My son called me from his college dorm earlier this evening to ask how I was doing. As I was out to dinner, I said, what do you mean?. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “Steve Jobs died.” Moments later, my daughter called and asked the same.
That my son and daughter would call me to see how I was doing because Steve Jobs passed away should tell you a lot about me — and my son and my daughter.
I wrote the following words when Steve Jobs stepped down from being Apple CEO. However, I also wrote them for tonight because I knew when this night came, I wouldn’t be able to pull them together.
I owe Steve Jobs a lot.
If it were not for Steve Jobs and the technology he created for the design and publishing industries, I would not have been able to do the things I have done over the past 25 years. When others were calling the Mac a toy and describing what it did, “desktop publishing,” I saw some incredible technology that enabled me to have the same “factory equipment” that New York magazine companies were using. The level playing field that many people discovered when the internet came along was apparent to me a decade earlier when the graphic design work we were doing on our Macs was equivalent in all ways to the graphic design work done on the Macs at Time Inc.
In the mid-1980s, the technology necessary to have a publishing company would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. By 1991, I was able to start a company with six Macs and a couple of laser printers. (The second check our company wrote was to Apple.)
Steve Jobs, like many true business geniuses, seems rather idiosyncratic — and I’m not sure how much of that is truth vs. myth (I’m looking forward to November 11 to find out).
However, I do know this: Steve Jobs, the visionary who “thinks different” is responsible for me having the tools that enabled me to pursue many of the passions I have professionally, and personally.
For that, I can’t thank him enough.