Where to begin?
While my first "hands on" computer experience was NOT at an Apple (an IMSAI 8080 and a time shared DEC PDP-10... seriously), I can honestly say that my life and later career were inexorably and irrevocably changed because of Apple computer.
I respected Jobs, and was there at Apple when, while we were pouring over the signs and portents that seemed to lead to BeOS being the next Mac OS, when Gil Amelio announced Steve's return. Despite the same board that ousted him in the first place still pretty much as it was, despite all common sense, I knew immediately that he would be in complete control of Apple again.
I was there in Boston when the torches and pitchforks came out (at least in spirit) as that Big Brother-like big screen flashed none other than Bill Gates to announce what many thought was the end... and even then, I knew Steve had pulled off one of the most brilliant hat-tricks in business history -- he got a RIVAL to help save the company.
It all seems so freaking obvious in hindsight, doesn't it? I didn't know how he was going to pull it off -- I just knew he would. He had already taken a 15 million purchase of Pixar and had turned it into a entertainment power house. Every step of the way people predicted his failure, doom, and destruction. And, missteps or no, here we are.
It was a brief pinnacle, but when Apple passed Exxon/Mobile as the world's largest company in terms of Market cap... well, if you were going to go out, wouldn't YOU want to go out at the top? WIth your hand-picked teams of designers, and with someone who truly shared your vision as CEO? Your company confusing and confounding competitors desperately trying to grok what you were doing, much less replicate it?
He knew his time was limited the millisecond they told him he would need organ transplants. He's planned his exit as intensely as he's done everything else, and regardless of how much time he has left, he'll likely be an influence at Apple until his last breath... and beyond.
And god, goddess, or whatever deity will great us after that moment will likely look him right in the eye and say "...one more thing".
Thank you, Steve. You scared the hell out of me once, but I always respected you.