There has been so much written about him already. I wanted to share a few random, personal reflections.
— Jobs was an icon to me, though he was not a role model, mentor, or muse. It's interesting how people differ in where they find inspiration; the most inspiring people in my life are people who seem within my reach. Jobs always seemed in a different orbit–so astronomically more creative and talented than I was/am/will be that I never followed his life in the obsessive maybe I could be him/her way that I follow some people. He was certainly aspirational, but not relatable. And that's why, while I feel a lasting sadness over his death, I do not feel like I've lost something as profound as a personal pole star.
— I've written about the Think Different ad. I've spoken the text dozens of times to people over the years, and have begun nearly every public speech with the story of being forced to memorize it while in school. The text of the ad has been hanging in my childhood bedroom for years. The newly released video of Jobs narrating the ad, embedded below, is so moving.
— When I was very young, I mailed a letter to Steve Jobs asking if he could donate a computer to help me start a company. My family had a couple computers (early Macintoshes), but I figured maybe I could get a new fancy one for free, if I asked nicely. A few weeks later, I received a letter back from an Apple spokesperson. It was two sentences long. The first sentence said Apple doesn't make donations. The second sentence requested that I remove Apple from my mailing list. Looking back, that's a pretty amusing reply.
— There's so much pessimism about politics and economics in the world right now. The celebration of innovation that accompanied Jobs's death reminded me why I love the technology industry.
— As with all breaking news events, the best action that day was on Twitter, for the raw emotion.
4 comments on “Remembering Steve Jobs”
Steve Jobs was such an inspiration to me in my early professional life. He will definitely be missed.
Steve Jobs in his Stanford commencement address challenged graduates to “stay hungry, stay foolish.” He definitely backed this up with his work ethic and his willingness to risk creativity.
One thing I am wondering is how to balance a family life with the stay hungry, stay foolish attitude. It seems the two lifestyles are incompatible. How can you commit to being hungry when you have a wife and kids? (I’m not married or have kids right now.)
I don’t think Jobs offers a very good answer to this question because he was a very wealthy man. He could afford to live hungry and foolishly because he had a financial cushion. Not all of us are that lucky.
So is there a trade-off between living with all your chips on the table at all times and having a family?
In 1972 my buddy Humberto Llama and I hitchhiked cross-country to Cali. The legendary Humberto had one of those infamous blue-boxes. We made world-wide calls all the way with no more guilt than Lars downloading illicit BitTorrent files.
I was right there in spirit when Steve Jobs was a barefoot would-be sadhu in India, his imaginary Syrian big brother.
The thing that most interested me in the obits was the recurrent references to Steve’s abiding respect for The Whole Earth Catalog as an inspiration to his creative genius, expressed in this oft-repeated quote:
“When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation…. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along. It was idealistic and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.”
An lot of creative juice is still flowing from that fount of inspiration, as one can see from Lloyd Kahn’s blog.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the WEC helped make many of us who we are.
RIP, Steve Jobs– for all your flaws, you were one of our mutant princes.
I can’t get over the fact that he abandoned his girlfriend and daughter and had nothing to do with either of them for many years. He was great at what he accomplished professionally, but being a great man takes more than that.