Remembering Steve

Yesterday, I was grumbling about information technology, but really, I love it and have had a passionate love affair with it since my early twenties. That love affair would have started sooner, but IT wasn’t readily available to the masses when I was a teen. Other than the ham radio culture and all the goodies found at Radio Shack or through Heath Kit, there was almost nothing highly technical for kids to indulge their inclinations. Thankfully, that wasn’t going to be the end of it.

When I graduated from college, I went to work for IBM, and this was about a year after they had started selling the PC. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was getting paid to play with this stuff! The only problem was the staid culture. These were the days when any man who wanted to get ahead at Big Blue did not wear anything other than a white shirt and wingtips with his suit, and most of the women were more sedate. I lost track of the number of navy suits I had. Boring as that sounds, it worked well for IBM because the key was to look sharp but not so snazzy that you drew attention to yourself. You only needed to evoke trust from the customer. Sadly, the clothing was indicative of the mindset, and with that much restraint, it’s no wonder they missed out on what’s essential to existence in the tech world — creativity.

Although I’d read about Steve Jobs for years, few inside the company took him really seriously. Everyone knew he would get somewhere, would enjoy watching it, and the company would reap the benefit, but a big threat? No. Of course this was before IBM fully realized it had shot itself in the foot with its understanding of the PC and especially of Microsoft’s role. I’ll spare you that story. Suffice to say, IBM didn’t see that one coming either.

In 1984 Steve Jobs put something in motion with Apple’s first really serious foray into the desktop computer market. The hammer was thrown, and the imagination of my generation was ensnared. It doesn’t matter that Apple had financial woes afterward and Steve stepped away from his baby for a while. Creativity and thinking outside the box were now acceptable, and IBM and all others were forced to get in the game.

None of that would have happened if Steve hadn’t been different and persistent. He really was a visionary on a scale that the reverberations of it will be felt long after IBM, MS and the others have gone away. He was his own person, and most important, he expressed it and never stopped. Even though I was in the enemy camp, I so admired that. He came with his long hair and jeans and I loved him. He said the things I wanted to hear from someone who had some power. I secretly hoped he would level the playing field, and he did! Thank you, Steve.

Steve passed away yesterday, and I never expected to be this moved, but I am and write this with tears in my eyes.

My heartfelt condolences to Steve’s family.

If you would like to share your memories of him, you may email rememberingsteve@Apple.com

edit:

For those who haven’t seen this, I bring it for your edification.

7 Comments

  1. Frenz, when I learned last night, I was stunned. As a big computer geek, I thought he was a genius and a visionary. This is so very sad.

  2. When he stepped down from Apple, I knew it was serious.

  3. My hubby works for Apple here in our hometown, and is a huge advocate of both their products and the company as a whole. Steve was sort of a big presence in our lives, not the least of which is because Apple stock is basically putting our kids through college. His passing is reminding me in some ways of when Princess Diana died. Steve seems to have been a person whose life and actions affected others on a worldwide basis. He truly changed pretty much all our lives, and was an inspiration to others in handling his illness. Truly a great man, and he will be missed by many

  4. Steve was a true visionary and changed the communication world forever. Condolences to his family and friends.

  5. The non-IT-nerds of the world benefited (probably more than anyone) from that vision. He will be missed – but what a legacy!

  6. My husband also works for Apple. My daughter’s first job was being a Creative for an Apple Store. So needless to say, we family FULL o MacGeek’s.

    Though, I like you Frenzy, when Steve resigned as CEO, my gut told me that we were near the end. I just had hoped I was wrong. On Tuesday, as I watched the presentation of the newest iPhone, I got this horrible feeling that we would hear news soon. Still.. with all of that, I still felt shock when I got a text from my husband, telling me of Steve’s passing.

    Everyone keeps associating the word “visionary” with him and it is so true but to me… it was more than that. Steve made an impression on our culture, on the way we work and play.

    My heart just aches for his wife, children and family! Though we feel this loss acutely… their loss is even more profound!

  7. Amazing man! The world is poorer without him.

    Btw Frenz, I also worked for IBM – twice! though only as a student both times.


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