It seems only natural that I would come to my business blog to discuss Steve Jobs the day after his passing. As I sit in front of my mac, I have tears in my eyes. You may be wondering “why?” or maybe “how could I cry over a man I didn’t know?” – I’ll tell you why and how-because the machine I type this article on is as much a part of me, as it was a design innovation of his creation. It may also be that my history with apple products also involves one of my favorite memories of my father.
My uncle Chuck has loved apple since he was in college. He still owns his very first apple. He’s only ever used apple products. I, on the other hand was a bit late to the game. I didn’t fall in love with apple until 2004 when I wanted an iPod so badly for Christmas that I pouted so much that my dad took me to the apple store in Beachwood to buy me one. He told me he’d take me to see how much they cost and then like the dad I had always known, whipped out his card and bought it for me. No questions, just here you go. I remember jumping up and down in the store and cradling the package like it was the best thing ever. I also remember the way my dad smiled at me knowing that he had made me happy.
I’m hardly romanticizing this story (we tend to do that with our dead loved ones). This is one of those moments where I thought my dad was invincible and where I thought I was invincible because of my dad. It was a moment of yes, materialistic desire, but it was also a moment between a father and daughter – a father that would do anything he could for his daughter and a daughter who idolized her father for being that way.
In retrospect, I was in love with a gadget that holds music and yet, it was the sweetest gadget that ever was. I took such great care of that iPod and still have it today. It was my first apple product. Five years later, after my dad passed away, I would find myself facing the direction of apple again, this time not for another iPod (I’ve had several since that first one), but as a way to launch my dream – my stationery business.
The mac that I use today is my life. It holds my creative designs and my business securely. It is why the morning my hard drive died several months ago, I wasted no time and hauled it to the Apple store in Chelsea to get it fix. I treat it the way, I’d treat my favorite pet. It’s a thing, yes, but I’ve got a cord to it that is beyond explanation. It’s more than just a pretty silver gadget that is “elitist”, it is a gadget that has become as much a part of my life, experiences, and memories. I think that’s exactly what Steve Jobs wanted with his creations. He succeeded.
I feel overwhelmed by sadness for the people who loved Steve Jobs that he leaves behind-his wife and children. We all experience loss, to various degrees in our lifetime, but I don’t think that anything compares to the loss of immediate death, especially parents (children and spouses are in the same category). Last night, as the world learned of Steve Job’s death, I was sitting in a small restaurant talking about my father’s death with a friend and its impact on who I am right now. It was only a few hours later that I came home to read all the outpouring of grief over his passing that it hit me.
As I slept, my brain churned out this posting. I woke up knowing what I needed to write and that it had to be written on my mac, not my pc at work.
In all the emotion surrounding his death is his words. His inspiring words. He said so many great things with meaning. I think that is what drew so many to him – he was not just a visionary and leader, but he understood the most important element of life – RIGHT NOW IS WHAT WE HAVE. Yes, we may be reborn at some point in time, but THIS LIFE, IS LIFE.
His commencement speech to Stanford resonates with so many, especially now, but it is no different from any other commencement speech – it talks about taking risks, sometimes falling to the bottom and then finding a way to climb and reach for the stars, and being true to who you are because that’s all YOU have in this big blue world; YOU can offer the world much, by remaining true to yourself and your heart. In that same space of language, he also talked about death. He understood the cycle of life and rather than fight in vain to stay youthful, he accepted and respected the cycle and then did what HE could to make every day meaningful and important not just to himself and his loved ones, but to the world – to the people who will also face their macs today and sigh a sigh of sadness and maybe even shed a few tears like me.
Steve Jobs was many things to many people, but to the greater world he was an amazing creator, visionary, and leader. The people who knew him most will always recall him as that. People like me-the designers, the iPod and iPhone lovers, the dreamers, and the doers will always remember him as the man who allowed them to express their dreams, creativity, and their true hearts in unique ways. Or better yet, he gave us the freedom to, in his own words, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”