I was at an event on Wall Street on the floor of the exchange to celebrate some of the top NYC startups. I thought it was pretty cool, I’d never been on the floor of the exchange before. There was a surreal feeling to the whole night and I started to feel glimpses of it at the event that would continue throughout the night. At first I just figured it was the celebration and all the brainpower around me. The connectivity, the innovation, the sense of community that had become the NYC startup scene, all at the center of the financial universe. Pretty cool and certainly worthy of a feeling of slight surrealness.
I walked outside to the focal point of the global financial markets right into the Occupy Wall Street protest. The surreal feeling continued, but again, it felt understandably so. The energy, the cause, the connectivity, the sense of community all created a certain spectacle and feeling that anyone would feel regardless of your political affiliation. This movement was amazing, but I think for reasons that people often don’t talk enough about. The organization was impeccable. The timing, the communication, the ability to mobilize in so many places so fast, this to me was unparalleled. All made possible by the power of digital and social media. This was a protest that, for all intensive purposes, started on Twitter and was only made possible primarily through a platform that connected people online. I’m not sure the social and political impact of a digital platform had ever been so prolific and later it would prove to be an unprecedented asset in the protests of the Arab Spring.
So I continued to walk up Broadway from the Financial District towards Soho, inspired by all the thoughts in my head from the events I had experienced in the previous hour. The surreal feeling continued and I just chalked it up to another interesting New York City night that could only happen here. And naturally, like any smart phone carrying millennial I decided to check Twitter via my iPhone.
Right then and there that surreal feeling completely took me over. I stopped for a second and just thought to myself.
Holy sh*t. Steve Jobs is dead.
The only thing racing faster than my heart was all of the thoughts in my head. I was sad, but I wasn’t entirely sure why other than it seemed like a natural feeling. But as I continued to think about it I realized it wasn’t just the sadness, it was shock. And it was all related to my initial thought.
Holy sh*t. Steve Jobs is dead.
I realized as I sorted through my thoughts that the shock ensued because Steve Jobs was dead. But Steve Jobs can’t die. Herein lies the rub. How can Steve Jobs be dead if Steve Jobs can’t die?
And at that moment I finally understood the meaning of mortality. Steve Jobs was the smartest, coolest, most innovative icon of our time. He was also one of the wealthiest. We knew he was sick but he was Steve Jobs. Wasn’t it just assumed that he would get better? Steve Jobs can’t die. Of all the people in the world and all the factors considered, I thought Steve Jobs was immortal. But Steve Jobs just died. Which means he’s not immortal. Which means if Steve Jobs isn’t immortal none of us are. We really are mortal and that realization sucks.
I got home and was in a state of borderline shock. I spoke with our Content Director at StyleCaster at the time and she asked if I wanted to write about my thoughts. It was the first time I had ever written in a really public forum. I was reluctant at first, but eventually was overcome by this sense of duty to honor the icon that so many of us admired.
So I went to my bookshelf and took out Inside Steve’s Brain, one of my favorite biographies. And I just started to sort through my thoughts as I shuffled through the dog-eared pages of my favorite parts.
The surreal feeling continued yet now I knew why. But that only opened the door to more thoughts of why I felt so connected, so emotional about someone I never knew.
What I realized is that we all were connected to Steve Jobs because Steve Jobs connected all of us to one another. Without Steve Jobs I wouldn’t be typing this the way I am. Without Steve Jobs that Occupy Wall Street protest I walked through never would have unfolded the way it did. Without Steve Jobs that celebration of startups on the floor of the exchange probably would have been a lot different.
So that night I wrote a “blog post” for the first time and it made me think about maybe doing it more often. I wasn’t sure how often I would feel this inspired, but I realized it started happening more often than I expected. And with that, for the first time I actually thought seriously about starting a blog (or in my mind a diary that the whole world can read).
There are a ton of people and stories that inspired the idea of finally doing this. But two of the greatest sources of inspirations for me in this endeavor are the two greatest entrepreneurs that have ever lived. One that I just talked about and the other that I won’t speak about much here, but undoubtedly is the greatest of all time.
Something about the thought of them, something about their genius, something about the “ding they put in the universe” sparked this whole thing for me. Maybe it’s that like any great actor, ball player, or entertainer they put themselves out there and set fear aside as they constantly tackled new endeavors.
So here I am, inspired to try something new, like sitting in a calligraphy class for no apparent reason other than to try something I have always been interested in. And for that I am forever grateful for these two and the many others who have inspired me to try something new.