Why are we all fascinated by Da Vinci? Apart from all the conspiracy theories, it was because he brought the world of art and science together. He melded the two to make a completely new and incomparable whole, and through that process made both lines of thought more accessible to the layman. A thinking revolutionary. In my mind the only person in the 21st century who has created a similar legacy is a legend who left us yesterday – Steve jobs.
Jobs had been compared to Einstein and Edison by a lot of important men, but to me he is an icon equivalent to the extremely versatile and inimitable Da Vinci, because of his no compromise attitude. To him great technical design did not mean aesthetics and comfort had to be sacrificed. An iPhone is the modern equivalent of the drawings of the Vitruvian man, where scientific research and artistic perfection balance each other out. The activity in Leonardo’s last supper draws the eye of a five year old as easily as the interface on an iPad appeals to a preschooler.
Jobs invented products that the common man, who had no need or interest in technology (for technology sake), saw value in. He truly taught us that re-inventing the wheel is not always a bad thing, provided you can ease the burden or increase the pace of the horse cart. In contrast, he also earned the respect and awe of the pure techies, people who saw everything in the binary, and hard-core businessmen, who were all about the bottom-line. In fact, when I question whether an Apple product is successful or not, the techie always tell me “Don’t just look at Apple’s results, look at it’s 80% market share”. You can’t have that kind of hold on the market without a magician and Steve Jobs was Apple’s Merlin.
Though Da Vinci had about 10 years or more in terms of life span, both of them needed only a fraction of the time the rest of us need, to make an indelible mark on their respective worlds.
Steve Jobs truly lived each day like his last.