged away on the computer that Steve Jobs ushered into the world and told the story of his life and legacy as best I could, in all its glory and gimcrackery. In the last paragraph of the obituary I never wanted to write, I said, “The full legacy of Steve Jobs will not be sorted out for a very long time.” I think we’re still sorting it out. There will never be a leader, innovator or personality quite like him. And we’re still living in his world.

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