When I was younger, I never found school particularly inspiring. I was never someone who did all that well in any classes, but all that changed when computers came into the classroom. Like most schools, ours got Apple II computers.
I don’t think I got anything but an A+ in a computer class. I became obsessed with these computers. At my house, we had an Atari, but I was always sneaking off to friends houses to play with their Apple computers. There was something way cooler about them. They were odd and there were shortcomings, but they somehow stood out dramatically compared with other computers of the time. The simple Apple icon, the rainbow of colors, the design. While other kids at school were covering their backpacks with band names and movie stars, I was drawing an Apple logo. Looking back, I realize now that I was drawn to more than just the technology, even as a kid. I was drawn to the design as well.
Apple faded a bit after that. I struck out on my own, and didn’t care as much about computers. I had hacked together PCs running every kind of Windows and Linux, but the love wasn’t there. Perhaps the love for me was with hopping trains, hitchhiking, taking drugs, working odd jobs, even being a vegetarian. The kinds of things some miscreants get into in their 20s. Guilty as charged.
But about the time I really settled down in Portland, something happened. Apple stopped making beige computers like everybody else, and found their footing. They got up and started fighting again. They started to once again stand for something other than bland boxes of miscellaneous hardware. They started to look like they were designed again, like they had passion.
Steve was back.
Since then, Steve Jobs, as head once again of Apple Inc., changed so many things, and in a good way. Over and over, he put control over music in the hands of the customer, not the corporations. He brought us some of the most liberating and enjoyable personal devices ever made, from the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad. And the computers just got more and more beautiful. He continued to force Apple to improve things no other company would have ever bothered to improve.
He did it because he believed, all along, deep down inside, that making the best thing you can make is always the right thing to do. And maybe, just maybe, against all imaginable odds, you will win.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said. “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.”
Thanks, Steve. You will never be forgotten.