I, like many who have benefitted from the genius of Steve Jobs, canâ€™tÂ imagine what my life would have been like had he stopped pursuingÂ greatness. What would the world be like today if he had given up afterÂ being fired from Apple? What if he chose to leave the technology spaceÂ altogether after such a public dismissal? What if he hadnâ€™t foundedÂ NeXT and created the core of the next generation of Macintosh computers?Â For a while, we had a taste of that alternate universe; a myriad ofÂ beige boxes from every corner of the universe and a flurry of WindowsÂ releases that were so far from inspired, I donâ€™t know where to begin.
Appleâ€™s innovations help me every single day. So frequently, in fact,Â that I have to force myself to stop and take notice. Just last week, IÂ was working on a project and needed to brainstorm with a creative partner in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. I emailed him using myÂ MacBook Pro and asked if he could do a video iChat. In a matter ofÂ seconds, he was showing me paper sketches and gesturing movementsÂ through our interface. He then held up his smartphone to the built-inÂ iSight camera in his MacBook Pro to demo an augmented reality appÂ he and his colleagues were developing. While chatting, I emailed him aÂ PDF of my presentation made in Appleâ€™s Keynote. A moment of silenceÂ suddenly came upon us. Looking into the camera, I said to him, â€œDoÂ you remember when we were in college? What weâ€™re doing right nowÂ would have been impossible!â€ He replied, â€œI know! This is Buck RogersÂ stuff!â€ Despite our collective imaginations, the thought of emailingÂ presentations, easy-to-use live video chats, or powerful laptops thatÂ handled everything with ease was never in our wildest dreams. WeÂ laughed realizing that life was surreal â€” and real at the same time.
I collect rare Apple hardware. I own a prototype Apple InteractiveÂ TV set-top box, a Newton 2100 and 130, an eMate, and a developer editionÂ of Pippin. I own those devices because they are beautiful remindersÂ that life is about more than just â€œgoing with the flow.â€ These machines represent the embodiment of the idea that being creative is about tryingÂ something new. Something difficult. Something worthwhile. Youâ€™reÂ right if youâ€™re thinking, â€œWait a minute, those werenâ€™t created duringÂ Steveâ€™s tenure as CEO.â€ People love to think of those products as failuresÂ or flops. I donâ€™t. I see them as brilliant examples of Appleâ€™s innovativeÂ what-if culture that Jobs created and, remarkably, endured despiteÂ his absence. To me, an organization that continues to push the boundariesÂ in ways that redefine or create industries â€” without a fearlessÂ leader â€” speaks volumes.
If the time between his CEO tenure at Apple is any indication, Iâ€™m moreÂ than confident that his spirit will continue to inform and inspire AppleÂ employees, Apple products, and legions of insanely grateful AppleÂ customers for a long time to come.
On behalf of those who prefer the bar held high, thank you Steve.Â You will never be forgotten.
One of the Crazy Ones