As you know by now, yesterday we lost a visionary. Though we all strive in our daily lives to change the world — and in small ways we do change it — there are some among us who do so in broad, sweeping strokes. Steve Jobs was one of those people. He touched all of us in some way. I cannot imagine there being more than a handful of people in the remotest of locations that have never touched an iPod or seen a Pixar movie.
My first encounter with an Apple product was in the late 1970’s. It was an Apple II owned by “that weird computer guy” who lived in an apartment upstairs from my aunt. It was the first time I had seen the internal’s of a computer (he always had it opened so that he could swap different peripheral cards) and I was amazed by it. I didn’t see another Apple until seventh grade computer programming class where we wrote games on one of four Apple IIe’s the school had just acquired. Over the years at school, work, and home I had the opportunity to use several of the Mac, Mac II, Quadra, 6×00’s, 7×00’s, iBooks, G3’s, G4’s (the Cube being one of the coolest looking computers ever made), Mini’s, MacBooks, iMacs, countless iPods, iPhones, and iPads. I write this today on my iMac using Pages.
But he was more than Apple. He also lent much of his time and energy to Pixar. Like Apple, Pixar is another company that truly amazes me. Their dedication to the art of film — and, yes, Pixar movies are art unlike many of the films Hollywood produces today — is inspiring. There was also NeXT, the seeds of which germinated into our modern day OS X. And then there was the board of director’s seat at Disney, another company that I admire for their vision, passion, and dedication. While most CEOs come and go with little fanfare (and deservedly so), Jobs had his hands firmly rooted into four amazing companies of which touch my life in many meaningful ways.
I cannot help but to recall how upset my father was when John Lennon was killed. He tragically lost an influential artist that had a deep impact on his life. And while he knew how deeply Lennon had impacted his life, I don’t think I realized how much Jobs has impacted my life until I heard the news yesterday (ironically as a push notification from CNN on the iPhone). But my feelings really should not surprise me. For my dad, Lennon was important and changed his way of listening to music. For me it is technology that is important, and it is undeniable that Job changed it in meaningful and long-lasting ways. Jobs was an artist. Technology was his medium. He will be missed, but his influence will live on.