Although there will be many tributes and eulogies written about Steve Jobs, this one is simply my personal observations of how this one visionary man has changed my life. When I received an email, as one of Seth Godin’s tribe, asking what action we would take to honor Steve Jobs’ legacy, for me as a writer, this was my way.
Up until only one and a half years ago, I lived very little of my life through technology.
It was almost laughable in hindsight, but when someone told me they would be sending me an email, I asked if they would call me first so I would know to turn on my computer. At that time I was using an antiquated and exceedingly slow PC desktop computer, that made me cringe every time I had to engage with it.
My introduction to Apple, and therefore Steve Jobs, came from a dear friend who marched me to my local Apple store for a consultation. One of the friendly and helpful employees quickly showed me why a Macbook, was my only choice. Wanting to write and considering myself as one of the world’s creatives, I had already been told Apple was the way to go. And as I’d heard, once you go Mac, you never go back.
My first impression was that Apple had a dynamic and youthful energy surrounding it. The store was bustling and I noticed that people of all ages, ethnicity and genders seemed to be equally welcome as employees. The energy was powerful and palpable and the Macbook was a beauty to behold. I was hooked. Although the learning curve for me seemed steep, once I relaxed and worked with the user friendly design of my Macbook, my life in fact did change.
I’ve personally always admired people who are innovative and visionary and are committed to their visions and carry them through. I understand that Steve Jobs himself was a great leader who had the ability to surround himself with the right people, recognizing their skills and strengths and allowing them to help him bring his ideas to life.
One of the basic tenants of successful marketing is to find a need that isn’t being filled and to fill it. Steve Jobs created products that we consumers didn’t even know we needed and then he showed us why we couldn’t live without them. That is genius to me. I sometimes tell people that I have seen the future and it looks good to me. Steve Jobs absolutely saw the future, and made sure billions of us got a glimpse of it too, by making the future our present.
I find it fascinating that a basic calligraphy course he took while at college, changed the way fonts and type design currently exist on all computers. Perhaps something we take for granted. This is what Jobs had to say about his exploration of calligraphy, at his commencement speech to the 2005 Stanford class.
“Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”
Amazing how one simple decision by any of us, just might change the world. Jobs truly understood the power of believing in and trusting your dreams. He ended the same Stanford speech with this wonderful encouragement to all, “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
So although I still don’t live my life through technology all that much, I do admit that the life I do live, is enhanced and made easier by all things Apple. I confess I do have a Macbook, an iPhone and an iPod. Even though people complain that I rarely have my iPhone on, (because I prefer to look up and interact with the world head-on), it’s okay, because I recognize the contribution Steve Jobs has made to all our lives in ways that perhaps we don’t fully even acknowledge day to day.
I’m one person who has been changed by the brilliance of Steve Jobs, so I thank him for his crystal clear visions and for traveling along with us for awhile, perhaps a visitor a bit out of place and time. Here’s to visionaries and innovators everywhere, who dare to follow their heart and their intuition and by doing this, sometimes change the world. Steve Jobs will be missed. His legacy will most definitely live on.