Steve Jobs, Innovator 1955-2011

After years of battling cancer and recovering from a liver transplant, Steve Jobs, the innovator of my time, has passed away. The news hit me like a freight train in the form of a tweet from @BreakingNews.

At first I was certain it was another cruel joke. Just last month CBS mistakenly reported Steve’s death and rumors of this kind have been going around for years. He actually made fun of it at his 2008 WWDC keynote address saying, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” A nod to literary genius, Mark Twain.

It wasn’t until I read the report on Apple‘s own website that it really sank in. Steve is gone.

I know there are many people who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, and even those that just stumbled upon this post, that might be reading this and thinking, “He was just a dude” or “He wasn’t an innovator, he was a borrower” etc.

All I can say to you guys is that this post probably isn’t for you.

To me, Steve Jobs was a friend I never talked to, a mentor I never met, an inspiration that never failed me. He was a nerd that was also a badass. When people laughed at him for thinking the computer should be personal he said, “Ok, then don’t make it.” When the music industry and retailers laughed at an online music store he said, “Ok, then don’t do it.” When cellphone makers like Motorola and Nokia said Apple’s phone would be a failure he said, “Ok, the don’t fear it.”

Well guess what. They made it. They did it. They fear it.

He brought a company everyone else was writing off, from bankruptcy to a valuation of over $74b. Let me rephrase that. From less than zero to more than $74,000,000,000. You don’t do that on accident.

Apple has enough money to literally buy any company in America. Hell, it could probably buy a few states if it really wanted and I’m pretty sure they almost bought North Carolina.

My first computer was a Mac SE/30. I’ll never forget it. The feel of the power button on the back, the sound it made when it turned on, the smile it gave as the screen turned on. It was like a best friend to me.

The flying toasters, the monitor dials hidden under the front ledge, the handle on top… I even had a carrying bag for it so I could take it with me when we went on long trips.

So many nights were spent under the black and white glow of this guy.

After the SE/30, my life took a turn for the PC. I still watched the Macintosh Performa infomercials on Saturday mornings in awe of the power these machines possessed. I started building PCs from scratch, got into computer programming and Apple started to go down the drain.

It was with the release of the iBook, I believe the first laptop released after Steve’s return to Apple, that I started to really miss the Mac.

My grandmother’s public relations and marketing agency purchased a few for the higher ups. She of course was the first to get one and I was lucky enough to get to play with it the day it arrived at her offices.

It was cute, fast, slim and had a handle; just like my precious SE/30. It was also incredibly fun. I actually have a G3 iBook that still boots up to this day.

Now I am the proud owner of an iPad, iPhone, iMac, MacBook Pro and AppleTV.

I don’t see Apple changing with the passing of Steve. For the last few years Tim Cook has been the guy helping Apple achieve its financial success. He seems to be a great fit for the title of CEO and I’m pleased he was given that position before the passing of Steve. I also find it somewhat fulfilling that the fifth iteration of the iPhone was released before Steve’s death. I like to think he was able to finish one last project before leaving.

Steve Jobs was a great guy. He had his faults, he had his strengths. He was an innovator that was able to create something from nothing. He was also able to flip a preconceived notion on its head. A phone with only two buttons? A tablet with no keyboard? A computer made for people?

Trust I could ramble on for another few thousand words but it seems in the spirit that is Steve Jobs that I’ll do my best to keep this brief.

RIP Steve. A hero, an idol, an innovator, a great man.

44 thoughts on “Steve Jobs, Innovator 1955-2011

  1. My first was a Macintosh 512K Enhanced. I was two years old, and I used it to play games that taught me my letters. It was my best friend until the day it no longer started more than 10 years later.

  2. My first was a Macintosh 512K Enhanced. I was two years old, and I used it to play games that taught me my letters. It was my best friend until the day it no longer started more than 10 years later.

  3. Well said. I, too, feel like I knew him. I’m honored that I had the opportunity to hear him speak in person; I’m sad that it was only once. The world truly lost an insanely great man today.

  4. Well said. I, too, feel like I knew him. I’m honored that I had the opportunity to hear him speak in person; I’m sad that it was only once. The world truly lost an insanely great man today.

  5. @mccoyca I never had the opportunity to go to one of his keynotes or attend any of his speeches. Kicking myself for not making that happen. When he initially resigned from Apple, I went to YouTube and watched videos of his speeches there. I’ll probably do the same tonight. The Stanford speech is one that is especially emotional to me. The way he talks about his cancer was so unlike him. It brought a level of humanity to his character that he rarely let out.

