There is a special place in history for personalities who didn’t die of old age. These people continue to cast a shadow on the world long after they died, not just because of what they did while they were alive, but because even when they are not around, they still get people to wonder how things could be different.

These people inspire not just the indicative (what they have done) but also the subjunctive (what would they have done?).

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman… They all continue to haunt our thoughts. Just last week, I was wondering what Feynman would have thought of CERN scientists breaking the speed of light. I’m sure it would have been inspirational, modest and full of insight. And who knows, maybe this breakthrough would have happened earlier if Feynman were still alive?

Steve Jobs joins this very select club. Of course, innovation will keep happening and awesome products will keep shipping, but each of them will be overlooked by Jobs’ aura. Would Steve Jobs have done it differently? How much of this product was influenced by Jobs, explicitly or implicitly?

Steve Jobs isn’t done changing the tech landscape and the way we view products, he’s just no longer around to see the results of his work.

Still… What a sad, sad day.