Steve Jobs: Something you didn’t know
The internet, TV and millions of Apple devices have been chattering for the last few weeks about the passing of the Tech Industry’s rockstar Steve Jobs. While everyone from his Apple co-founder Woz to kids have chimed in with their opinions in different ways, the tone has been the same. Steve changed the world.
In addressing the occasion, I wanted to take a different approach. Since I never had the pleasure of meeting Steve I can’t say that I have any special insight from personal experience, but I have heard some interesting stories that most have not, marking who the man was.
In 1983, during Steve’s first stint at Apple, he courted executive John Sculley to come and be the chief executive of the company. Sculley, working at Pepsi at the time was reluctant to leave to join Apple. Sculley explained to my dad that Jobs made his pitch clear, “do you want to stay here at make sugar water or do you want to come to California and change the world.” Sculley accepted the offer. This bold statement gives us a window into Jobs’ mindset. Jobs knew what he was doing. He knew he was changing the world. Many talk a big game but Steve made things happen.
Up until recently, I had always assumed that Jobs was one of the technical minds behind Apple and the technology his companies ran (including Next and Pixar). This was not the case. But while he may have not been able to write code, he had an uncanny grasp on technology, psychology and marketing. I would argue that he did it better than anyone else. This gives me hope that one day I can make a difference in the technology world even though I barely know HTML (from a class I had to take back in college).
I was mainly inspired by his speaking and presentation style. It was conversational, powerful and simple. He didn’t need to jump up and down and run all over the stage. He made it feel like he was talking directly to you. A style and a presence that I strive to emulate, even a little.
Just a few days ago, I came in possession of the program from Jobs’ private memorial (a pretty awesome piece of memorabilia that I plan on keeping). In looking through it I was struck by its parallels to Apple products. It was then that I realized Apple is Steve. The products, the marketing, the attention to details and design, the way it has improved our lives.
The program was simple, yet elegant. An 8”x5.5” white textured cardstock folder with the words,
1955 – 2011
in small letters on the cover. Inside were a series of poems, song lyrics and words. No agenda, no list of speakers or series of ceremonial steps; just 6 leaflets of cardstock each with profound words that give insight into the Jobs that most of us didn’t get to personally know.
The first sheet quoted John Muir: “This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
I will keep the rest of the contents to myself except let you know that the last sheet in the folder had an Apple reference; a quoting of the famous and incredibly poignant commercial that came after Steve’s return to Apple… To the Crazy Ones, culminating with the statement- “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
I feel like my tribute should be simple yet encapsulating and in true Jobs style. So let me say,
Steve, Thank You.