Steve Jobs

August 25th, 2011

I was hired at Apple on May 13, 1996. I was twenty years old, and had been using a Mac for approximately two years, during which time I had been contracting for Apple on and off as a QA engineer, while I finished my B.A. at UC Santa Cruz. Gil Amelio was the CEO.

I had grown up using mostly non-Apple products. My dad bought me a Timex Sinclair when I was six. I moved on to a Commodore 64, an Amiga 1000, and finally a Unix-based Sun 3/50 before I caught Mac fever in 1994. Two years later, I was working full-time at Apple as a software engineer at Apple.

When I signed on, Jobs was long gone, but his legacy was strong. Ten years after his departure from the company, bumpers in the parking lot remained plastered with the aspirational “The Journey is the Reward” proverbs that he had famously reiterated. Jobs made his mark, and the pursuit of excellence was alive and well inside Apple.

In late 1996, Apple announced that it would acquire Steve Jobs’s NeXT computing. Steve Jobs, in one role or another, was returning to Apple. I was overwhelmed, but excited. Although I had never worked for Steve Jobs, I felt that I had been working on his vision.

When I left Apple in 2002, it seemed that Jobs had won. He proved himself to critics by rescuing Apple from the throes of bankruptcy and restoring it to a company of huge successes. The iMac, iPod, and Mac OS X were all new testaments to his enduring legacy at Apple.

But he was just getting started. Still to come were not only the obvious iPhone and iPad, but dozens of less obvious successes ranging from the ever-improving Mac OS X, to the incredible Airport Express, to the fact that every damn thing Apple makes just works so damned well together.

Pixar Animation Studios is another of Jobs’s great successes. My three-year old, Henry, has lately been obsessed with everything Pixar. This includes “Cars,” which I have seen more times than I care to admit. It’s actually a pretty great film, and I’m fond of the romantic interlude where the protagonist Lightning McQueen is led on a carefree drive through the desert by his love interest, Sally. Their ride is set to an upbeat¬†Randy Newman tune, which helps to pack an emotional punch in the scene.

Today I was driving in my own car, and heard an old Bob Dylan song that I realized the Randy Newman score reminds me of. ¬†Steve Jobs is known to be a huge Bob Dylan fan, so it’s especially poignant that on the day of his retirement as CEO of Apple, I may have found myself listening to one of his favorite songs. Buckets of Rain also includes a concise proverb of its own, which serves as an appropriate comment on Jobs’s career:

“Life is sad, and life is a bust, all you can do is do what you must. You do what you must do, and you do it well.” — Bob Dylan, “Buckets of Rain”

Well said, Bob. Well done, Steve. For the rest of us: let us do what we must do, and do it well.

11 Responses to “Steve Jobs”

  1. Mike Wray Says:

    Excellent perspective, Daniel! The perfect song on a sad occasion.


  2. Antony Says:

    Great post, Daniel, but I think perhaps you meant “defied” or “refuted” his critics, rather than “vindicated”?

  3. Andrew Says:

    Apple II is my first computer before i’m using macbook today. Good Jobs !!

  4. douglas Says:

    Man you have made an impact on the lives of people throughout the world
    through the wisdom given to you by the Almighty God and you only need to
    humble yourself before Him and call on his Name and you will definitely beat the cancer or whatever. He still wants to use you mightly.

  5. Neil Anderson Says:

    Amazing visionary.

  6. gaytyh Says:

    steve jobs didnt invent apple and he knows it!

    the Beatles did he just paid a lot to own half. Paul McCarthy stills owns it with ringo starr so dont be saying steve jobs is the founder because he is not!

  7. frac Says:

    Deluded or obtuse?…your post is from another planet anyways.

  8. Chad Says:

    I love all the little touches they did in Cars. In one scene, the afterburner smoke trails in the sky look like car tracks.

  9. jt Says:

    Its astonishing some of the comments some make about other’s subjective experiences.

    I appreciate your post and your taking the time to share it. Thanks

    It would stand to reason that given how Mr. Jobs has changed the world and our individual and collective experiences of technology and media, Im sure the more proximate to Mr. Jobs one is, the more intense the experience.

    Mr. Job’s accomplished what few have (major corporate turnaround) and from particularly destitute circumstances. (As an Apple developer and consultant in Amelio’s time and prior, I still recall well the turbulent travesty of those few years mid 90s, more in market strategy than actual product.) Apple had by then failed several times at a modern OS, including with IBM and Motorola as partners for one attempt. Apple’s products though were very well made with very strong consumer satisfaction.

    While away form Apple, Mr. Job’s “vision” was embodied in NeXT: its’ cube and OS, the latter of which we all use today in its polished and updated form. It was considered by universities, scientists, and industries to be the world’s most advanced OS at the time, before Apple bought it. Under Mr. Job’s vision, it continues as the same. However, now, it has earned market success and that adoption underscores that prominence.

    More recently, we need only look at what we had for phones before the iPhone. Or the portable computer before the iPad. In the first case, Apple had no experience in the mobile handset market and entered a very mature, aggressive industry and reshaped it overnight.

    Mr. Job’s certainly has contributed a remarkable vision. Along with that, I postulate his core business skills, particularly in responding to markets in real-time, is under appreciated.

    Thanks for letting me share my personal thoughts. Enjoyed your post! “Be excellent to each other.”

  10. Emory Fristoe Says:

    I was shocked when I got the word of Steve’s passing. I didn’t know the man, but acknowledge that he was a great man. He has touched so many and will certainly be missed by many. He had tremendous insight, an incredible drive and a genuine love of technology. One can only be inspired by his business and work ethic. If I could say one thing to him it would be – ‘Thank you Steve Jobs for everything that you achieved and in doing so making the world a much better place. The impact of your vision has been felt by us all and the memory of you will be cherished. We will miss you, we being the entire world.’

  11. Stefan Says:

    And the Reason for quit from Apple was what? If you speak about that.

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