Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs died today. I’ve been pretty blatant about my passion for all things Mac. It started with my first Mac, a MacPlus back in the mid-eighties, the first machine I ever drew on, and continued with the laptops that made writing stories possible for me. I didn’t write fiction until I found the Mac, and now I can’t imagine writing on anything but a Mac. The iPhone was the first phone that made sense to me. The iPad freed me from finding an internet connection on the road. Steve Jobs and his design team have informed and enhanced my professional life for twenty-five years. I usually don’t care deeply when a public figure dies aside from a general human regret, but Jobs’s death is different. Something exciting is gone from the world today. He made the world a better place because of the way he made things. His insistance on excellence made excellence a benchmark. In today’s world, that’s pretty remarkable.

Gizmodo had some great Jobs’ quotes. Among others:

When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
—Playboy, 1987

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.
—The Wall Street Journal, 1993

“I want to put a ding in the universe.”

RIP, Mr. Jobs. And thank you for the amazing dings you put in the universe.

45 thoughts on “Steve Jobs

  1. I’m a PC user for computers, but love my iPhone and I always enjoyed listening to Steve Jobs. My brother, a dedicated MAC user, shared this today:

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

  2. Thank you for posting about this. My husband and I are sitting around, reading tributes and feeling sad. My husband is a software developer who’s worked primarily on products for Mac and iOS for years, and so the stuff we’re reading is from computer people. It’s good for me to remember that, as huge an impact as Jobs had inside the industry, it was at least as big outside. All the creative people who’ve been using Macs for years. All the grandparents who interact with their long distance grandkids via Facetime. Even people who’ve never owned an Apple product were changed, because Jobs’ quest for perfection drove the industry in directions it might never have gone.

    Thanks, Mr. Jobs.

  3. Never a Mac user, never an iPhone user, don’t have an iPad, but I was sincerely distressed to hear about Steve Jobs’ death. He benefited individuals’ lives, improved countless product lines, and gave the US an entire industry to be proud of. And did it all from its beginning in a garage in a suburb. We should all be inspired by his life, I think. I’m truly sad.

  4. I am very saddened by this news. I, of course, didn’t know him personally, but Steve Jobs and his vision have been a part of my life, since about 1984. My Macs have been the MacPlus, the Centris, 1400c laptop, iMac Special Edition DV, my current big screen iMac and a MacBook Pro
    . I still have them all and have loved each and every one of them. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Thank you so much to Mr. Jobs whose vision and perfectionism gave the world products that are beautiful, cutting edge and wonderful to use. May he rest in peace.

  5. He also helped make Pixar a reality. It was his initial personal investment of $10M and further millions in the company got them from a concept gig to a making real films to partnering with Disney. Then later when Disney was in trouble Pixar turned around and gave Disney a hand because it was the right thing to do. It also made Steve Jobs one of the largest investors in Disney:) But thanks to his vision of what computers could do in animation we’ve had some pretty fan-darn-tastic movies from those folks at Pixar. Pixar says thanks to Steve Jobs in each of their movies – in words and with the Apple ‘ping’. It’s a fitting send off, too.

  6. I’ve never had a Mac, but my graphic art designer daughter, wouldn’t have anything else.
    There’s a running, “friendly,” debate between father and daughter. ‘PC’s are crap Dad.’
    No, Mac’s, are just pretty PC’s. etc, but they both know that without a Mac, she wouldn’t have past her exams, with distinction.
    Many thanks to Mr Jobs.

  7. My first extensive use of personal computers were on Macs. One of the owners of a company I worked at was a total Mac convert and wanted everyone on them. Of course, the scientists had to be on PCs, so we had a dual-system house. As the word processor, apparently I was the one to get the first Macs — they worked better with the laser printer than the PCs did. I worked on Apple Lisas, before we got our very first Mac. I designed and cabled the AppleTalk network. I trained people on the Macs. And I found an awesome solution for a dual-system house: there was a physical add-on for the Mac that allowed it to read the 5 1/4″ disks from the PCs. There was a file converter to convert the word processing files from the PC program to the Mac program. This allowed us to go from your basic typewriter-like reports to reports that looked professionally printed.

    I couldn’t afford a Mac at that time, so I bought a PC. Over 3 years ago, I bought my first Mac and couldn’t be happier. Well, I’d like an iPhone and an iPad and a Mac desktop unit, but it’s all Mac-love.

    So sorry that Jobs died. As many will say: his legacy of innovation and creativity lives on.

  8. My husband, a programmer slash make multiple systems work together guy, was shocked. So much good came from just one man. Rest in Peace.

  9. It’s very sad to think there’s no Steve Jobs in the world. And we’ve heard so much about him lately . . . he was retiring, he was going to take it easy. And now, to hear that time has run out so suddenly . . . . Amazing man, gone too soon.

  10. Thank you for this post, Jenny. This feels a bit like an Irish wake and reinforces that your fans are more than admirers, they are a community.

