If you Google "Steve Jobs" you see images of him on stage holding an iPhone or iPad. There are a long list of links to media articles containing his pronouncements.
In short, Steve Jobs is a media phenomenon.
His announcement that he is standing down has shocked but not surprised an industry his beloved Apple leads. How his departure will affect Apple is unclear, but his departure is a big loss to the communications industry.
Steve is the ultimate showman. He's a masterful orator able to express his vision in ways that excite and motivate, but his quick wit has the timing of a top comedian. His ability to communicate matches his enormous intellect, which is a rare talent.
So many of the great minds in the world struggle to get their message across. Not only can Steve get his message across, but he also grasps what few CEOs do. Namely that you should only communicate when you have something to say. He never talks for the sake of talking. That style has pervaded Apple's communications.
Do any analysis on Apple and you quickly realize how much it controls its communications. It only talks when it thinks it should, letting others fill the gaps for it. Indeed, its secrecy and tight-lipped approach has spawned a raft of rumor sites.
No other company has this level of third-party support. This is all Steve's doing. But, in reality, this approach is just another aspect of the way he runs the company. Steve has made it clear through various speeches that if you follow your dreams and put all your energy into them you will succeed. He is The American Dream in that regard. The difference is he has truly lived that philosophy and PR is all the better for it.
Steve taught us that your communications has to match your passion for the business - and vice versa. I doubt there's a CEO out there who hasn't watched a Steve Jobs speech without envy. They envy his love of what he's talking about.
I recently watched him talk to the Cupertino City Council about the new Apple HQ. He was as passionate about that building as he was about the iPad. That passion is contagious, but it's also real. It cannot be applied like lipstick.
Steve's legacy to our industry is the clarity, simplicity and focus he has applied to communications. We used to act as Apple's PR agency and we know he was as demanding of his PR as he was of his engineers. In other words, PR was not an afterthought.
Tim Dyson is CEO of Next Fifteen Communications Group.