That the news was predictable doesn't make it less painful. And somehow it feels so personal.
Maybe because he was so brilliant; maybe because it's so close to all of our lives in so many ways. Not just the devices we use every day but maybe because he seemed to be the ultimate survivor -- it hits hard that even Steve Jobs was powerless against cancer.
Just a few weeks ago when he stepped down at Apple, I wished there was someone as innovative in medicine as Jobs was in technology. What he needed most, I thought, was his scientific counterpart -- the Steve Jobs of medicine.
Which points to the poignant coincidence attached to this tragedy.
A few days before Jobs died, another man died of pancreatic cancer. Also a visionary, Ralph Steinman was a medical pioneer whose discovery of dendritic cells directly led to the development of immunotherapy, what experts consider the most promising area in cancer research.
Extending the parallel was reading about Ralph Steinman -- how he was not taken seriously, scoffed at when he first presented his work. Like Jobs, he persisted in the face of failure and frustration, remaining true to himself and his ideas; ultimately dying just before learning that he had won the Nobel Prize.
It's possible that the lessons of Steinman's life can be also expressed in these quotes by Steve Jobs:
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
How ironic and poignant -- both visionaries, who died of the same disease in the same week; two men whose insights and innovations will continue changing the future they won't live to see.
As I was writing this and thinking about Steve Jobs -- I wondered if maybe there should be a Nobel Prize in technology to reflect the times. What do you think?
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