Steve Jobs: A Personal Tribute to His Legacy
Like so many others, I owe my career to Steve Jobs. Without his vision, I can’t even imagine what I’d be doing or what my life would be like right now.
I never met Steve Jobs. I don’t know what I would have said to him if I ever had. But, Steve has made a huge difference in the course of my life, far beyond the reach of the iPhone and this blog.
I’m typing this out on my eighth Mac. Many of my old Macs are either still in use or up in the attic — my “Mac Museum” that many Mac owners seem to have. My relationship with Apple goes back to the late 80′s and Joe’s Copies in Arlington and Apple’s Mac Plus. I was at the peak of a fairly solid DJ career. I discovered that designing cool-looking demo tape inserts better caught the eye of people who could give me work. Using Aldus PageMaker, FreeHand and Digital Darkroom, I learned the Mac and used it to make my own promo materials. When it came time for a career change, the only thing I liked better than playing records was designing things. I spent all the money I had to get a used Mac IIcx and I was in business. Seventeen years later, I still have my own graphic design studio using exclusively Apple hardware.
Steve’s creation, my Mac, wasn’t my first computer, but it was the best I’d had up till then. It was usable. I didn’t need to program or use a command line. I just fired it up and it went. That was part of Steve’s brilliance — to make the technology accessible and usable. I could dive right in. Point. Click. Drag. Work.
Technology to enhance life. Technology as magic. I think Steve got it. He had the courage to pursue his vision. He had the persistance to create it. He had the tenacity to get back up and try again when he failed (Newton anyone?). His ideas and vision were ahead of their time in many ways (again, Newton?).
Steve understood that the technology had to be usable, that it had to be almost magical. More importantly, Steve understood that his technology also had to reach us on an emotional level. Show of hands… how many Mac users have felt the need to give your computer a name? To this day, I swear my current MacBook Pro, Cobalt, has a different personality than the MacBook Pro it replaced, Aurora. Steve created technology that we connect with, not just use to connect.
When I think of Steve Jobs’ legacy, I think of words like elegant, magical, bright, smooth, and many other words that I can’t even sort out right now.
There are many other visionaries out there, but Steve’s vision helped shape the world in so many, irreplacable ways. Without Steve, the personal computer would be a lot less personal. Without the iPod and iTunes, how we discover, listen to, and purchase music would be a lot different. There would still be digital music players, but would anyone have stepped up to create the entire iTunes store ecosystem, a model that has given us other music marketplaces?
Without Steve’s vision, there would be no iPhone, paving the way for smartphones to become really smart. A pad device would have certainly been invented, but I have the feeling that without Steve, pad computing would have looked a lot more like Kindle than his truly amazing iPad.
Without Steve, there would be no Pixar. Imagine a world without Nemo, Woody, The Incredibles or Monsters, Inc.
It is rare when one man’s vision can effect such a profound change in our everyday lives. We were fortunate to have had a little bit of Steve’s in ours.
Steve, I’ll miss the things you create that I didn’t even know I need yet. I’ll miss your enthusiasm as you introduce your wonderful new devices. I’ll miss “Oh, and one more thing….” Those words are yours now and we can’t utter them without somehow acknowledging you.
I’m glad we got to share you here for a time on this mortal plane. Thank you for sharing with us all those wonderful ideas you had. Thank you for always coming back. Thank you for all that you did, Steve.
Screenshot courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.