The World Loses Innovation

Steve Jobs died yesterday.  Perhaps the biggest part of his legacy is that the technology mogul showed the world what it was like to be creative.  From his first apple computer to his famous iPod ads and iPad creation, Jobs was every bit of an innovator. He was not only a creator and innovator, he was a salesman – and a damn good one too. He once said, “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”  The public waited for him to show them what they needed.  Every time a new product came out, you could find jobs on stage in his trademark black turtleneck and jeans pitching his new product to a drooling audience.  He was indeed a marketing pioneer as much as he was a technological pioneer.

Perhaps a more significant loss to humankind is the death of Ralph Steinman.  Who is Ralph Steinman?  He is this year’s Nobel Prize winner in physiology and medicine.  What did he do?  He discovered sentinel cells.  What are those?  They are stem cells that can be trained to fight cancer.  He died three days before receiving his award.

Steinman was not looking for monetary gain, but for bettering the standard of living for humankind.  He had pancreatic cancer and he prolonged his own life using his own research.  Remarkable.

When it is all said and done, I won’t be surprised if Steinman – anonymously – touches more lives than Jobs.  I also won’t be surprised if more money is made off of his ideas than from Jobs’.  Just think of what pharmaceutical companies can do with what Steinman discovered.  I saw a quote online about Steinman’s impact on the world:  “Such is the reach of a humble life in fundamental science.”

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