Thursday, October 6, 2011
Thank you, Steve Jobs
Then I reached for my iPad 2, and my CNN app pop-up told me that Steve Jobs had died and asked me if I wanted to learn more. I did, for my future – a future without innovative products that have been born in the mind of Steve Jobs – had arrived. Just to be certain, I typed Apple.com into my browser. When the homepage loaded, I cried.
I cried. About Steve Jobs’ death. But why?
Steve Jobs and Apple, Inc., have been synonymous for me. I trust the products I rely on for work and personal enjoyment because I trust – make that trusted – Steve Jobs. Maybe I trusted Steve Jobs because I had discovered that I could trust the products he envisioned and then brought to life.
In the 90s, when savvy business minds were predicting that the company Jobs’ had co-founded would crumble because he was no longer at the helm, I somehow believed that simply could not happen. I believed he had created a product that – even though it enjoyed a small market share at the time – was the creative lifeblood of industries that millions relied on for entertainment and design pleasure.
Therefore, Apple couldn’t die. The movie industry, the design industry, the advertising industry, even school teachers loved what could happen because of what Apple made possible.
But Jobs, a human and not a company, could die. I knew he had been fighting pancreatic cancer for years and had mentally prepared for his death long ago, soothing myself with thoughts that Apple, Inc., was greater than one person’s life. Even Steve Jobs' life. I had reassured myself that the company (and it is just a company) would survive long after his passing. But I had not calculated how much gratitude I would feel for Steve Jobs – gratitude for all the ways the fruit of his labors have enriched my life.
I have a lot to be grateful for.
- For the 1985 Macintosh computer that arrived in the journalism lab just in time for my senior year of college. I got to step into desktop publishing from a typesetting foundation that matched Jobs’ love of typography.
- For the Apple IIE and the resumes and cover letters I created on it. They led to a job I loved so much it became a career.
- For the Apple magic that allowed Mark to build a digital radio station and a digital television station while supporting print, web and photography applications. He had the privilege of living what he loved. Steve Jobs did too.
- For the iPod incentive that coaxed my youngest to sell more magazines than others in his class so he could own one of the first iPods in town. He learned what it felt like to set a goal then enjoy the reward of achieving it. And he taught the rest of us to want an iPod of our own.
- For the MacBookPro that made it possible for me to get an online masters degree.
- For the iPad my son bought with his confirmation money.
- For the iPad 2 (bought with my birthday money) that taught me to hope again because its intuitive interface let me know that I still have a capacity to learn and even apply what I learn within a few clicks.
- For things like iPhoto and iMovie and Flip cameras that allow me to capture the very best moments of our family’s lives and then turn them into gifts for other members of our family.
He gets it.
Steve Jobs. My life is richer because you lived your passion and dared to bring what you were able to envision to life. You anticipated ways to improve people’s lives, and then introduced those ways to us before we even knew we needed them.
I think that is why I cried. While you were alive, I felt reassured that I wouldn’t miss out on incredible ways to encounter my future. Now I won’t know what I am missing because you are no longer here.
Thank you, Steve Jobs. Well done. May you rest in peace.
Added: Oct. 6, 2011 - 3:25 (CT)
I just have to add Mark's tribute to Steve Jobs. What a wonderful image. Since this multimedia lab was first built in 1994-95, countless college students have engaged in an enhanced educational experience because of what Steve Jobs helped Apple do for education. They carried that home with them and then, literally, across the world. What a privilege to have been part of it.