We knew this day was coming soon—far too soon. Still, it's so sad. I'm sure I'm not the only one in Silicon Valley who suddenly feels like everything he or she was planning to do tonight seems like it should be canceled, and the world should stop, at least for a while. Quiet groups of people are forming in front of Jobs' house—not to bother the family, who have asked that their privacy be respected, but, I think, because they feel the need to somehow connect with Jobs, and with others who are mourning him. The police are positioned, I suppose, ready to close off the street if it gets to be too much, but, so far, people are just quietly talking among themselves. I expect people will find themselves drawn to Apple Stores as well. For those of us in Silicon Valley, he was ours, and it's hard to have him go.
Goodbye Steve, I am honored to have known you, even just a little bit.
5 hours later:
Outside the Apple Store in Palo Alto, a makeshift memorial is growing, one of many around the world. I watched a woman, Wilson Farrar, place yet another bouquet of flowers, and asked her why she came. "I met him once," she said, "and I thanked him for the iPod." Tonight, she said, "I wanted to say thank you for everything he did. He appealed to the best of the human spirit. He never settled for mediocrity, his own or anyone else's. The world has lost a true hero, and there aren't many examples of that."
Those gathered outside the brightly lit store were chattering away, sharing stories of Jobs encounters or favorite anecdotes. Inside, employees followed instructions to keep on with business as usual.
A few blocks away, outside the unlit Jobs home, a larger and far quieter group stood and contemplated Jobs' image on a glowing iPad, surrounded by a large and rapidly growing carpet of flowers and notes written in sidewalk chalk. The mourning continues.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 30 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.