Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011
January of 2003, I was sitting alone in Union Square in San Francisco, California after a long day’s drive down the coast. I was just sitting, collecting my thoughts and watching the world go by. A girl came up to talk to me, she was taking a survey. She asked me who my personal heroes were. I really had to think about it. My first answer was Horatio Hornblower, a fictional character from the 17th Century English Navy who traveled the world on Tall Ships. My second was President Kennedy, as he was the last president we had at the time that was forward thinking. My final answer was Steve Jobs.
Back in 1990, I was starting my second year of University in the design program. I was taking a class on publishing and for half the semester we were in a print shop learning about the printing process, which seems archaic now, but the other half of the semester I was introduced to the Apple Macintosh Computer. We learned the desktop, the basic navigation, the command keys and the first two programs we learned in the class were Digital Darkroom and Adobe Photoshop. I instantly fell in love with the computer and what I was going to be able to do with it.
A few years later, in 1993, I needed an Apple Computer for advanced classes in design. Struggling to get by, newly married and living off a diet of Ramen Noodles, I loaded up my American Express card to buy an Apple Performa computer. I could now do all of my work without having to schedule time at the computer lab at the University. Soon after that I purchased a modem, even though I had no idea what I needed it for.
When I started my design company in 1997, Steve Jobs was again taking the reigns of a struggling Apple Computer company. Within a short time, things went nuts with Apple. The iMac, the iPod, the Intel processor in every Mac; things were different. The nerd club I had belonged to was now going mainstream and it was exciting.
In 1998, I bought some stock in Apple and I was an evangelist to all my friends and family about all things Mac. I got my mom an iMac, I talked my sister into going Mac and helped set my dad up on an iMac. When I moved to Sydney, Australia, I was only afforded the luxury to do so because Apple had just come out with cameras on their computers and it allowed me to still have a relationship with my son, even on the other side of the planet. Today my son has his own iMac on his desk and he’s proficient at using it, whereas my generation had to go to college to learn to use one. His computer has affected much of what I do and how I do it from design to photography to communication with those I care about.
Steve Jobs’ ideas had changed not only the world of technology, media, and communication, it changed the path and course of my life. It allowed me to have the tools I needed at the time they were needed. Other companies were trying to keep up, and even with an example to follow, weren’t even coming close to the same success in design and functionality.
You can mourn that he passed away last night at a relatively young age of 56, but the man lived a life the way he wanted. He made a difference in the world and he left at the top of his game, not to just fade away to obscurity. He made a difference by thinking different. The rest of us should be so lucky.
“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” – Steve Jobs