    Steve Jobs seemed like a wonderful, ethical person, a monk amongst businessmen. May his soul have an easy transition to the other.

  11. I learned to admire him because I so admired the craftsmanship of his products and the Apple experience. I stand in awe of such a creative giant. His death is a big loss to everyone.

  12. I think the worst is that 56 is still pretty damn young. I believe that he would have created well into his century. And in comparison I haven’t done anything half as special with my life that he’d done at my age.

    I love him for his work with Pixar. And I still have Mac envy – I don’t own one, but plan to. I love that everyone copied his ideas.

    1. I think his accomplishments were revolutionary and he deserves all the accolades he gets, but I wouldn’t compare anybody else to him . . . in fact, I wouldn’t compare anybody to anybody else. You have no idea of the lives you may have touched, the people who are better because you’re in the world. Sometimes the personal revolution can be transformed by the smallest gesture, a single word. He was an extraordinary man, but that doesn’t diminish anybody else. Especially you, she said, gently slapping ST up side the head. Have a cookie.

      1. *looking for cookie*
        Thanks. This hit home for me. Never good to compare yourself to geniuses when you’re in your pajamas ignoring your children.

      2. I have to compare Jobs to Mr. Microsoft. They’re polar opposites. Jobs was all about knowing that people can always do more and better if you expect more of them and give them the right tools. Gates is all about limits and paternalism – Mr. 356k-should-be-enough-for-anyone.
        Jobs may have been kind of wacky in many ways, but his creativity and his constant striving to make tools that work better and do more and look good while they’re at it…well, we should all be so wacky.

  13. But the best thing is that he helped us see what was possible. Isn’t that cool? We aren’t limited now by working at a table. Our music can now fit on our arm and it lives in a cloud! We now have the mental tools to keep thinking of more awesomeness. So, go and do likewise.

  14. I have never owned a Mac, but in the early 90’s when I was doing my student teaching, there were three Apple computers in my English classroom. The kids did their writing assignments just so they could get their turn on the computers. He made computing accessible for everyone, which changed the face of our world.

    One of my writer friends (don’t remember who) said on Twitter last night, “He was our Einstein.” She was right. The repercussions of his work will continue to be felt long after he is gone. And who knows what he may inspire some other geeks in garages to come up with.

  15. Talk about someone who had a major impact on the modern world. He died young, but he packed soooo much into his life. That’s a life well lived, and what more can any of us ask for?

    Jobs didn’t invent computing or modern computers; but for the non-geek world, he might as well have. He not only made the concept more user friendly, he made them stylish, something people wanted to put their hands on. The iPod was my first introduction to the Apple world and I’m still amazed at how much is packed into a small, sleek design and how user friendly it is. Just scroll and click, no techie knowledge required. But when I bought my first iPhone? OMB – it was the first time I had encountered technology that really did do everything it promised and with such a minimum of fuss. And it’s sooo pretty!!!! They will pry mine out of my cold, dead hands.

    Thank you, Mr. Jobs. The world will never forget you.

    1. I think it’s common to believe that new technology is the good at the “invention point”, but most transformative technologies are a quantum leap up in quality from the initial invention(s). Computers used to consume rooms and energy like crazy; you can actually make a calculator out of mechanical cylinders of metal. The “invention” of computers can be debated, I think it’s more an evolution with jumps in usefulness or ubiquity. And while these later achievements wouldn’t have existed if the base wasn’t there, they can be celebrated as fantastical in and of themselves. Steve Jobs probably did more than any other person to make “personal computing” personal. (paraphrasing someone else there).

      We all remember when only uppity, self important doctors and drug dealers had pagers or cell phones, right? It wasn’t SJ that got us to the point where most people thought they were awesome, but it was Steve Jobs and Apple that put out the only techie product I know of that grandmothers rushed out to get. He made it possible for everyone to own the future, even with his being so short. Pancreatic cancer is one of the nastiest, the world is better because he was able to fight it so long. Here’s hoping his vision of things that work for the people continue into the next generation.

  16. “I usually don’t care deeply when a public figure dies aside from a general human regret, but Jobs’s death is different”…which is what I was thinking last night when my eyes kept filling with tears. When did I ever feel this kind of sadness over a captain of industry passing on?

    Yes, with Steve it is different because it wasn’t just the business, his aesthetics have guided us for decades and his aesthetics were the best: pleasing and balanced while contributing to eminently useful products that are easy to use *because* of the design. How rare is that.

  17. I’ve owned Macs since the very first one with the tiny screen! I always felt like Apple understood the creative mind, or perhaps it was Steve Jobs that did that. In a world where I feel misunderstood quite often, my macs always made me happy. I could be CREATIVE on them and they are so damn easy to use.

    I have a deep and abiding love for Mac computers, I’m typing on a PC because I couldn’t afford to buy one when I got a laptop, but now I’ve found a guy who refurbishes macbooks and soon I’ll be able to own one. Yay!

