This week's news about Steve Jobs's health should matter even to people who've never bought an iPod or a share of Apple Inc. stock.
Lacking information about Jobs's latest illness, questions have focused on what his absence will mean for Apple. How deep is the management team that will run things while he's on medical leave? What will the impact be on a stock price that's made Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world? Are enough cool new things in the pipeline to sustain the company's spectacular financial performance?
While those are all valid issues, they miss a larger point: Love him or loathe him, Jobs is a figure of social and historic significance who has arguably had as much impact on the daily lives of global consumers as anyone you can name.
In an odd way, Apple's recent spectacular success, combined with Jobs's larger-than-life image and lightning-rod personality, have obscured just how important a force he has really been, and for how long. After all, an Inc. magazine cover proclaimed that "This Man Has Changed Business Forever" -- in 1981.
David Fuller's view I regard Steve Jobs as the greatest inventor of technology products for consumers during my lifetime to date. He has set the standard for functionality, design and user convenience.
I wish Steve Jobs well. Life for many of us would be a little less convenient and less fun without his practical genius.