Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thank you Steve Jobs

There's a handful of people in my lifetime that have changed modern culture more than Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Those two are giants that revolutionized technology and built dueling empires that transformed worldwide business and personal enjoyment. 

Steve Jobs belongs to the ages now. Another victim of that C-word that has affected too many of us. Affected me as I think about October 9 - my Dad's birthday. Amazing how one man could do so much. We are indebted to his vision and how he impacted society.

There isn't a soul alive that hasn't been touched directly or indirectly by him. Think about that. How many people can we say that about. We are touched by someone living their life and their intangible gifts. But rare is the person who actually touched us with their products and continued to be creative.

I used an Apple in elementary school (Oregon Trail!!!), HS and my college computer stations had it. It can't be overstated how much this one invention changed modern technology. He had the foresight to also help start up a movie company called Pixar, which right now is the leader of animation. 

If you told me in junior high (1996/97) what Apple would do over the next 15 years with him returning as CEO, I'd laugh at you. I remember when Microsoft was everywhere and Apple was just a tool that used Microsoft. By 1999, Bill Gates and Microsoft were hailed as the greatest success story of modern times. When I left high school, I remember seeing the new Macs but I had no idea what Steve Jobs was going to do.

In 10 years, he revolutionized the computer, music and the telephone industry. iPods change how we listen to music. iTunes changed how we collect music and share information with podcasts. iPhones changed how we see telephones. The iPad was a brand new device that took the PC to another level. The iMac changed how user friendly computers need to be. Now, Apple has more revenue than the U.S. government.

When I think of Steve Jobs, I think of innovation. Not just with his companies, but other companies who followed Apple's lead. Even if you didn't use Apple products, you most likely used some product that derived  from it. He never rested on his laurels but kept trying to think how can he make his product better. 

The man died with over 330 patents. That's innovative as anybody in recent memory,

Also, I think of passion. Creative people need to have passion behind their product. When nobody believes in them, they have to be their own cheerleader because at first, they and they alone know what they see. Steve Jobs took his baby and ran unbelievably far. He turned the unveiling of new products into events and he was front and center excited about it. 

You think he knew his products would be game changers? I believe so. He was one of the best marketers for Apple and even if you didn't get his products, you had to respect his passion and commitment to show people  what he had done. 

Finally determination. He lived like he was dying. He didn't just save Apple from nearly dying when he came back, he used his dying breaths to make his life valuable to others. He built Apple into the biggest company on the planet from the brink of bankruptcy. He wasn't going to let failure hold him back.

Think about this. He was worth $200 million at 25 years old. He was forced out of Apple at 30. Instead of being defeated, he started a new company that Apple later bought. He became CEO again at 42. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, he didn't stop as he came out with iPhone and iPad in his 50's. 

We can learn a lot from him. We've benefited from his vision so it's fitting that we don't just stay consumers, we become thinkers with it. So for the technology that has impacted the world beyond using computers, for inspiring to chase their vision, thank you Steve Jobs. Thank you for changing my times in a big way.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in 1991  - rivals in business, partners in drastically changing the world .

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