The Venomous Visionary

Driving into work, I was listening to John Markoff (on NPR) talk about Steve Jobs. It’s pretty difficult to get away from the innovator’s passing. Witnessing the stream of articles, memorials, re-tweets, and posts sprawling through the virtual landscape, it was inevitable writing about it today.  

Jobs passing reminds me that 30/40 something year olds fall into a very interesting place in technological history. He was a visionary with a relentless pursuit of improving and changing the world. He succeeded in his quest. As I think back to when we had mixtapes, used slambooks instead of Facebook and Tumblr; before Friendster, Tribe, MySpace, and Twitter, there were gargantuan mobile phones, tons of wires running along my parent’s living room floor, and dial-up. I wrote stories and played games in my grammar school computer lab using an Apple Macintosh. Growing up, Jobs along with other technologists, collectively, worked to connect the world. As an adult, it’s a bit mind-boggling to see the rapid growth and cross-pollination of the arts and technology. Much of this due to the past 30+ years of advancements in computing, programming, and people around the world innovating through connection. Jobs was definitely one of the original connectors.

Death is tragic no matter what form (yes, even the Darwin Awards make me sad but happy that the gene pool is a tad bit cleaner, it may sound awful but you know you agree) but it is the only certainty we have in life. As much as Jobs changed the face of technology and innovated change, he was also (very) human. I think most people in the tech industry find his death a bit jarring not only because of his age (56 years old is rather young) and his terminal illness but because he forged a path in a multitude of industries (i.e., music, digital media, arts, etc.) and accomplished quite a bit in his life. Yet, with the ability to be rather venomous to those that failed him (i.e., team behind MobileMe) or generous to a stranger with pancreatic cancer seeking advice from Jobs (and Jobs recommending his physician), he was, above everything, a human being. He was just like you and me.

The difference: He worked really hard and probably learned and processed from his mistakes (a lot more quickly than most). He was himself and knew what he wanted out of life.


R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Advertisements

Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos is a writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research areas and interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, networked culture, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is currently the managing editor for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Public Art Dialogue. She has lectured and spoken at the De Young museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” has been published to The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture in 2016. She serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center, and teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Digital Art and New Media department.

4 thoughts on “The Venomous Visionary”

    1. Thank you so much, Rosemary! I’m glad you looked passed the title and read the post. I know it was rather deceiving. Seriously though, Steve Jobs was just another human being (not that he wasn’t special) but he worked hard (which is what everyone ought to do in life) and whatever and whoever he was, I couldn’t possibly judge. Just happy that he’s at peace and no longer suffering.

  1. It’s nice to see a discussion of Jobs and his legacy that doesn’t eclipse his human-ness. He was a visionary leader and innovator, and also a human who made mistakes and learned from them. There is so much more to be celebrated and learned from when we talk about successes and missteps, accomplishments and failures.

    1. Yeah, seriously. I know he was an innovator, inventor, “creative genius” BUT who isn’t. All human beings have this capacity. Yet, it’s the way you harness what you possess that makes the difference. Again, very happy you looked passed the title. 🙂 Thanks again for always being a huge supporter (from blog posts to publications, thank you for being engaged!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s