I never met Steve Jobs. It doesn’t matter if I had. What do you say to someone who impacted your life so much, other than a feeble, “Thanks”?
My parents tried to expose my brother and I to computing with a IIe. I used it through my first year of college. Honestly, it made me really dislike computers. Sure it technologically pushed the envelope. But the user interface and I never clicked. I have to wonder if Steve Jobs of 2011 could go back to that time, what he would say to himself. For the time, it was amazing. But Steve had much to do still.
In high school our journalism program had Macs. My brother got one for college. I got a Windows PC. The entirety of almost my entire career since then has had something to do with Windows.
Before I left Microsoft, I had been quite cynical about Windows Longhorn, having written a diatribe about how, if we required new PCs, enterprise customers wouldn’t upgrade, and that the Mac could pose a threat. This was before it was called Vista. This was before Intel. Before the iPhone or iPad. I was right that there was a threat, but wrong about the attack vector(s). I left Microsoft in 2004, but didn’t stray far. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t escape the orbit of Windows and Microsoft. When our company was sold in 2006 to Microsoft, the timing was ironic. I had just bought my first iMac, a white 24″ Core 2 Duo. I could now intermingle my work life (Windows) with a Mac. That Mac, 5 years old, sits on my desk at home today, running Lion, though I use a ThinkPad running Windows at work, and write about Microsoft for a living.
I’ve had every iPhone except the 3GS, and won’t have a 4S (it’s not time yet), and enjoy using them more than any other device I’ve ever had. I write about Microsoft, know and admire what they do, and care about and respect so many of my friends who still work there. But I also have to admire Apple and what they’ve done. How can you not love a good comeback story? But Steve didn’t just pull Apple back from the brink, he also took Pixar from a small band of incredible artists to a studio that would school, and eventually rescue, the former king of animation, Disney.
I’ve seen every Pixar movie – I would go to each, watching and waiting to see how the team had pushed the magic of animation over the year before – much as most Apple fans would come to do with the iPhone every year in time.
I spent last night at Disneyland with a good friend. As we walked around through the evening, I pointed out certain things in the park – aspects that demonstrated how Walt and the Imagineers were masters of illusion and visual magic, designed to evoke emotions in visitors. I told him about Walt, and how he died before the Magic Kingdom could be completed. I think Steve got to finish his.
Thank you, Steve.