I really hadn't planned on writing about the passing of Steve Jobs. So much has already been said. However, all week I've been finding myself tearing up as I read or see another item about it. It happened again yesterday when I just happened to pass by the Apple store on my way to Macy's at the mall. As I approached, I noticed a small crowd outside of the store. It took me a moment, but then I realized there was a memorial to Steve in the front and people were stopping to read the messages or just take it all in.
I'm not sure every Apple store looks like this, but I imagine most do. The front windows were covered with Post It notes with messages. Flowers, apples, photos and product boxes were also left in memorial. Once again, I felt myself moved by what I saw. Living and working here in Silicon Valley, I've been reminded of my own experiences with Apple products and it just feels more personal. How many times have I driven by Apple headquarters when I worked in the valley? And so, here is my reflection on what Apple has meant to me.
I should start by saying that I first had a pc clone back in the day when they came out. If you remember DOS, you're dating yourself! Oh, those first computers were both wonderful and cumbersome. But sometime during the 80's, I went to work for a software company. As a product manager of software, I at one time had a Commodore, Apple IIGS, PC and Mac on my desk. No, I wasn't and am not a computer geek, I just had to manage product for all those platforms. I managed some great creative products for the Apple IIGS and Mac and participated in industry trade shows with them. Apple computers just seemed so much easier to use than the others and there really was something magical about Apple, even then.
The computer I used for all my work was the original Macintosh. How I loved that little computer! It was so intuitive and easy to use. Amazing! Fun! Cute! I actually fell in love with that computer; so much so, that I acquired one myself. But alas, I moved on from that company and was forced back into the pc environment. Macs got bigger and more expensive and in the ensuing years, I really didn't have a need for its unique uses, so I found myself back with a pc. All the while, always admiring the Macs, touting their praises whenever I could and wishing I owned one.
About 10 years ago, I was with some co-workers at Stanford Shopping Center when we noticed Steve Jobs dining in a restaurant with another man. Even then, it was like spotting a rock star. Truly, the Silicon Valley equivalent of a Hollywood siting!
And so two years ago, when it was time to get my sister her own computer, I wanted the easiest one for her. We got her a MacBook which she is very happy with. At the same time, I finally gave up my cheap phone and acquired the iPhone. We both became Apple fanatics once again. Soon after, I decided to give up my Dell pc for an iMac. Hallelujah! Hello, big beautiful screen! This was quickly followed by an iPod and iPad. Now, even our cat Gracie uses the iPad and is an Apple devotee (you can read/see more about that here)!
I am so happy that I've gone back to Apple products. The company has been amazing in how far they've come and how they've changed the lives of so many. I know they'll continue to do great things but I can't help but feel incredibly sad for the man who passed so young and was the shining star of Apple. I'm sad for him, his family, his employees and for all of us who no longer have this man in our lives.
So here's to you, Steve Jobs, a man of vision who has touched so many.