The #1 Thing I’ve Learned from The Life & Death of Steve Jobs, RIP

‘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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25 Responses to "The #1 Thing I’ve Learned from The Life & Death of Steve Jobs, RIP"

  1. GREAT post, Margelit! You nailed it right on the head. Steve Jobs was a visionary we can all learn from.

    • Regina Brenner says:

      I think that this is the perfect time to reflect on life and death. Steve Jobs is a great model to follow. He had a dream and a vision and he pursued it i n spite of the many obstacles in his way until the end. I hope Hashem gives all of that same type of courage to face whatever comes our way and to follow our dreams.

  2. Ron says:

    Very nice, post. G’mar chatima tova to you and Shmuley and your whole family.

  3. Hank says:

    “…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.”

    I don’t agree at all. Someone, somewhere, spoke that very same line long before Steve Jobs ever came to be. Someone’s passing almost always feels like the end.

    But I truly believe that right now, right this very minute, perhaps in some teacher’s 4th grade classroom, some child gazes out the window and without him or her even knowing it, the seeds have been sewn that will grow the end of cancer, world peace, or humankind’s first journey to the stars.

    It’s who we are and it’s what we do.

  4. Shawn says:

    I also feel he was taken from this world because he accomplished all he was supposed to on earth. I was just saying that to my wife last night… It’s kind of like Rabbi Aryeh Kalpan.

    Jobs seems almost to be a vessel for certain as

  5. Shawn says:

    …a vessel for certain aspects of the messianic era (a world where knowledge and wisdom is everywhere…which to me speaks of the power of the internet, social media, etc). There was never before a time when one could simply wish for something…and instantly, magically, have it in their hands: a book…song…a game…even a face-to-face conversation with someone on te other side of the world.. Steve Jobs helped being this gift to the world.

  6. What a deep and intelligent post. Thank you for sharing it I really enjoyed it. All my students wanted to discuss today was Steve Jobs and what his passing might mean for Apple. I shared with them some articles about how he transformed technology and the world. Wishing you and your family a gmar chasima tova.

  7. great post! May Steve Jobs be an inspiration to us all, and may we all do what we love to do and make buckets of ducats for it! Thanks, Margalit.

  8. Joe says:

    Great post! Keep up the positive articles!

  9. Beth Newman says:

    Margelit – first, thank you for sharing when so many fear to share their mission, let alone, their opinions. That’s what makes Steve Jobs special, great, magnificent in an age when people (aren’t afraid to complain) but are terrified of speaking their truth.
    What is that concept….”Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us”…clearly, nothing frightened Steve so much that he would back away from his mission.
    Thank you – and shana tovah – Beth

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  11. Hi Margelit. How’s the Starbucks brew today? There’s one thing that struck me about your blog on Steve Jobs. I know a person who met him several times (R’ Shmueli Boteach), and said that each time he was not exactly the nicest of people. You could say that someone like that, i.e. – a genius, etc. can’t be everything at once, so something has to give, as it were. But I disagree. True, he left behind so much, the world is so much smaller now, a real global village – but perhaps that could have had an influence on his personality as well, in a good way. Tikkun Hamidot. In fact, in his book many people are complaining! I do agree that his life was inspirational and even envious for all; however, I think he could have emulated YOU.

    • Hi Harry – thanks for reading! What has actually been very inspiring is that, unlike most of us, Steve Jobs just didn’t care what people thought. He had chutzpah enough to call it like it was, and I’m starting to wonder if that kind of chutzpah is what’s necessary to change the world.

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