Chicago’s Tech Community Remembers Steve Jobs

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Apple Computers luminary Steve Jobs died Wednesday leaving a tremendous void in the technology world -- and the regular one, of course.

It would be redundant to list off all the ways he's shaped the world we're living in today. So, instead, we sampled some of the Chicago area's tech and thought leaders to get their insights on Jobs and how losing him impacts things going forward. Locally and globally.

Howard Tullman, Flashpoint Academy, CEO and President

I first met Steve in 1991 and then we reconnected more frequently in the mid-'90s when I ran If I learned one thing from him, it was that people who say "it's just business" are full of it. Everything you do with a passion and a true commitment is personal and every loss or disappointment stays with you for 10 times longer than any wins or triumphs. Steve took everything personally.

He was a very angry guy for a very long time (even with all his Zen and yoga and healthy eating) and that anger drove him more directly and aggressively than even his love of clean and beautiful design.  Steve was never upset or angry with honest failures - that was part of the process and he knew that - but he hated lack of effort or people who gave up too soon. His anger though (a lot of which was actually with himself) came from the frustration he felt for many years (several different times) that he was unable to convince the "powers that be" at the time of his vision (whatever it then was) and of the truth of his ideas even though they were so painfully clear to him. He thought he was a great communicator and yet he couldn't reach and convince some of the most important and powerful decision-makers to adopt his suggestions. Eventually he just decided to go it alone and to go around these "gatekeepers" to take his case directly to the consumer public. The results speak for themselves.

If I had to write something for his tombstone, it would be what I always say: We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.

Jack Nickell, Threadless, Founder

As I sit here reading and remembering all that he has done, I can't help but get inspired by the example that Steve Jobs has set throughout his career as an entrepreneur. The wisdom that he has left us will no doubt lead many others to "be crazy enough to think they can change the world."

Kerry J. Ganofsky, High Voltage Software, CEO and Owner

Steve's untimely passing is something that has reverberated throughout our industry and his inspirational creativity will be sorely missed. The work that Steve pioneered with the iPhone really became the benchmark in user interface design which we use every day.

Randal Cross, Ethervision, President

Steve's passing will create a large ripple effect both on the entire Chicago technical community and with individuals and companies around the world.  Apple people will continue to use Apple products, but we will also see a new wave of customers coming over from the PC world if only to experience first hand, the genius that Steve Jobs was.

Kyle Borchardt, Webtab, Account Executive

My understanding is that Jobs has been on leave from Apple for almost a year, so I'm not sure there will be a significant impact on the tech scene here in Chicago.  Apple's products have only gotten better over the last few years. Our users are evenly split between iPhones and Droids. So, as long as Apple continues to make great technology, we should continue to see great user growth and adoption of our apps for use in the hospitality space here in Chicago.

Alex Wilhelm, The Next Web and Inc. Well Contributor

I would say that a great number of this city's entrepreneurs looked up to Steve, and have always drawn inspiration from him. His loss is both a disappointment, but also a clarion call to carry on what might be called his work, to build amazing, inspiring things that push the mold.

Brad Spirrison, Appolicious and Inc. Well Contributor

From computers, to music to phones to tablet computers, Steve Jobs imagined markets that did not previous exist and defined them for years, decades and generations. Among his most impressive accomplishments, however, is the unprecedented success of the iTunes App Store. 

Recall that the business/financial world was about to teeter when the App Store launched in July 2008. While markets flamed, the App Store grew from nothing to a multi-billion dollar industry. This is not only a financial boon for Apple, but for the tens of thousands of developers, entrepreneurs, agencies and creative professionals who are benefiting from the mobile application phenomenon. 

Locally, companies ranging from in-game advertising platform Tap.Me, to pioneering iPhone and iPad app developer Ethervision, to (shameless plug) mobile app discovery network Appolicious would not exist if not for the App Store and the vision of Steve.

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