Steve Jobs had an uncanny, almost prescient ability to see around corners. No matter how you feel about Apple and its CEO, one thing is absolutely clear: this was a man whose imagination brought urgency to products that customers never realized they needed. He knew exactly how to turn a microchip into a new way to live, creating clever devices that, almost overnight, we couldn’t imagine living without.

If you think about it, it’s a strange notion: that glass and aluminum and silicon can turn into an object that we, as consumers, come to love. But time and again, Steve Jobs did just that, bucking analysts’ forecasts and winning the hearts of users all over the world.

How did he do it? No doubt, Apple’s signature products are intuitive and elegant, but lots of companies make beautiful machines. Did he know his customers so well that he could foresee the objects we’d aspire to own? Or was it because no matter how large Apple became, customers saw the upstart entrepreneur behind the enterprise? Did Apple earn loyalty because a charismatic Steve Jobs made it so easy to see the personality—and the passion—behind every decision?

Of all Steve Jobs’ innovations, maybe his biggest legacy was this profound realization: at its core, a successful company is primarily and remarkably human. What do you think?