    Thank you Mr. Jobs, I hope you are looking down upon us with a smile. You were indeed the Einstein of our time. You will be missed.

  18. I wasn’t a Mac fan until I met The Cherries, and if I hadn’t literally won the lottery I’m not sure I ever would have owned one. I was GIDDY the day I got my Mac. I even named her: Sophie MacIntosh. Because you should always name the things you love. Now, I can’t imagine every owning anything but a Mac, even though I had to learn how to partition a hard drive so I could put windows on it so I could do my job. I still want my Mac for everything else, and five years later I still use my Sophie everyday. She’s not as fast as she used to be, and she’s a little worse for wear, but she’s mine and she’s got character.

    I lived in Silicon Valley for a lot of years, still have a client just down the street from Apple’s World Headquarters, and I plan to go back as soon as I can. I can’t imagine Silicon Valley without Jobs. It’s not that I ever saw him out and about or he spoke at anything I ever went to. It’s that he raised the level of the playing field and made everyone want to put out products with design and an aesthetic that spoke to the customer. That’s what I’m going to miss. That and his keynotes at WWDC, the man gave good Keynote 🙂

    “I want to put a ding in the universe” I may make that my personal slogan.

    Peace Steve. And I hope when you meet whomever is waiting on the other side they ask you if you want to take the ride again! We’ll miss you.

    1. “I want to put a ding in the universe.”

      The other comment I really appreciate is from his speech to graduates…about living every day.

  19. I hope people don’t undervalue the contributions that Steve Jobs made to the world. The products that he helped create are more than just toys for the Apple crowd. They are products that have revolutionized how we share information and are intuitive to even the newest user of technology. And you nailed it, Jenny: the iPhone is the first phone I owned that made sense. And the freedom that comes from owning the iPad is delightful for people like me that are on the road often. And I’m a Mac owner because I want a product that simply works. Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

  20. I have to say I have an indecent love for my iPod. Music underscores so much of my life and provides a great deal of inspiration for me. Also, I confess that the first computer I used in college was an Apple. Sigh. iSad indeed.

  21. Really, whether you use Apple products or not, Steve’s push for user-friendliness in all things impacted the whole technology culture: GUI (graphical user interfaces), mouse input, not needing to use command lines, any smart phone in use, digital music use… the list goes on. He pushed the edge, and people responded to his need for making it “just work”…

  22. I am so completely sad about it, it’s embarrassing. He has so much yet to do, I keep thinking. I go completely childish, pondering how unfair is when those who are so full of life and creativity die while so many unhappy plodders muddle on making misery instead of art. Good essay by Stephen Fry here helped:

    1. I was waiting for this post from him and then when it went up, his site couldn’t handle the traffic. I was refreshing repeatedly waiting for it to load.

  23. The thing that’s blown me away today has been the breadth and intensity of the public response to his death. This is only the third time in my life that the death of a public figure has caused the world to just explode in tribute — the first was John Lennon and the second was Jim Henson. All three deaths happened too young and were very unexpected to most people, but the expressions haven’t been just of shock and respect, but really of love and admiration and a personal feeling of connection — the sense that this person enriched each person’s life in a significant way.

    And the other thing that has amazed me is the story of his personal life, outside the whole Apple/Pixar storyline which is so amazing in itself. I had no idea he was adopted, that his biological father was a Syrian grad student, that he was adopted by a working class family who had to promise to send him to college when he grew up in order to win the birth mother’s approval for the adoption, that the father wasn’t told any more than the bare essentials and couldn’t find out where his girl friend had gone when she fled to California to have the baby, that the birth parents later got back together and married, that they had a second child together, whom Jobs didn’t meet until he was a grown man, that the sister was the name source for Homer Simpson’s mother, or that the birth father still lives in Nevada but never met Jobs because both men were too stubborn to make the first move and the father didn’t want Jobs to think he was after his money…. I mean, I’ve never heard such drama in any real person’s life.

    To say nothing of the zen buddhism.

  24. Steve Jobs accomplished things far greater than any product you can buy. He gave a whole generation of kids a level of greatness they can aspire to have, and he gave us all the tools to realize our own dreams. He was more than an inventor; he was a visionary, a mentor, a philanthropist to a degree the public will never know, a good man, and a gentle person. The public outpouring of love for this man and his works is a testament to a well lived life.
    And yes, he is gone far too soon, but then, when do we ever mark the passing of a great man with ,” It’s about time that guy died” ?

  25. Agreed. It’s been a sad week around our house. But truth be told, when he stepped down a while ago, my hubby was already sad knowing what it meant. I too came to Apple in the 80s when I worked on a community newspaper and have been loyal ever since–not just for the unrivalled design but for the simplicity of use. That was a big part of his gift–knowing how to make the complex simple.

    I like to say I live each day hoping to make the world a better place than I found it. I’d like to think I’m doing that, but I know he definitely did. Amazing.

Comments are closed.