I was on my way home from a local high school curriculum meeting discussing how the high school can best prepare kids for the working world. What would we expect from them, what should they know? I left the meeting after discussing the need to teach kids entrepreneurship, the business of their craft, on par with teaching them their craft, what they love to do and have the talent to do. As I left the meeting I called my wife to let her know that I was on my way to meet her and when I asked her how she was doing, she said, “I sad.” Or more appropriate, iSad.
Hearing her sadness in her voice I asked, “Why are you sad, Sweetie?” Then she said, “Steve Jobs had died!”
I let her words sink in for a moment and like everyone else I felt sad that we have lost a true visionary. When we got home I had to go online to see what others would say of Steve and I was struck by all of the comments around the same thought: Steve inspired others.
That’s what I took away from most of their comments. Steve had an affect on me, too.
I had an idea one day: Take my talent, write something using my talent that helps others, and only until later would I use my Mac to get it done. That was the magic.
My Apple History
I bought my first Apple, and Apple IIe in December 1983. We all know what happened in January 1984. The Mac came out. I was bummed. I could not afford to get another computer just after I bought my first Apple. But here’s my list of Apple products date verified by MacTracker software:
- 1983 Apple IIe
- 1986 Mac Plus
- 1990 Mac IIsi
- 1995 Power Mac 7200
- (Apple product dearth because I moved to Linux because of the future Mac OS X UNIX “under the hood,” I wanted to learn what it could do for me)
- 2004 iBook G4 for my wife
- 2007 MacBook Pro for my wife, iPhone for me
- 2008 MacBook Pro for me, iPhone for my wife
I went to work for Apple from 2005-2008 selling Macs first as a Mac Specialist then as a Business Consultant/Partner to businesses. When I went to work I signed an NDA that basically said that anything I came up with Apple owned. Didn’t like that idea. I had started writing a book and felt slighted by the NDA. I was too close with my idea to Apple so I didn’t do anything with it there.
But working for Apple was one of the best parts of my life. Selling Macs was SOOOOO easy compared with selling PCs that it was like taking candy from a baby. There was not enough Os in smooooth to describe the effect. In fact, one day there were some people near the front of the store taking notes about our store. I went over to see if I could offer assistance. They said that they were taking notes about Apple Retail. Having worked for a while at Apple I said one thing on the fly to them that still resonates with me:
The Apple Store is the icing, Apple products are the cake. You can’t have one without the other.
Working at Apple I understand now what it takes to work at a startup, the pace, the uncertainty, the direction, the efforts. Leaving it, much like leaving anything else that you enjoy, was difficult. Stressful. Depressing at times. While I don’t intend to get a divorce, from what others have told me, it’s about the same leaving what you love to do.
Since then, I have moved on.
When I left Apple I threw myself into my book about using Windows, Macs, and Linux for business. Something I had started years before I started working at Apple, but couldn’t work on much working at Apple, I was too engrossed in helping Apple. Working at and then leaving Apple I had learned that Mac users don’t care about Windows and Linux, so I pulled out the Mac content and started devoting all of my content toward Macs. I rewrote and morphed and changed my book into its current third version.
I also changed from using Open Office to write my book to see if Apple’s iWork Pages could get the job done on my MacBook Pro. I wanted to “eat my own dogfood” and see if a startup could use a low cost solution. When I read about the line spacing term leading (rhythms with heading), I had to find out if Pages could do it. Took me an hour, but I found the answer. I printed out two pages of my book, one with 12 point font on 12 point line spacing and one with 12 on 14 leading and asked my wife which one she’d like to see in my book. She picked the 12 on 14, which is what book designers use.
Yes!! I could do my whole book in Pages, both the interior file and my book’s cover. Thank you Steve, it made my day.
Jobs has taken a $79 office suite, not the $700 Adobe InDesign, and allowed me, a virtual nobody writer, to write and create my own book. With Print On Demand (POD) technology using Createspace.com, I was now my own publishing company. That’s the inspiration that Jobs gives you and me, that we could do it, too. To create what we wanted and to share with others our creations.
To share with others who we are, having a conversation of talents and life together.
Walt Disney had a vision, that’s his legacy. Disney’s story about his vision legacy even mattered as he lay dying. During Disney’s final days and hours before his death he gave a final “interview” to a reporter. Disney asked him to lie next to him because he could only whisper to the reporter because of his weakness the vision of what he saw for the future. As one comment was made after the Magic Kingdom was completed, “someone said, ‘Isn’t it too bad Walt Disney didn’t live to see this?’ Vance replied, ‘He did see it. That’s why it’s here.’ ”
Jobs was that type of person as well, but even more so.
As a new Google+ friend Leo Babauta posted a Google+ tribute to Steve Jobs:
Steve Jobs, who informed everything creative in my life, has left.
But not the light he lit.
While Disney inspired others with his parks and entertainment, to enjoy life, Jobs inspired others to follow their dreams with what talents and skills they had. That’s the bigger vision and legacy Jobs left. UPDATE 10/08/2011: Seems like Steve DID leave some after death instructions.
One more thing…
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams
So, what is the “One more thing…”?
As Leo says above, and as the REO Speedwagon song title says, we’re to “Keeping The Fire Burnin'”. That’s what Jobs would have us do. What does that translate to?
Apple to continue to making their tools for us to use, to make our experience using these tools better, so we can produce more and better products ourselves. But for you and me, “the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently” as Jobs says, we’re to take those Apple tools, and create a better world for those around us.
Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. John Wooden
To love and to serve others with our talents. To light the candle of someone else’s life up.. To inspire the talents in everyone, whatever their talents and passions, whether a misfit or not.
Oh, One more thing…
Question is: Will you be the next Steve Jobs? Or the next misfit or rebel that thinks different? Whatever, just go do it!
- Steve Jobs: A Leader to Remember (epiphanysolutions.co.uk)
- Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011 (femaleimagination.wordpress.com)
- Steve Jobs’s Other Amazing Companies: NeXT and Pixar (mashable.com)
- Disney CEO: “Jobs Was Such an Original” (mashable.com)