Steve Jobs passed away yesterday.
I don’t really remember a time when there wasn’t a Steve Jobs looming over personal computing. My first REAL personal computer was an Apple ][e (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_IIe ) with dual floppy drives.
Very cool. I was amazed at the places I could go and the things I could do with that machine. Games, Adventure, Bulletin Boards (the first social network?), homework, reports, programming, everything. It launched me into a passion for technology…which in turn led to my career in software. I can, to some extent, thank Steve Jobs (and Apple) for my livelihood and the ability to be in an environment where I learn something new every day.
Then in rapid succession: Mac SE/30, Apple 165c, Apple Power PC 6160
Then I went to work and was pulled inexorably toward PCs. But I never enjoyed them, never understood them. It was just that I used it at work.
A Jobs led Apple brought us technology that was simple, easy to use, and immensely powerful…because it was simple and easy to use. It was also beautiful. He didn’t allow Apple to fall into the Listerine trap: “If the mouthwash doesn’t taste bad, it isn’t working”. Computers became works of art…and then became something that everyone could have and use. The phone I have in my pocket not only is more powerful than most computers that existed 20 years ago…it is available, for a small fee, to anyone! Amazing, democratizing. Fast forward several years and suddenly I’m back at work using a Mac. And the entire community of developers that we service (nearly) is using a Mac. Eventually Jobs proved that he was right. Beauty, Design, Simplicity, and Quality trumped price. Mac/Apple became a way of life. A way of saying “I get it”. A way of breaking out of the corporate establishment and letting creativity run wild. For everyone.
My one encounter with Steve Jobs was a thrill. I was crossing the parking lot on the Apple Campus…and almost got leveled by a shiny silver Mercedes 2 door going about 40mph. I stopped and turned to yell…and caught a glimpse of a thin man with glasses and a black turtleneck. Steve Jobs nearly ran me over. Rather than being angry, I was thrilled. A brush (so to speak) with greatness.
Steve, despite the fact that you tried to kill me with your car, I am fascinated by you, by your stance on life, death, and they way you carried yourself. I had never seen the video tech crunch posted today, but it was fascinating. It really hit right at the heart of the Apple Philosophy, at least to me. Take a look…then tell me if you don’t feel empowered to stick with what you KNOW is right…even when others tell you it isn’t.
We’ve lost an agent of change, an agent of democracy, and one of the Good Guys.