Steve Jobs, the #ThoughtLeader

By Matt Kearney Here at Likeable Media, we hold ourselves to a set of core values, “We are driven, passionate, transparent, thought leaders.” With the recent passing of Steve Jobs, and after watching and reading the many eulogies honoring his life, it struck me how Jobs represented these core values.


Jobs never ceased to display passion in his work; his passion helped him lead his company from his parents’ garage to the 8th most valuable brand in the world. In an era where greed often consumes leaders of major corporations, Jobs’ official salary as CEO of Apple was $1 a year. After being relieved of his duties as head of the Macintosh division in 1985, Jobs did not quit on his passion; quite the opposite. He founded NeXT Computer, before famously returning to Apple in July 1996. As is so often the case, his passion proved contagious. MacWorld Conference and Expo and Apple product announcements have become among the most anticipated dates on the technology calendar, with Jobs’ keynote address showcasing his passion for the world to see. Even in failing health, Jobs was an active member of the Apple board, and remained CEO as late as August 24th of this year.


I’m not suggesting that Apple shared its technology secrets with the world, prior to product releases, and nor should it. However, his innovations have led the way in creating a world that can be more transparent. The products he has helped create have paved the way for not only individuals, but companies, large or small increase transparency and have changed the way we communicate with each other.

Thought Leader

Perhaps the quality he most clearly displayed, Jobs was truly a thought leader in all that he did. Jobs wanted to change the world, and he succeeded. He famously quoted hockey great Wayne Gretski to summarize his vision for Apple. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very very beginning. And we always will.’ Evidence of his thought leadership is apparent in the many products he helped pioneer. These products were revolutionary, and set the standard to which competitors had to aspire. Think about how the iPod and iTunes have transformed the way we listen and purchase music. Think about the way the iPhone has revolutionized the way we look at a cell-phone. Think about the way in which the iPad has shifted the way we view portable computers. Even the way we view animation has been in part as a result of Jobs’ impact as CEO of Pixar.

Jobs understood  long before most did, how important our ‘devices’ would be in the future. In a world that always requires that we stay one step ahead of the competition, just to keep up, Jobs was constantly two. He truly portrayed Likeable’s core values in his work, and has changed the world.  Perhaps it is appropriate, and a true testament of his lasting impact, that I learned of his passing on my iPhone via Twitter, as I'm sure did many others. Millions have taken to social media to express their condolences, including many of the world's most powerful and influential individuals.

Thank you, Mr. Jobs for being so…for lack of a better word…Likeable.

How has Steve Jobs' work affected your day to day life? How do you think his passing will impact Apple in the future? Let me know in the comments!