Yesterday afternoon I decided to head out for my first run since my August health scare (which turned out to be pretty much nothing). I grabbed my iPhone, and as I was putting it into my armband case a news alert popped up.

Steve Jobs is dead

I stopped. The world paused for a moment. Standing in front of my desk, I turned and opened up a web browser to read the press release from the Apple board.

It was true, and it wasn’t a surprise.

Like nearly all of you reading this, I never met Steve Jobs. Unlike most of you I was fortunate enough to get to attend his last Macworld keynote and experience the reality distortion field myself. I walked in carrying a BlackBerry. I went home with an iPhone. Call the RDF what you will, but I never regretted that decision. I have spoken with other Apple executives, but never the man himself.

My love of technology started with Apple and, to a lesser degree, Commodore. That’s when I started hacking; and by hacking I mean exploring. But I never owned an Apple. I didn’t buy my first Mac until 2005; a victim of the halo effect from the beauty of my first iPod (a third gen model). Today there are 6 or so Macs in my house, a couple iPads, a few iPhones, and various other products. Including, still, that third generation iPod I can’t seem to let go.

It doesn’t matter if you love or hate Apple – everything we do in technology today is influenced by the work of the teams Steve led. Every computer, every modern phone, and every music player is influenced more by Apple designs than by any other single source. Even the CG animated cartoons my daughter loves so much.

I used to criticize Apple. Too expensive. Too constraining. But over the course of several years I have found my own beliefs aligning with the “rules” Jobs defined. People won’t know what they want until you show them. Don’t let customers derail your vision, but be ready to move when they’re right. Design and usability are every bit as important as features – if either fails, the product fails. Remove as much as possible.

Imagine if we had a security leader as visionary as Jobs. We have many who might think they are, but no one comes close. Can you imagine Steve in a UI design meeting for nearly any security product on the market?

His death hit me harder than I expected. Because not only do we not have a Steve Jobs in security, we no longer have one at all. The entire technology world just lost the one person climbing the hills in front of us, breaking the trail, and turning back to wave and shout “follow me”.

Now we’re on our own.

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Remember, for every comment selected, Securosis makes a $25 donation to Hackers for Charity. This week’s best comment goes to Bill, in response to Nitro & Q1: SIEM/Log Management vendors dropping right and left.

Excellent analysis. Until recently, SIEM vendors were a kind of “Switzerland” with respect to third party event sources, i.e, treating them all the same for the most part. I think customers will become concerned if the big three manufacturers start favoring their own complementary security products. What do you think?