Before Steve Jobs, the most recognizable thing an apple has ever done was to be eaten by some woman in a garden or to fall on a mathematicians head. All of these things lent the apple a tremendous name, but, none of these things did for the fruit what Jobs was able to do.
Jobs did more than resurrect his own company when he retook the helm as Apple’s CEO in 1997. He took the wheel and reinvented it. More aptly, he simplified it.
First, he took this big heaping machine that some of our parents had in our houses, called the “computer.” In my home, our family computer sat up in our spare bedroom, idle most of the day. I only remember playing some basic games on it and watching the thing struggle to connect to what the Internet was at that time—which was a mess.
Then, in 1998, when Jobs and Apple released the colorful, visually aesthetic iMac line, he transformed computing into two things it had never been before—sexy and simple.
Now fast-forward to my first experience with a Mac, more specifically a 15-inch MacBook Pro when I was coming into my first year at Tech. Before my MacBook, I had always been proficient in operating whatever program on my PC. In fact, I didn’t even mind using a PC for my daily tasks. That all changed when I tried out a Mac for the first time.
It was almost like biting into that proverbial apple in the Garden of Eden. Except, instead of realizing I was naked, the simplicity behind my new laptop showed me what I didn’t even know I was missing before.
And even before my first Mac, I had bought two versions of iPods. While my dad tried to convince me that I was overpaying for a product that was going to operate like any other MP3 player on the market at the time, I decided to spend the extra money to see what made these iPods so special. And while my younger brother struggled to find and download music using his MP3 player’s software, I had no trouble in syncing my digital library with what would be my favorite toy until my first iPhone.
Jobs was no less than one of the greatest visionaries of our time. We have him to thank (or, perhaps, despise) for the way the world consumes media today at 100 miles per hour. He gave us the ability to get the information we want from anywhere.
When someone as influential as Jobs passes away, the enormity of it is felt almost immediately. For many reasons, he has himself to thank for that. Ripples of the news quickly compounded into waves of tweets, updates and articles all across in the Internet.
It’s hard to classify Jobs’s passing. With over 300 patents at Apple alone, he should certainly be considered in the annals of American history with the like of Edison or Franklin. I’m sure if he had asked, he could have had his portrait put on some form of money, especially since his company holds more cash than the US government.
Apple appears to be in good hands in his passing. Because Jobs established such a strong foundation based on continually improving the user experience with his products, Apple will always have improvements to make and will always have a direction forward.
People from all over the world have been touched by Jobs’s influence on technology in some way. He even touched on the fact that some of his decisions he made as a young man at Reed College led to some of the more important computer innovations of his early career in his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005.
Countless pieces on Jobs will be posted in the coming days and weeks, but there is none more fulfilling than his commencement address at Stanford. It is humble and full of depth and shows a man who was at ease with his daily life because he loved what he was doing so much.
He keeps his speech simple, yet elegant and infused with a lot of subtle knowledge, much like the products he was so keen on creating.
His speech that day and his products by and large, are extensions of the man we all yearned to hear from every 6 months. He made a fortune off of us for sure. I don’t think there are many people who don’t feel that the opposite isn’t true as well.
I’ll end this piece with the same advice that Jobs ended his graduation speech with over six years ago:
Stay young. Stay foolish.