The internet has exploded with news of the death of Steve Jobs and tributes are pouring in from all sides. I’m leery of adding my voice to the din, but I wanted to share a few thoughts on it.
Apple has had a massive impact on my life. There is no question that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Mac.
I’ve known that I wanted to be a designer since I was 16 years old, after spending a summer working for a design agency in Halifax. At the time, I think it was 1989, and that office was full of Mac SE30s, Pluses and other all in one Macs, plus a single new colour Mac IIx that blew everyone’s mind. I had never really used a computer before, but I knew I would be learning about it soon.
I started art school in 1991. When I got into NSCAD, my high school art teacher, who had helped me apply and get ready for NSCAD (I didn’t want to go anywhere else) said, “Wow, I’m impressed you got in, cause you can’t draw!”. It was true then, and it’s still true now. It wasn’t until I got my first Mac, an LCII, that I was finally able to produce the level of design that I could see in my head. Over the years, I’ve owned dozens of Macs, iPads, iPods, iPhones and even more Apple software and accessories. Each one of these pieces of technology has helped me to build my business, my design skills and has allowed me to help build this company and provide for my family in a way that I never thought possible.
Steve’s vision for making technology better, more accessible and to bring an attention to detail never before seen in consumer hardware and software has inspired me to be a better designer, to push harder and create the best work of my life.
In 1997, I got to see a keynote delivered by Steve at a Macromedia conference in San Francisco. He had just recently joined Apple again. This was pre bondi-blue iMac and he was simply trying to clean up the mess left at Apple by Gil Amelio. I sat as close to the front as I could get and soaked in every word from Jobs. He talked about how he intended to rebuild the company and thanked us for being supporters of the Mac.
One of the things that struck me about that keynote was the question period after. Someone stood up at the microphone and asked Steve just how we could help Apple. Think about this for a second. A person asking how they could help a massive multinational corporation succeed. What other company on the planet is treated that way?
Steve, ever the consummate salesman, said this: “buy a Mac”.
His approach to sales, marketing, design, technology and his unabashed commitment to making the best devices in the world inspires me still.
I’ll miss him.