I wanted to wait a few days to see what other news would come out of the woodwork. I feel the time is right to post something regarding the passing of Apple’s Co-founder, Steven Paul Jobs. For the past several years, I knew it was inevitable, he wasn’t going to be the CEO forever. But the legacy he left behind is astonishing and the spirit lives on. I was fortunate to attend several of his keynotes in person, starting with the Macworld 2007 keynote, where he revealed the first-generation iPhone (and prank called a Starbucks). He most recent and last keynote that he appeared at was this past June at the 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference at Moscone West in San Francisco. Today, I am a proud shareholder of Apple Inc.
Steve built a company, but more importantly, built a company that shares his vision. After witnessing a lot of their operations in person, whether a shareholders meeting or a conference, you feel a sense a confidence in Apple’s management that will sustain itself for a long time. Things will never be the same without him, but I am happy to see that there is faith in the management to keep Steve’s spirit alive.
Steve was more than just Apple. The work he did at Pixar was nothing ever seen in the movie industry. I was a huge fan of Toy Story back when I was a kid. No matter what company it was, Steve was good at taking something that was nothing at George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and made it “just work.” During Steve’s absence from Apple, NexT was born, and the world’s first webpage was created using a NexT machine. A lot of people don’t realize that today.
In 2009, I was fortunate enough to meet Steve Wozniak, Jobs’ high school buddy and second Co-Founder of Apple, at a digital art exhibit in San Francisco.
Going back to 1989, at the age of three, I got my hands on a small and compact Macintosh SE that was in use at my grandfather’s medical company. Through the 90’s the Mac was a part of the family, and part of what would end up being a driving force in my career. In 2003, I took a brief absence from the Mac, only to return to it in 2006 after I had dumped Windows for Fedora Linux.
On Wednesday, October 5, 2011, I was at a hardware store picking up small parts for a project that was on my list since high school. On the way home I heard on the radio that he had passed on.
Prior to his resignation as CEO last August, Steve was known to respond to messages sent by the public. It wasn’t hard to figure out his address (email@example.com). Of course, it was probably regulated by his assistants, but if you were lucky, you’d get a short response. I decided to send something to him. I received no response, which was expected. Perhaps he read it. Who knows.
From: Brandin Grams
Subject: Thanks Steve
Date: January 17, 2011 12:33:16 PM PST
I’m sure you’re getting swamped with messages right now, if these are even getting to you. Part of me said to leave the poor guy alone, he gets enough of it from his fans and the company. Then there was a part that wanted to express my gratitude because the time would come sooner or later. I could write page after page here, but I’d rather respect your valuable time. Words can’t completely describe my amount of gratitude.
I don’t see myself as a “Fanboy” or a “Stevefanatic,” but rather as someone who looked up to the man as the one with the vision, to manage for the mission, and keeping the eyes on the big prize. More importantly, I respect those who strive to share the leader’s vision with colleagues. To influence them to follow can be such a toilsome task at times. How do we do it? There is no fixed path. You have to define what I like to call, the people element. We make mistakes and we take blame, but doesn’t it feel good when you’ve proved a point? Regaining that respect in not just your own company, but the in the industry is commendable, and that is something great that you did. I have been impressed with everyone’s commitment at Apple to keep that vision alive and I think the majority or its users see the same thing. I ran into Steve Wozniak in-person not too long ago. What a man.
Personally, the work you did at Pixar meant a lot more to me besides the amazing innovations that have, and still, come out of Apple. I was such a fan of Toy Story back in the day. To see such an animation hit the screens was so motivating to me when I was a kid. “I want to do stuff like that too,” I remember.
Back in 1989, at the age of three, I got my hands on a Mac for the first time, a Macintosh SE to be exact. I don’t know exactly what sparked my interest, but little did I know that this was going to become my life’s work. Still at such a young age, I found myself getting into trouble, taking things apart that I shouldn’t have, being the “go-to” guy for people I shouldn’t have, and the list goes on. Today, it’s a respect that I take pride in, and others see the same thing. When I look back, it was all well worth the trouble. In recent years, I received a WWDC Student Scholarships from Apple, two years in a row, and I hope to give back to those opportunities through excellence in innovation as I venture on in life this coming year. I am a proud shareholder, and will be for the foreseeable future.
Time is short. It’s a precious thing, never waste it. I admired those last few words of your’s from the Stanford commencement speech to, “…stay hungry, stay foolish…” and “don’t settle.”
Steve, no matter what happens, thank you for your hard work and being someone to look up to. I wish you the best and a good recovery.
Long Beach, CA
So to end, thank you Steve. Well done. Rest well.