Remembering an Innovator: Mixmaster Talk Steve Jobs Impact
Today, there's a flurry of Steve Jobs-related Tweets and news posts and mournful consumer images. For some it's quickly reaching the point of saturation, while others are posting tributes on the steps of Apple stores around the world (our sister paper is talking the Foxconn factory suicides in a must-read post).
While I got a chance to post my favorite ad last night amidst the onslaught of RIP tweets, other Mixmaster contributors affected by the Apple life wanted the opportunity to share as well.
Their thoughts after the jump:
Steve Jobs: A Haiku
Steve Jobs, we mourn you
My iPod is a Gen 2
D'you dream of iSheep?
At this point, Apple has completely supported everything creative I've ever done. Stayed up late in college editing ridiculous film school movies on an Apple, wrote my first ridiculous book on an Apple, and was employed for three years by a company basically run with Apple in its blood. So, in many, supportive ways, Apple has been a lifelong Swiss Army knife.
Goodbye, Steve. Thanks for changing the world.
Yesterday, on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, the world became a little less of a brighter place as we lost this generation's most brilliant and influential innovator and thinker.
I was reminded of a film quote yesterday upon hearing this tragic news. "If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely...a legend."
Steve Jobs devoted his entire life to the ideal of thinking differently. Not thinking outside the box but rather redefining what the box was entirely. You know what you'd get if you searched "status quo" in Spotlight on Steve Job's personal Mac? "No results found." Because that term didn't exist to Steve Jobs. He was proof that Punk Rock wasn't dead. A true revolutionary. And because of what he did in just his short-lived life of 56 years, he helped us also to not only think differently...but dream differently...and do differently. No matter what field you're in, I would bet all my Apple products that Steve changed in some fashion the way you do what you do. It's impossible to look around, no matter where you are, and not see something that he created, influenced, or changed. He allowed us quite literally to have the world at our fingertips.
A colleague of mine, local film critic Peter Martin, tweeted last night "That the death of someone I never knew in person can have such a deep effect on me speaks volumes about the world we live in today." And Peter's sincere sentiment is exactly correct. It speaks volumes in that it is difficult on this day (and many more following) to find someone who is not deeply affected by Steve's passing...because it is he who shaped that very world we live in today. As President Obama eloquently put it "There may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented." You said it Pres...
We all have our own stories of how Steve's inventions have deeply effected our lives. For me - a former Apple employee of 5 years who is honored still to have served while Steve was CEO and was fortunate enough to train in Cupertino at The Mothership during this time - I was wholeheartedly saddened by the news of Steve's passing. Distraught is more like it. In my car this morning, I honestly just started to tear up a bit when what we have really lost sank in deep. And frankly, that sadness turned to anger. Angry that someone so gifted and so impactful could be taken with half of his life unlived in the same world where evil, destructive people live theirs healthy and in entirety. This is the part of life that will never make sense and will be eternally unanswered...unless they make an app for that.
But angry to the point of dwelling on life's riddles is not what a time like this is for. It is a time to celebrate the truly revolutionary things that Steve Jobs did in his short time here on Earth. He connected us. He changed the way we communicate. He changed the way we work, live, and play. He changed personal computing. He changed the music industry. He changed the film industry. He changed technology. He changed everything. But most importantly...above all...Steve Jobs provided us the tools to continue to change the world that he changed himself. So that we could use them to create and inspire others to do just that: "think different."
iPod, generation 1.
I learned about the death of Steve Jobs via one of his greatest creations: the iPhone.
If it weren't for Apple Computer's dominance in the classroom, their ease of use, the approachability, I probably wouldn't be who I am today. My first introduction to Apple was in elementary school, playing Math Munchers and Oregon Trail on an Apple IIe. My first impressions of Apple Computers were connected to education. The only places I ever saw Apple Computers growing up were either at school, or at the homes of friends who had a parent who was a teacher. This all lead to me being interested and comfortable with basic computing and the advent of the World Wide Web. Even though my first personal computer was, in fact, a PC when I started high school, Apple paved the way for me.
