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Nudged

It’s been a long day. I heard the news about Steve Jobs from Facebook and Twitter while I was still in bed in the morning. I didn’t think it’d be this soon; like John Gruber, I kept believing he’d pull through again. Not shocked, not depressed, but deeply moved by the enormity of what had been lost.

I said to someone that future generations capable of mapping time and parallel dimensions might look at their charts and see how the course of our world changed at this moment. Things are different now, for us all, than they might have been if he lived to be 90. I don’t know anyone who could doubt that.

At lunch, I bought the iPod classic I’ve been thinking about for the past week. Silver, not black. Closest to the original. I remember getting an iPod with my first Mac, an iBook, and loving it passionately as an extension of that computing experience, one that I was thrilled to take out with me each day. The music player and laptop had nothing in common from a technical point of view, but they were both imbued with the same values.

Steve’s values, or Apple’s values? The common theory is that these days, they’re indistinguishable thanks to codifying efforts by Jobs himself, but I can’t discount the value of great leadership or ignore the subtle differences present even in people who share the same values. The company he founded will continue to succeed within the trajectory they’re now on, but we’re missing a nudger now. A man who puts the rest of us on a different course as a matter of his own existence.

I didn’t want this to be a Steve-Jobs-changed-my-life post, but crossing paths with those first two instances of his work caused my own views and interests to be nudged, my trajectory recalculated. Until the maps of some time travelers fall into my lap, I can’t imagine the life I was going to have before he touched it.

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