I owe a lot to Steve Jobs. My family got an Apple IIc computer when I was in the 1st grade (thanks Mom and Dad!) and it defined my entire career. I was an early card-carrying member of the cult of Apple. It wasn’t just about being cool or different. There are hundreds of tangible reasons why that platform was and is superior. Not just for artists, but for everyone. An evangelist was born.
In the 2nd grade, my 1st grade teacher came to get me out of class to help her “fix” her Apple IIe. Remember those guys with the green and black monitors? Turns out she just didn’t have the monitor on, but I found it remarkable that she came to me rather than any other adult in the school.
That was my first consulting gig.
I often don’t write about “big news” since I figure everyone is doing it and the world probably doesn’t need one more blog post. But in this case, this isn’t just news. This is the end of an era.
But it’s not all sadness. Steve’s legacy is so strong, inspiring, and lasting that his untimely passing also marks the beginning of a new era — for Apple and all technology companies and geeks.
We’ve seen social media take hold in the past few years, and I believe we have yet to realize the true potential of that technology. In its infant state of exploration, experimentation and fundamental learning, social media remain anyone’s game.
Apple fueled the growth of new technologies such as social media by exploding the potential of open mobile app distribution. I clamor to ideas like this — philosophies, frameworks, and factories working together to empower everyone and level the playing field.
At the center of all this was Steve, whose singular vision and demanding standards merged artistry and technology into some of the most empowering devices and software ever created.
Being a life-long Apple fanatic means I’ve been there in good times and bad. I saw Steve get booted from Apple, and then triumphantly return to save the company from disappearing altogether. I painfully tried to help my college buddies with their late-90’s Mac’s that just weren’t very well-built.
When the Mac came about in 1984, I became mesmerized by desktop publishing and later PageMaker. The Mac made that world possible at the time, and once again I found it easy to dazzle people by doing what I enjoyed most – using the things that came out of Steve’s mind to solve problems and create.
This lead me to pursue journalism through high school and college. I was also an Apple Student Rep at Northwestern, which is the only time I received a paycheck from Apple. While I didn’t specifically pursue journalism as a career, my life has led me along the path of the new journalism in the form of social media and communication technologies. I apply these lessons on behalf of my company and clients every day.
And yes, I still use a Mac. Now I have several. I feel like much of the world has come to understand what I’ve known all my life. Vision like this is rare and deserves to be revered.
Steve would be the first to tell you that his path was not without mistakes. Whose life isn’t? But his journey is an extraordinary one worthy of reflection. He had a unique way of bringing teams of varied talent together to create something profound around a singular vision. It’s no surprise that Pixar is one of most successful film studios and business success stories in any industry.
Five years ago, who would have thought that thousands of executives would be walking around with an Apple logo on their phones?
If you’ve never seen it, take a few minutes to watch Steve Jobs’ address to Stanford graduates in 2005. These words continue to inspire me.
Thanks Steve for all you’ve given me and the world. We’ll never forget what you did and we’ll do our very best to carry your torch of innovation.
I was going through some old Apple memorabilia (yes, I have a lot of it), and found this photo of the rock we painted at Northwestern University in April 1997 before they changed to a single color logo. We made the student newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, the next day. However, the article was titled “Macintosh Misery” due to our decision to create hopeful art during a dark chapter in Apple’s life. Steve’s return and recovery of the company shortly thereafter thankfully make these mere anecdotes of history.
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