Steve Jobs : Icon, Idol And Legend
POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2011 AT 10:45 PM
As usual, the voicemail light was blinking on my phone when I stepped back into my office at around 4:45 PM. As I was getting ready to end another work day, I sat down and went through my messages which I assumed would all be related to web design. The last message I listened to was from one of my colleagues:
"I'm not sure if you heard the news yet but Steve Jobs just passed away..."
My heart sank. Within about 30 seconds, I could feel the tears running down my cheeks. Not only is this a sad day for Mac users all around the world, it's a sad day for the entire technology world. And most importantly, it's a very sad day for Steve's family, friends and co-workers. The "icon" of the computer industry passed away today at the age of 56. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer which he was diagnosed with in 2004.
This is a sad day for me, too. I spent a great deal of my life preaching "the good word of Apple" to people here in Vancouver — my company used to specialize in Macintosh computer sales, service and support. In the early nineties, I sold Macs to anyone and everyone I could despite the fact that Apple appeared to be on its last leg. It wasn't easy since everyone insisted on buying a PC at that time, forever heckling me with the words "nobody uses Macs!" I guess that's how you become a Mac fanatic. But when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, everything changed. I won't go into all of the details on how things changed for us as an Apple Authorized Reseller and Service Provider back then (all thanks to the magic of Steve Jobs). This is simply a little tribute to a man I have the utmost respect for (and always will have the utmost respect for).
There are people in everyone's lifetime who motivate us. People we admire. People we idolize. People we strive to be like. There are many individuals from all different walks of life whom I've idolized over the years throughout the different phases of my life — Mother Teresa, Eddie Van Halen, John Bonham, Wayne Gretzky and many more (quite a selection, indeed). Naturally, Steve Jobs is one of my biggest idols. A true legend whose memory will live on forever.
Steve Jobs wasn't just a visionary and an innovator. He was a true genius with a capital "G". A man who was gifted with the ability to take an idea and bring it to life better than anyone I can possibly think of. If you've never seen a Steve Jobs Keynote Presentation before, find one on the Internet and watch it. He was the definition of the word charisma. He was the kind of man who could have brought an empty box out onto the stage with an Apple logo on it, making it look like something you'd want to dash out and buy as soon as the keynote speech was over. That amazing new iPhone 4S which was introduced yesterday just didn't look the same without seeing Steve Jobs holding it in his hand.
Our company used to sit and wait for his keynote presentations like little kids waiting for Christmas. On the day of the keynote (as we all sat around the table with our PowerBooks plugged into the network sipping on our Starbucks), we'd throw our hands up in the air and cheer every time he unveiled his newest, insanely great product. I'll never forget the introduction of the iPod on October 23rd, 2001. I thought to myself "what — a music player?" Little did I realize what Steve had up his sleeve and all the surprises which were yet to come over the next ten years.
Thanks to the genius of Steve Jobs, in those ten years which have since passed, Apple has become the most valuable technology company in the world at $350 billion dollars. Apple shares went from $10 dollars in 2001 to $400 dollars in 2011. On July 19th, 2011, Apple's Third Quarter Results yielded yet another record quarterly revenue of $28.57 billion dollars with a record quarterly net profit of $7.31 billion dollars. All thanks to one man who dared to Think Different. A perfectionist who wouldn't take no for an answer. A man named Steve Jobs.
My belief in Apple originally gave me the courage and the determination to take a $20 dollar per hour evening and weekend hobby and turn it into a very profitable computer business. Later on in the nineties, I became more and more inspired every time I watched a Steve Jobs keynote presentation. Nothing seemed impossible after seeing him take charge of the stage which propelled me even further — learning how to write computer code (not HTML, I'm talking about my passion for C++). Needless to say, I always wanted to meet Steve Jobs. I would have given almost anything to have spent just ten minutes with the man whom I've always looked up to. Sadly, that opportunity will never come.
I offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of a man who changed the world. A loss such as this one is difficult to express in words. From the Apple website today:
"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
As I finish typing this on my iMac, I wonder if this computer would actually be sitting on my desk if it weren't for Steve's vision which brought the very first iMac to life back in 1998. As I look around and see Apple logos engraved on everything on my desk and even on some of the stuff in my pockets, all I can say is thank you Steve. God Bless you. Tonight, I will light a candle and say a prayer for you.
[Updated 10.26.11] If you're an Apple fan or just interested in the world of technology, be sure not to miss Steve Jobs — One Last Thing which premieres on your local PBS channel on November 2nd, 2011. As well, be sure to check out A Celebration Of Steve's Life which was filmed live at the Apple Campus in Cupertino, California on October 19th, 2011.
[Updated 11.10.11] Steve Jobs has been nominated for TIME Magazine's 2011 Person Of The Year by NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams.
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