‘Tis a sad day indeed. Why? Because today we recognize that all the money and success in the world can’t save you from death. Because one of the greatest innovators of our time has died, and it might be a foreshadowing to the end of such innovation, at least in the form and speed with with Steve Jobs birthed it.
He’s kind of like Moses leading the people to the edge of the land of Israel and not being permitted to enter. I just saw this Siri commercial from Apple yesterday and am just floored (again) with how this changes everything (again). We are living the future thanks to Steve Jobs.
I got my first Mac when I was a freshman in college, due to Apple’s smart marketing tactic of infiltrating schools early on so that it took over the next generation of geeks. It was part of a special deal for incoming students. My Mac was a big square screen with the whole brain of a computer behind it. The innovation there (though it was, admittedly, one of the uglier Macs) was that the computer and the screen were one unit. By my senior year, while all my friends had colorful iMacs, and those cubes filled the A/V room, I was writing my creative writing thesis on a 10-year-old Mac laptop. Worked just fine for my purposes. The mouse was a ball like on a Capcom bowling game. It was quite an experience.
On one of my first dates with Shmuel, I announced, “I’m a Mac girl.” As an East German, he hadn’t owned a computer till not long before we met. And he’d only used Apple for his photography, music, and videography work. I’m pretty sure my “announcement” sealed the deal.
Recently, Shmuel read something that listed all of the Mac products available. He realized we have them all. And yet we still want more. Steve Jobs has created not only a cult, not only a way of thinking, or a way of designing for humans, but he’s really created a culture, a whole freaking society, an economics system, a lexicon.
So, in homage, I’d like to share the #1 thing I’ve learned from the life and death of Steve Jobs:
Never. Give. Up.
Steve Jobs’ biological parents gave him up for adoption. When he audited classes at Reed, he slept on friends’ floors and returned Coke bottles for money (something we should all be doing). In 1984, after presenting the first MacIntosh to a wildly enthusiastic crowd, he was relieved of his position as head of the MacIntosh division at Apple.
Despite all this, he founded another company. When he ran out of money, he appealed for venture capital and got Ross Perot on board. When Pixar was an unprofitable high-end graphics hardware company, he turned it into the animating giant it has become.
In 1997 he came back to Apple through its purchase of NeXT (his Perot-funded gig). He must have had a “ha-ha” moment there. (I don’t mean “aha,” I mean “ha-ha.”) Then he turned Apple into what it is today.
This guy didn’t quit! I sit here at Starbucks day in and day out, on my MacBook pro, determined to make Hoffman Productions a success. Yes, I get discouraged sometimes. And yes, I’m elated when things go well. But it just makes you realize – a tzaddik falls seven times, but he gets right back up again.
Steve Jobs didn’t make excuses. I didn’t know him personally, and I know nothing about his personal life. But man, he had vision, and he made it happen. Don’t we all have a vision, a purpose? It nags at us daily if we’re working on it or not. It’s what God wants us to do, and yet we ignore the voice. If something bugs you year after year, you HAVE to do it. I think Steve Jobs was called to God so young because he had fulfilled his purpose. He brought us so far in this world. It’s the rest of us who live who are still wandering unfulfilled.
And thus I envy him, and hope to emulate him.
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