I didn’t know Steve Jobs. Not at all, not a little, not a smidge. But I feel the need to write something. I knew him “less” (as in not at all) than some other folks we’ve lost in recent months. But I find myself feeling a great sense of loss right now. Not the same kind of loss, of course when you lose someone you know and love personally, but what I can only assume is, what could be called, a communal loss.
I remember watching the news (on a TV no less) when they announced Lucille Ball had died. I enjoyed ‘I Love Lucy’ and its various incarnations but wasn’t particularly torn up. I was also pretty young. It affected my mom quite a bit more though, which itself was very surprising. It could be she felt a particular connection to Ball because one of the ways she learned about American culture and language when living overseas and moving here was through television. Ball’s variety of humor lent itself to non-native speakers and so probably meant more to her than other actors of the era.
Ok, back on track.
Without Steve – there’s probably no way I’d be where I am today (or many of you would be where you are I suspect).
My first real computer – was an Apple ][ clone. It’s where I first got my feet wet with computers, using those horrible 5 1/4 inch disks.
In college, as Editor-in-Chief of my school newspaper – it was all Mac all the time. It wasn’t because it was cheap – it was because it was a fantastic computer and did what the others weren’t doing as well.
My first “real” smartphone – an iPhone (I didn’t care so much for the iPods – for my purposes they were overpriced).
Could my first PC have been an IBM/MS machine – it could’ve – but it wasn’t. Could we have used Compaqs and HP at the school paper – probably – but we didn’t. Could I have kept a hold of my treo and gotten the Palm Pre when it came out – sure – but..well you know where I’m going.
Steve’s vision for the products his company produced has always been generations (in technological terms) ahead of the field – no two ways about it. I don’t care if Android is being adopted faster – no one would give a damn about smartphones (outside Blackberry users – ha!) if it wasn’t for the iPhone. You like your Angry Birds – who do you think you have to thank? You enjoy using a mouse? Who do you think popularized it?
Steve stood for innovation and leading the pack. He wasn’t at the right place at the right time – he made the right place and the right time when it was right for him, the company and the customers.
I doubt we’ll ever see anyone again in my lifetime with that kind of vision, ability to carry out what he saw, and the mojo to grow an army of loyal geeks that love the brain behind the products more than the products themselves.