Both the business and technology world came to a halt last week with the announcement of the death of Steve Jobs.
He was an inspiring leader whose entrepreneurial skills will be remembered in the history of business. He was an icon for the IT industry, a truly fascinating person who gave so much to the development of technology.
It was no shock when article after article appeared in the news of both these sectors about the significant life and impact of Steve Jobs. However, what did shock me was the interest in his life from the Healthcare industry.
Nonetheless, as I read about him from a healthcare point of view it all began to make sense.
For starters, Jobs was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago and only took one leave of absence due to this.
In that seven years he has revolutionised the iPod to become the iPod touch, introduced the iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, Apple TV, Mac Mini all the while making Apple one of the most Global and profitable brands. This is remarkable for a fit and healthy person but truly incredible for someone who was living with such an awful disease.
While healthcare professionals may question whether he ever really embraced the concept of becoming a cancer survivor, he certainly made the most of his time living with the illness and will be used as medical proof that such a diagnosis does not necessarily mean immediate defeat.
The other reason for the large interest from the healthcare industry is the type of cancer that Jobs suffered from. He was among 5% of pancreatic cancer sufferers who had a ‘neuroendocrine tumour’. For most of us, this means nothing. In medical terms, to put it simply you could have 50 patients with this and see 50 different tumours with 50 different prognoses.
Adding further interest, both Novaritis and Pfizer had a treatment of drugs approved for this type of cancer earlier this year although it is not clear yet if Jobs received either of these.
After reading and acknowledging the interest from the healthcare industry in Jobs, my opinion of him has only strengthened. He will not only be remembered by the business and technology industries but across a far wider spectrum than anyone can imagine.
The Wall Street Journal, Job’s Death Focuses Attention on Rare Form of Pancreatic Cancer, October 6th 2011
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