Back on August 25th, I wrote a blog called “The Saddest Resignation Ever” about Steve Jobs’ resignation from Apple. I used that title because I felt that Steve Jobs was going home to die. This evening, I received a call from our vice-president, Bill Baumann, informing me of the news of Jobs’ death. A very sad moment, for sure.
In that blog, I recounted a meeting that I had with Steve back in 1983 when I was invited along with other members of the press for an advance look at the company’s latest computer, the Apple Macintosh. But tonight’s news brought back other memories for me as well. Not about Steve, himself, but the company that he founded with Steve Wozniak. By the way, the two Steves were part of the inaugural class of inductees into Electronic Design’s Engineering Hall of Fame back in 2002. Not separately, but as Steven Wozniak and Steven P. Jobs.
That was my first memory of them—together as founders of a brand new company called Apple Computer. My uncle, who was in his sixties at the time, had bought himself an Apple II+ computer—actually several of them. When I showed an interest in this new personal computer, he generously gave one to me, with two floppy disk drives, which I still own. My interest in computing surged when I had one to play with every day. This interest quickly turned into a vocation when I was hired at Popular Electronics magazine as their first editor ever to cover the personal computer beat. So indirectly, I have Jobs to thank for the position I have now.
Another story that comes to mind comes under the heading of my most embarrassing thought ever. I don’t know if I’ve ever written about this before, but I’ve told the story many times. The year was probably 2001. I was walking home from a press conference in Times Square, New York, and looked up at one of the giant billboards. There was an ad for something called the Apple iPod. At the time, there were several MP3 players on the market, and Apple was struggling to survive as a company. I looked up at that billboard and thought to myself, “Has Jobs completely lost his mind?” Needless to say, that thought convinced me that I am neither a visionary nor an excellent judge of new market opportunities. Of course, Steve Jobs was both.
I invite readers to comment on any of their own experiences with Steve Jobs, the man, the legend. And also feel free to relate how Steve’s visionary life has had an effect on your own life.