It was sad to hear the news that Steve Jobs was to resign his position as CEO of Apple. Of course, we all knew of his health problems but hoped he would fully recover.

I suspect as a man he wasn’t that easy to work with. One got glimpses of arrogance and certainly he didn’t mind stepping on toes when an Apple development did not meet his expectations.

But he is a true visionary. His first Apple computers were, for those days, far more user friendly than anything else on the market. When he was ousted from Apple, he came up with NeXT, and showed us that computer cases could be black as well as grey. When he returned to Apple, I bought the blue semi-transparent Apple Mac because it looked so great.

It wasn’t the invention of new technologies that took Apple to being briefly the world’s most valuable company (Exxon regained the honour quickly). Nokia developed the smartphone earlier than Apple. Even our Singapore-based Creative Technologies had an excellent MP3 Player before the iPod was launched. I can certainly remember Microsoft or HP having a tablet long before the iPad hit our consciousness (I think that was way back in 2001 or 2002).

Jobs didn’t begin his product development by asking the consumers what they wanted. They didn’t know until he built it! However, he did start with ease of use as his benchmark. This was combined with a natural appreciation of product design. What makes Steve Jobs a genius is that he instinctively knows how to make products that are “cool”. The product design is superior to the competitors every time.

Jobs has style and it shows in everything Apple produces. One just has to have the next striking product coming out of the Silicon Valley HQ!

I teach presentation skills to companies and I use a Steve Jobs presentation as a good example. Jobs always launches new products with a major presentation. He uses minimal power-point slides, and simply stands on an empty stage, and with great showmanship, launches his latest gadget.

He is fond of throwing in an extra at these events. “And one other thing…” is a favourite phrase.

Will Apple have “one other thing” as Steve leaves the company stage? I fear not. Men like Steve Jobs are few and far between. Will the technicians and marketing men listen to his successor? Will the new CEO even have the breadth of vision of the man in black turtleneck and jeans? Can Apple still keep ahead of the game?

His vision has changed the way we interact with computers, listen to music and use the mobile phone. We love the iPad even if we are not certain of its real value!

I’ve never met Steve Jobs. But I am happy to have shared the planet with a creative genius like him. Goodbye, Steve.

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