Homage to Steve Jobs

Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs – Apple – visionary – designer

I just watched an excellent speech given by Steve at Stanford University for a graduating class. Here it is: http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html

I remember crying the first time I watched it years ago, before I sent him a CD of some tunes that I thought he would enjoy because he’s a creative person who needs to reinvent himself over and over again, the way any good business person would.

If you ask me for the track names, I will give them to you. It was iTunes that got me started on that practice of putting mixed compilations together for my friends, and I had written a letter to Steve Jobs, asking for him to put a clip on the back of iPods so we consumers wouldn’t have to buy schlocky aftermarket cases or straps to carry them around.

Steve didn’t listen to me; Apple was his design shop after all, not mine. He was, above all else, a designer. People called him “visionary” and I guess that’s an even more flattering term, but first and foremost, he was a designer.

I wrote him a letter that I didn’t send, though. It was a more heart-felt version, and the clip idea took a back seat. I have that version in my diary, and it will stay private with me, but the gist of it was: please don’t die. You have a lot of living left to do; we need you here.

We were lucky enough to have him for three more years after I sent him the CD with the letter. I felt foolish doing it, but I was operating from my heart, which is to say: I really loved that guy. If you can love a CEO,  I guess I did.

But he makes me so angry. Why was he so selfish? Why didn’t he help people the way Bill Gates does with his money? It remains to be seen: did he design his will the same way he designed while alive: with great precision and thoughtfulness? I was hoping his successors would come down from on high and tell us what Steve’s ideas were for the whopping billions of dollars, that mound of cash they are sitting on. If he had no ideas for it, then what did he create, please tell me?

Then I watched the video this morning, and I realized: he doesn’t care what you or I experience. In fact, he sees hardship as a thoroughfare and a shaping for what you are about to become.

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