Steve Jobs


[Apple WWDC '97, Steve Jobs Closing Keynote]

It was 1988, and I was working in a nonprofit organization doing all kinds of translation, copy writing, and layout setting work. Yes, we still used electric typewriters… we also used small screen computers: They were called Apple Macintosh.

Apple-macintosh Unlike DOS-based computers that operated with complex command keys, that one had an operating system so intuitive to use that I even taught myself PageMaker for editing publications. It made my life so much easier.

Did you see the standing ovation in the beginning of this video? That's how it felt.

You probably heard, if you were anywhere near Twitter yesterday, you probably learned the news: Apple CEO Steve Jobs resigned. His letter read:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

You will find evidence of Steve Jobs' impact on Apple not just in the recently discussed company balance sheet, nor in its stock price. His influence has had much deeper ramifications in the community of users and developers, the city of Cupertino, the company's employees, partners, etc.

Probably what Jobs calls the community in his letter. Does your CEO get these kinds of birthday cards? Anyone?

This is what it says:

Steve Jobs has revolutionized how we live, work and play. A global community came together to honor his birthday, and wish him well.

Your thoughts and well wishes have been compiled, printed, and bound into a keepsake for Steve.

 Apple was the subject of my own brand Haiku last November:

A single leaf;
In the closed design experience,
a brief response.

"Random leaf" is the setting, and also the reference to the season. There is no explicit poetry in this verse, which happens to satisfy the 2/3/2 essential word form. There is a leaf in the design, and there is a design experience with the brand which is a closed system. Everything is concrete.

The setting is always related in some way to the action. The system is closed, and that is the experience you get. You know it. Yet, within it, there is a voice, a surprise. Steve Jobs has now become known for responding to random emails about Apple. Absolute objectivity.

Back to the video.

On minutes 7:35-9:25 a member of the audience asks:

Q: What do we do about the press?

His answer (remember, it's 1997):

I'm sure you've had this experience. Where you change. You're growing as a person. And people tend to treat you like you were 18 months ago. And it's really frustrating sometimes. When you're growing up and you're becoming more capable and you've solved, maybe you had some personality quirks you've gotten over.

Whatever that may be. And people are still treating you the same way they were treating you like a year or 18 months ago. It's very frustrating. Well, it's the same with a company.

It's the same with the press. The press is going to have a lag time. And the best thing we can do about the press is to embrace them, do the best we can to educate them about the strategy. But we need to keep our eye on the prize.

And that is turning out some great products, communicating directly with our customers the best we can. Getting the community of people that are going to make this stuff successful like yourselves in the loop, so you know everything and is marching forward, one foot in front of the other.

The press will take care of itself. It's like the stock price. The press and the stock price will take care of themselves. By the end of this year, it's going to look quite different.

I'm like an old man now. I've seen some ups and downs. And you see enough of them, you know that's going to happen. So when you get up in the morning and the press is selling Apple short, go buy some shares. That's what I would do. That's what I have done.

AppleIncStock

[data source: Yahoo! Finance] 

In a statement last night, Apple said that it had appointed Cook, who was recruited to the company by Jobs in 1997, and had elected Jobs chairman of the board#.

+

This is why Apple has such strong brand evangelists. Unwavering product focus. This is where Steve Jobs had the most influence: In the hands of people everywhere, who, like me, found it easy to use Apple products.

A really good experience is one you go back to over and over again. When my home PC hard drive crashed a few years ago, I consolidated all of my devices – PDA and flip phone included – and switched to Apple. I never looked back.

Social networks were filled with messages about the news last night. First on Twitter, Google+, I assume Facebook as well (I don't use my personal profile much there). People sharing links to his Stanford commencement address in 2005:

Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

[…] Stay hungry. Stay foolish.