  6. @mccoyca I never had the opportunity to go to one of his keynotes or attend any of his speeches. Kicking myself for not making that happen. When he initially resigned from Apple, I went to YouTube and watched videos of his speeches there. I’ll probably do the same tonight. The Stanford speech is one that is especially emotional to me. The way he talks about his cancer was so unlike him. It brought a level of humanity to his character that he rarely let out.

  7. @joubiku That Macintosh 512K Enhanced was the predecessor to my SE/30 so I know how you feel in that regard. Mine still boots but is tucked away in some storage unit in Houston, at least I think it is. Wish I could pull it out, hear the sound of the 19 baud external modem and play a little Oregon Trail or the paint program. I loved drawing something huge and clicking the bomb to blow it all away. Like knocking down a Château de sable.

  8. @joubiku That Macintosh 512K Enhanced was the predecessor to my SE/30 so I know how you feel in that regard. Mine still boots but is tucked away in some storage unit in Houston, at least I think it is. Wish I could pull it out, hear the sound of the 19 baud external modem and play a little Oregon Trail or the paint program. I loved drawing something huge and clicking the bomb to blow it all away. Like knocking down a Château de sable.

  9. I did the same when he resigned. I agree, the Stanford commencement speech is phenomenal and so uncharacteristic. I have saved it before but I did it again tonight, just in case. One of my favorite quotes about Steve: Most people are lucky if they can change the world in one important way, but Jobs, in multiple stages of his business career, changed global technology, media and lifestyles in multiple ways on multiple occasions.

  10. I did the same when he resigned. I agree, the Stanford commencement speech is phenomenal and so uncharacteristic. I have saved it before but I did it again tonight, just in case. One of my favorite quotes about Steve: Most people are lucky if they can change the world in one important way, but Jobs, in multiple stages of his business career, changed global technology, media and lifestyles in multiple ways on multiple occasions.

  11. @mccoyca to quote my friend squeakytoy “Steve Jobs made us believe that technology can make lives better. Let’s honor his legacy by creating a world he could never have imagined.”

  12. @mccoyca to quote my friend squeakytoy “Steve Jobs made us believe that technology can make lives better. Let’s honor his legacy by creating a world he could never have imagined.”

  13. Fitting, though to be fair, in marketing, that would be called a “hero image” anyways. But that doesn’t make it any less true. 🙂

  14. Fitting, though to be fair, in marketing, that would be called a “hero image” anyways. But that doesn’t make it any less true. 🙂

  15. Well said Justin, Well Said. I literally feel like I lost an Uncle tonight! Such a sad day!

  16. Well said Justin, Well Said. I literally feel like I lost an Uncle tonight! Such a sad day!

  17. @ChristopherKennedy@justex07 I just thought it was appropriate, regardless of the reason.

  18. @ChristopherKennedy@justex07 I just thought it was appropriate, regardless of the reason.

  19. @DJ_Z Thanks. I feel the same way. We all knew this day would come but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. A lot of who you and I are stems from the world Steve created around us.

  20. @DJ_Z Thanks. I feel the same way. We all knew this day would come but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. A lot of who you and I are stems from the world Steve created around us.

  21. @mccoyca@ChristopherKennedy hero is used in tons of different venues. In food photography, we use “prop” dishes until we get the light just right. Then we bring out the “hero” for the main event.

    Apple did the same.

    So as you said, it makes sense either way.

  22. @mccoyca@ChristopherKennedy hero is used in tons of different venues. In food photography, we use “prop” dishes until we get the light just right. Then we bring out the “hero” for the main event.

    Apple did the same.

    So as you said, it makes sense either way.

  23. Great post, Justin. Glad I took the time to read it. Neat to hear about your personal experience through a family of products that corresponded to the tenure of a great innovator.

  24. Great post, Justin. Glad I took the time to read it. Neat to hear about your personal experience through a family of products that corresponded to the tenure of a great innovator.

  25. @gschmidt1 Thanks so much. It’s amazing to me that a single person was able to make an impact on so many millions of people. It’s a legacy few can claim.

  26. @gschmidt1 Thanks so much. It’s amazing to me that a single person was able to make an impact on so many millions of people. It’s a legacy few can claim.

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