October 6 2011
Yesterday, the visionary Steve Jobs passed away. I wanted to write something about Steve Jobs, but wasn't sure on what to write. The funny thing is I was not even an Apple fan until 2001. To be honest, I hated Apple computers. I was a pure geek and in love with DOS and Windows. I thought Apple computers made people lazy.
Then in 2001, I was laid off from the airlines due to 9/11. I decided to take some classes in graphic design and marketing. I was told that I should buy a Mac. Initially, I was against the idea, but I reluctantly purchased my first Apple computer, which was the iMac G4, which I still have and it still works great. This was right when OSX was released. After a few weeks playing with my new Apple, I became a true convert. Not only I was amazed by the design of the actual computer, but the user interface of the operating system was simply amazing. For the first time, I realize that Steve Jobs was the first to actually make good design as part of their business.
After that, I realize what made Apple a unique company was not necessary its computers, ipods, or iphones. It was Apple's philosophy that was driven by Steve Jobs. Creativity was an integral part of their business. Most companies was just concerned with the bottom line. Yes, Apple products were beautiful, but that beauty had a purpose. That beauty made their products easy to use and intuitive. Another aspect that amazed me about Jobs was that he took chances. Whether it was investing in a floundering company by the name of Pixar or shifting Apple from a computer company to a media company, Jobs saw something that others did not. Blackberry and Palm might of started the smartphone 'revolution', but it was Jobs that took it to the next level by making it accessible to everyone. Ask yourself this question: Would have google created Android, if it wasn't for the iPhone?
I remember people laughed and joked about the first iPod, and why do we need another mp3 player. Soon after, the iPod became the biggest selling audio player ever. Then Jobs realized that to make the device even more successful was not to stuff it full with useless features like some competitors, but to make it more useful for the customer. While the the music industry saw what Napster created a threat, Jobs saw an opportunity. That vision led to the invention of the iTunes store. He made it easy for the consumer to purchase music legally. The combination of a well-designed device with a well-designed software is what made the iPod one of the most successful digital devices in the world. Then the iPad arrived, and the jokes followed. Some people thought it was a stupid move on Jobs' part. They called it a giant iPhone. However, that 'giant iphone' has potentially changed how we use computers, and created a whole new market (ask Amazon about that).
Now what? Take away the computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads and other products that made Apple unique. Who is Steve Jobs then? Steve is a man that believe in a vision and didn't let anyone tell him that is vision is wrong. He believe that creativity and good design is essential to any business. He symbolizes the American dream that anyone with an idea and the work ethic can make it in this country. Very few places in the world could create a Steve Jobs. Yes, this country is very far from perfect and Jobs and Apple have made mistakes as well, but who hasn't. That is what makes us human. Steve Jobs' ability to learn and grow from those mistakes made him a better person.
His story is a very familiar one and inspiring one. That is why I admire him. One of the favorite things I heard him say was in the 2005 Stanford commencement speech. Near the end of the speech, he mentions a quote from a paper he read when he was younger: "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish." Steve Jobs lived by that his entire adult life, and that showed in everything that Apple created when he ran the company. I hope I can live by that as well. RIP Steve Jobs.
-Tarik Moody (a former Apple computer hater turned fan boy)