In Search of the Next Steve Jobs

I can hear it now, some father back in October 1931 lecturing his kid on how lucky the youth of that time had it after learning about Thomas Edison’s death.

“When I was your age we didn’t have those fancy phonographs!”

Fast-forward almost 80 years to the day of Edison’s passing, we pause and remember the death of another innovator in Steve Jobs.

I sat at my computer, a Mac no less, and scoured the Internet for more information. One of those articles appropriately described Jobs as the Thomas Edison of our day. While one of Edison’s many inventions was the phonograph, the first device to record and reproduce sound, Jobs gave us the iPod, a handheld device that revolutionized the world of music.

As we reflect on what kind of game changer Jobs was, his legacy and the future of Apple, I wonder who will be the next Steve Jobs? Edison passed away in October of 1931, some 24 years before Jobs was born. Will we have to wait that long for the next person to revolutionize the way we listen to and obtain our music and communicate with each other? Is that kid alive today, taking apart old cell phones to see how they work?

The world can only wait.

One thing is for sure, I didn’t run into the next Steve Jobs at a local hiring fair my company participated in a few days ago. People came from as far away as Dallas for this hiring fair, it was so big, with applicants lining up as early as 6:30 in the morning for the 9 a.m. start. Here’s a sampling of what we saw:

  • One applicant told us that one of her strengths was her ability to communicate. The only problem was that she failed to take the lollipop out of her mouth while doing so.
  • After asking us what each available job entailed, what we were looking for in an employee and whether we hired interns, the older woman turned to her 20-something-year-old daughter and asked, “Well, do you want me to to leave them your resume?”
  • When I asked a potential candidate about her writing skills, she replied, “I write a blog.” When I asked her what she called it, she suddenly forgot. “But you can Google me.”
  • Finally, when washing my hands in the restroom, a man who had walked from the urinal approached the available sink next to mine and instead of washing his hands, he cupped sink water in them and proceeded to take a drink. I guess he needed to whet his beak after all of that job searching.

What do these people have to do with Steve Jobs aside from some of them possibly owning an iPod? Obviously nothing. Or everything. Maybe these are the people that make us appreciate those who dare plot their own courses and change the world that much more?

When speaking to different people I knew over Jobs’ passing, many of them said that they wanted to cry, myself included. Some actually did. What intrigues me the most is that nobody knew this man nor had they read anything remotely close to something personal about him until he disclosed his pancreatic cancer roughly five years ago. People told me they wanted to cry because of all he accomplished.

I say we should have a drink to Jobs for his accomplishments. Then another. I’m thinking maybe we shed tears for the “what could have been.” If only he would have ever gotten sick. If only he would have given us 15 more years.

If only.

Meanwhile we’ll wait, and hopefully it won’t be too long.

The children’s book Night Rhythms is now available online at Amazon and BN.com and can be ordered at your nearest Barnes and Noble book store.

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