A mere few days have passed since the news came in, and I thought it would be fitting to collect together some thoughts from a few of the AppStorm editors. This is simply our tribute to a truly inspirational man.
I’ve loved Macs for almost as long as I can remember. The last Windows machine I used thoroughly ran Windows 3.1. Back then owning a Mac didn’t make you fit in with the crowd like it does today. It was a rebellious act, a way to set yourself apart from mainstream computing nerds. The Mac culture was one of pride, creativity and undeniably accurate stereotypes that would later give birth to the “I’m a Mac” campaign. Mac users were the guys wearing jeans and running graphics software while the rest of the world was excited about spreadsheets.
When I was very young, I never considered myself to be very creative. I couldn’t draw, paint, sculpt, sing or do anything else that defines a “creative person.” I always felt like I should be good at these things but they were constantly more points of low self esteem than bragging material. However, when I started using a Mac, something changed. The palpable creative culture surrounding these machines sucked me in. I identified with the core ideas of this movement more than I could’ve imagined and eventually found my personal identity changing. I was a Mac user. I appreciated good design and sought balance between aesthetics and function. It turns out there was a graphic designer in me that I had no idea existed. Today I live and breathe design both on a professional and personal level.
Steve Jobs was/is the personification of all of this culture, all of these idea, indeed of everything I found myself wanting to be. He was the boldest of entrepreneurs while remaining a sharp contrast to the boring, uptight business men that were indicative of the professional world. My first ever college essay was on Steve Jobs. I watched his presentations before speech class to emulate his ease and finesse. I got a degree in business so I could study iconic leaders, Jobs never moving from the top of that list. As a professional graphic designer, I looked to his company for visual inspiration. The first writing job I landed literally led to me writing about Jobs for a living.
There are thousands that can say that they wouldn’t be where they are today if not for Steve Jobs. For me this is not hyperbole or baseless celebrity worship, it is a fact. I have based my entire career and much of my personal identity on this corporate giant and creative prophet. It saddens me immensely that I will never shake his hand. Despite never even coming within miles of the man, I will miss him greatly. Goodbye Steve, as you slip into eternity for “one more thing,” I hope and pray that it is the greatest of all your endeavors.
I found out that Steve Jobs had passed when I received a text message on my iPhone from first my mother, then my father on my iPhone. I went to the web to try to find confirmation and once it appeared on CNN, I slumped down onto the couch, not sure how to process the news. Today, I’m deeply connected to the Apple ecosystem and everything it encompasses, but it wasn’t always that way.
One of the favorite stories my wife likes to tell is about how I bought my first iPod. All of my friends were getting them, but back then the iPod Photo I wanted was really expensive and I just couldn’t make up my mind. I remember bringing it up almost daily, and apparently I was more than a bit irritating in the process. Finally, after six months of debate she just yells, “Buy the damn thing already!” And I did. Although it doesn’t hold a charge for very long, it still works today just fine.
But my first Mac purchase of my own was when Apple made the move to Intel. I decided that I was tired of dealing with all of the problems in Windows, and since all of my photographer friends were singing the praises of Apple, I might as well give it a shot. I bought a 13-inch white MacBook with an Intel Core Duo processor, and just about a week later the same model was upgraded to an Intel Core 2 Duo. I was really upset, but after a quick call to the store, I took it back and exchanged it for the upgraded model, no questions asked. It was probably that moment where I was so taken care of by the Apple employees and the high level of customer service that I really started to love the company.
Today, I own quite a few Apple products, and tomorrow I’ll be making another purchase as well. All of this is because of Steve Jobs and his vision of the future. His contributions have put food on my family’s table, yes, but they’ve also changed the way we all do things every day. I often tell my friends that I feel like I’m “living in the future,” and that wouldn’t be possible without Steve and how he turned his dreams into reality.
It’s funny, but as I’m typing this I realize that as a pseudo-journalist and writer, the correct way to refer to Steve Jobs is as his full name on first reference, and his last name from there out. But while writing it, it makes more sense to refer to him as Steve because I think of him more like a friend. That’s ridiculous — I never met him, stood near him and I doubt we ever were in the same zip code — but because of what he’s done for my life, he’s my friend. And you don’t refer to friends by just their last name.
I’m really going to miss Steve and what he’s done to improve my life, but I think I’m the most sad that my son won’t get to see what Steve could have done.
It’s funny, but my son has never known a phone other than an iPhone, and we use FaceTime with him frequently. Last night he was playing with this little laptop computer toy that someone bought him, and he kept trying to touch the screen to make it do something, just like he would with an iPhone. He’s only 18 months old.
I can’t think of a much better tribute to Steve than that. Farewell, friend.
The sheer volume of appreciation that has been poured out over the last few days is staggering. While it’s certainly not unexpected, it is truly amazing that so much gratitude has been lavished upon a man whose most prominent role was as CEO of a technology company. There’s a reason for this.
Apple is what it is because of Steve Jobs. There are no two ways about it. The innovation that has come from the company in the last decade since his return has, and is continuing to, reshape the way we live. It’s immensely sad that we should lose such a creator in the prime of his most artistic period.
It think that’s what hits home hardest, that we’ll never know what the next twenty years would have looked like with Steve Jobs around – there’s a definite and real sense of loss. I find his example profoundly challenging, as he seemed to be a man who was intent on pursuing creativity and perfection, and who invoked, inspired, and simultaneously demanded the best in those around him; evidenced by his early and fervent support of the company that went on to become Pixar.
We need not be concerned about Apple. He has left it in the safest of hands, and cultured an attitude of innovation that won’t easily fade. His legacy is one of true invention, but also of impassioned leadership and tenacity. This leaves us with the question of what we can take from this?
The imitation of his passion for design and technology is, and has never been, the point; the message he wanted to convey, and that Apple was founded upon, was one of being wholly and completely yourself, utterly committed to your life and aspirations. John Lilly sums it up perfectly in his fascinating article on Steve, when he says:
Be yourself and work as hard as you can to bring wonderful things into the world. Figure out how you want to contribute and do that, in your own way, on your own terms, as hard as you can, as much as you can, as long as you can.
We should take note.