I’m not one to subscribe to celebs etc., but today Steve Jobs dying did leave me a pondering the power of how one person made such a huge impact.
I have heaps of positive / negative stories about Apple etc., but the one that stands out the most is the day the iPhone 3Gs was released in the US.
On that day, I was on Microsoft campus after working through the night on a project – cannot remember what the project was – and it was around 7am I decided to call it a day. I shut down my computer and remembered that this was the day Apple was going to release their new phone, I wanted one because I still had my Australian iPhone but figured I can wait until next month when all the madness dies down.
I got in my red 2010 mustang (loved that car), pulled out of Building 17 and drove towards my house in Sammamish only I figured I’d swing past the local Redmond AT&T store to see if there were any Apple nutters lining up as maybe because the store is so close to Microsoft campus there won’t be as many people queuing up (Microsoft internally was very weird around Apple hardware ownership as you can imagine).
I slowly drove down the main street towards the railway line and there it was a queue that ran all the way around the block and then some. Looking more closely I noticed a few familiar Microsoft faces and could see heaps of blue tagged swipe cards attached to peoples belts like some weird Texas ranger police badge.
I smiled, we compete daily with Apple but here inside the heartland of Microsoft there were staffers queued up like the rest of the stores around the US all keen to get their hands on the iPhone 3Gs.
I later heard a rumor that over 30,000 Microsoft staffers per day used iPhones to connect to their emails.
This phone came from the creation of many at Apple, Steve Jobs was their leader and maybe he was the ideas man but in the end it took teams of people to execute on those ideas. The man not only made an impact on my career and continues to do so, but I watched an entire company take deep collective breathes at nearly every WDDC, I watched internal mailing lists fire up and lots of internal debates around how “Apple are copying us” and “Steve Jobs is <insert negative/positive comments here>” and even today as I watch my wife struggle to force herself into an optimism bias fueled acceptance of the Windows Phone 7 she holds in her hands whilst staring at my iPhone4 with envy – you just can’t but help this was a moment in my lifetime that I probably won’t see in a hurry – the man died, can you believe that? Isn’t he some kind of immortal tech geek god personality?
Today, I own 3xMacbook Pros, 4x Apple TVs, 3x iPods, 4x iPhones, 2xiPad, 1x iMac and next week I’ll also own the iPhone 4S (aka iPhone 4 Steve). I buy these products because they inspire me creatively not through their unique designs but how others add to the design(s). I care less about the Mac culture and I spend a fortune on Apple daily to the point where it annoys the hell out of me at how expensive it is to be a customer of the brand.
Simply put, I find little to complain about and I agree with most of what Steve Jobs has done in the past and the way he’s set us up for the future.
I look at the iPhone Siri and just think to myself – that is really cool? Like if it can do as the ads say it can, this is going to be a game changer for business women/men worldwide. The camera looks amazing and that’s enough for me to drop $799 AUD next week.
Everyone else’s reaction was “meh”.
How far have we come today where there is a phone that has the potential to take on the role of Ironman JARVIS like intelligence that we turn and just throw down and have a technology tantrum?
Steve Jobs not only influenced me on an industrial design & interface level but I look at my 3D portfolio and often catch myself daydreaming about what it would be like to work at PIXAR – a company I’d often joke about “leaving my wife and kids to work for” with a friend of mine who used to play sport with my family every Saturday in Seattle who used to work for PIXAR.
I don’t subscribe to celebrity nonsense, but with this guy, I was hooked like a school girl watching a Justin Beiber concert.
Today, the myth of the man got bigger whilst the enemy of mediocrity got one leader shorter.
I hold Microsoft to high standard and will beat them up often over it and have a mixed result around success but I do so because of guys like Steve Jobs. The dude’s a fucking legend – enuf said.