The Steve Jobs I Knew

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My desk, today.

You’re reading this, which means you know (unless you’ve been asleep). The inimitable Steve Jobs passed away last night at the age of 56.

Last night as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I thought about writing about his passing. But then, I thought, “What I have to say about the passing of such a visionary? I’m one person, and not a very influential person at that. On what grounds do I think that I can offer up a thought, let alone an opinion, on Steve Jobs?”

But then, because, much to my own demise, I’m an overly pensive person, that got me thinking even more. “Well, maybe, because I’m no Mashable, New York Times, or Huffington Post writer, just maybe, I’m the type of person that the general population would want to hear from.”

Or maybe not.

Regardless, here I am, at my desk, writing, about the passing of Steve Jobs.

I didn’t know Steve personally. I never worked for Apple. I never saw him speak live. I’m merely a user of his products. Case in point, the picture (shown above) is my desk today.  An LCD screen powered by a Mac mini, a Macbook air, an iMac, an iPhone 4, and an iPad. All at my desk. Every single one of these products I am using today to work and communicate. Every single one of these products is the brain child of Steve.

Now, rather than continuing to recount all of my nerdiness, I will continue my first thought.

I am a part of the general population that uses his products. And, as privileged as I am to have been able to use these products, I think about the impact they’ve made on my life, and as a by-product, the impact he has made on my life.

Because I love lists, here are just some examples of the times where an Apple product has made an impact on my life:

1. 1992 – our first family computer was a Macintosh LC II. I learned how to type, I learned my multiplication tables, and I learned all about the Oregon Trail (and, unfortunately, what dysentery is).

2. 2002 – (Fast forward 10 years) After my mom passed away in November of that year, I went to the library one night and rewrote my college application essay on a blue iMac. It was that essay that actually got me into Christopher Newport University – I know this, because I remember reading the acceptance email from the admissions officer saying, “Your essay blew me away. Thank you for sharing it. Welcome to Christopher Newport University.”

3. Spring 2007 – As I was writing my senior seminar paper on my Macbook, my Macbook hard drive died. 37 pages of an essay. Gone. I’ve never freaked out so hard in my entire life. (Okay, that might be an exaggeration… but nevertheless, I was freaking out. I mean 37 PAGES.) In any event, I ended up having to purchase a whole new computer, and so I vividly remember rewriting said senior seminar paper in less than 27 hours on a new Macbook Pro. I backed the paper up this time. Probably every 3 minutes. I was paranoid.

4. Fall 2007 – I purchased my first iPhone. Life changing in and of itself.

5. June 2009 – I learned that Michael Jackson had died, via Twitter, on my iPhone.

6. May 2010 – I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon, with my iPod buds in my ear.

7. May 2011 – I learned that Osama Bin Laden had died, via Twitter, on my iPhone.

8. July 2011 – I got my first iPad and was able to document my mission trip to Kenya with pictures, videos, and the Wordpress app. I was able to take down and remember every little detail, every sight, every sound, everything of my amazing trip – and share it with my friends and family thousands of miles away – on this little portable device.

9. October 2011 – I learned that Steve Jobs had died, via my iPhone.

Sure, there are more instances along the way where an Apple product has been involved in a major life event – those are just a few.

So, to Steve, I just say, Thank You. We couldn’t have done it without you.

I want to know: comment below with some of YOUR life events that either directly or indirectly involved an Apple product.

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On a side note – I just thought I’d give a little inspiration and share some of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the ones who think differently. While some may see crazy, we see genius.”

“[Y]ou can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
— Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
— Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.

“You’ve got to find what you love and that is as true for work as it is for lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you’ve found it.
— Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.