Fast forward to art school; with labs upon labs filled with Macintosh machines, I had to port my PC knowledge of Photoshop and layout over to the new (yet comfortable and welcoming) platform. It was then I remember being shown a film in computer science class, entitled Pirates Of Silicon Valley. It was a made-for-TV movie originally broadcast on the TNT network, starring Anthony Michael Hall as a young Bill Gates, and Noah Wiley as a young Steve Jobs. It was this clever and quaint (and awfully nerdy) movie that introduced me to the fathers of modern personal computing.
The whole biographical tale of both men (genius, visionary college drop-outs) and their technological pursuits that affected each other and effectively changed the modern world really struck a chord with me. Moreover, I found myself fascinated with Jobs. In the movie, he was portrayed as more of a visionary and designer than a computer geek (which stands to be true). Gates was the geek; Jobs was the artist. Instead of paint and canvas, Jobs used ideas and technology to bring other creative people an insanely great new tool to wield: the personal computer.
Of course, the movie also showed how volatile he was, and how his perfectionism and search for beauty and harmony sometimes lead him down a destructive path, ultimately leading to his eventual firing from Apple, the very company he created in his garage with his best friend Steve Wozniak, outside of Cuppertino, California. The movie was made several years before the big come-back by Jobs, after pursuing other innovative ventures, like NeXT Computers and investing in a bunch of other creative individuals who wanted to use some of the technology he developed, forming a little studio called Pixar, allowing them to thusly create some of the world's most amazing and beloved characters, and influencing countless other creatives, and still do to this day.
It was after learning about his own personal origins, and the origins of Apple Computer, the company, and being surrounded by machines and tools all bearing the familiar fruit emblem, I knew I was on the right track as a person pursing my creative calling. The big "come-back" for Apple had just occurred a few years prior, and over the next few years, I witnessed the hard and fast evolution of Apple products happen literally beneath my fingertips. The machines became sleeker, faster, more robust in their capabilities, allowing us to create more, allowing our ideas to flourish and manifest more easily than any point in time prior. And it just kept going.
By the time the first iPod was announced, I was squarely a devout Apple disciple, and working in a design career that was made possible by the tools that Jobs had created, fostered, innovated, and continued to develop. Thanks to being single on a generous advertising agency salary, I was able to place an online order for the first iPod. Digital music was still a novel concept at the turn of the century. The general populace was still wrapping their heads around a new term: "MP3," and more so, they were still trying to figure out the best way of using that technology, and make it portable. There were some early portable MP3 players out there, but they were all clunky, limited, and uninspiring. When Jobs announced his latest invention aimed at making portable music more elegant and smarter, I was sold. I shelled out the high dollar price-tag (which, then, was unheard of, for such a small item... now look at what people are willing to pay for such "small" products... just as long as it has that once-bitten logo on it) and when it arrived at my desk, I was one of only a handfu of people in the entire agency who actually had this newfangled device. Myself and the other Mac nerds were gushing over the little marvel. The HUGE screen, the cool way to navigate HUNDREDS of songs with the spinning wheel, the super FAST Firewire connection. Not to mention that not only could it store nearly ALL of my music (easily added by way of a new piece of software called iTunes, so intuitive and well designed), but it also doubled as a portable hardrive, perfect for taking home work files and vice versa. SO small!
That was in 2001. Look how far Steve has brought us in just one decade, never mind what he catalyzed between 1976 and today.
Our entire world, our modern existence, as well as my own life, personally, has been affected by the ideas, tenacity, and creativity that Steve Jobs possessed and gave to all of us. I've already heard comparisons to Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, how Jobs was our own version for today's generation. I say, he was the first Steve Jobs. The only. He was an inspiration, a visionary, and a relentless pursuant of better things and better ways of doing them. He was a beacon that many followed to better, smarter horizons, in ideas, in design, in making technology so good it became invisible. He was a champion of marrying creativity and technology to beget insanely great things. He embraced and fostered innovation and thinking differently.
Jobs himself put it best:
"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Rest in peace.
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