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Where technology met humanity: Remembering Steve Jobs

06 OCTOBER 2011

In 1976, a California college dropout started a small business in a spare room at his home.

By his death on October 5, 2011 that company, Apple, was worth $75.18 bn and its founder, Steve Jobs, could claim to have touched the lives of nearly everyone on the planet, including celebrities and leaders such as Barack Obama who were quick to pay tribute to him.

"Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it," said the US leader.

The tech wizard passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.




The rise-to-riches story behind Steve and Apple, is one that no one could have ever imagined.

From those modest beginnings, the company grew quickly and Steve head-hunted his chosen CEO, John Sculley, from Pepsi with a quote that will be his lasting legacy:

"Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?"

And change the world he did. Apple went on to become one of the most successful, innovative and recognisable brands in the world.

It represented, youth, creativity and cutting-edge design.

Steve, meanwhile, became one of the richest and most respected pioneers on the globe, with a net worth estimated by Forbes in 2010 to be in the region of $3.8 billion.



The key to Steve’s success was his talent to bring technology and humanity together.

At technology conferences, his keynote addresses, the so-called 'Stevenote', would have journalists gripped as he unveiled Apple's latest inventions.

And his know-how was the inspiration for the current generation of Silicone Valley leaders, like Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who has described him as “a mentor and a friend”.

"Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you," he said in a statement.

Yet he was just as skilled at inspiring people outside his industry, and the news of his death has moved everyone from Ashton Kutcher to Kylie Minogue.

The pop star tweeted: “From my Mac to all Lovers.....RIP Steve Jobs”.

Meanwhile, Ashton quoted the founder himself on his twitter page, saying: "Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works."

Away from his professional persona, Steve Jobs the man was quietly, but undoubtedly, just as fascinating.

He was given up for adoption as a baby, later studied Buddhism, and confessed to having a daughter out of wedlock. She was born when he was 23, but it took him almost ten years before he recognised her. 



Steve met his wife, Laurene Powell, when she admired him from the front row of one of his passionate speeches.

Starting the car to drive away, he recalled later, he asked himself did he want to be in a meeting or having dinner with her.

He ran back to ask her on a date that led to a 20-year marriage and three more children. 

Despite his colourful private life, his legacy is and will always be Apple, that little company which started out in a garage and changed the way we live – just as he knew it would.

How big a part do Apple’s products play in your life? Write in and let us know just how much you rely on your iPad, iPhone or iPod.

Steve Jobs' greatest 'bits'

  • 1955: Born on February 24
  • 1976: Founds Apple after dropping out of college
  • 1977: Apple II, the first personal computer to generate color graphics, is unveiled. Revenue reaches $1 million
  • 1980: Apple goes public, raising $110 million in one of the biggest initial public offerings to date
  • 1984: The first Macintosh computer goes on sale
  • 1985: Founder Steve resigns from Apple
  • 1986: Starts Next Inc., a new computer company making high-end machines for universities. He also buys Pixar from "Star Wars" creator George Lucas for $10 million
  • 1995: Pixar's Toy Story, the first commercial computer-animated feature, hits theaters. Pixar goes to Wall Street with an IPO that raises $140 million
  • 1997: Steve returns to Apple
  • 2001: First iPod goes on sale
  • 2003: Apple launches the iTunes Music Store with 200,000 songs at 99 cents each, giving people a convenient way to buy music legally online. It sells 1 million songs in the first week
  • 2004: He undergoes surgery for a rare but curable form of pancreatic cancer. Apple discloses his illness after the fact
  • 2005: Apple expands the iPod line with the tiny Nano and an iPod that can play video
  • 2007: Crowds camp overnight at stores to be one of the first to own the iPhone
  • 2010: Apple sells 15 million of its newest gadget, the iPad, in nine months
  • 2011: He dies at 56. Apple announces his death without giving a specific cause