Posts tagged ‘Steve Jobs’

“I’d rather be a pirate than join the navy.”

While reading this, I came across many quotes I wanted to use as my title. I decided upon this one, mostly because, it seemed to describe him so well. I could have used a Dylan quote, (something he’d have done) or part of the infamous speech he gave at Stanford that keeps appearing all over the place. But, simply put, like the products he created, he was a rebel and would not play by anyone’s rules but his own. 

So after a few tears, many laughs, and lots of appreciation, I’ve finally finished the gigantic biography (literally and physically) of Steve Jobs. Every pound and page was worth it.

Being quite an apple geek myself, this book seemed almost mandatory, but the story is good even if you’ve used a PC your whole life (which, If you have, REALLY???) While I was super excited to read about the guy who I’ve been admiring for so long, I will admit, some of the brutally honest parts were hard to read. Nobody wants to read their hero was an asshole. But, as much as the truth hurts sometimes, I think Isaacson did a great job of portraying Jobs’s life. One major success and failure at a time. I think he importantly stresses that life isn’t always a pretty picture, and that there are things to be learned from your mistakes, equally as much as your triumphs.

The complicated personality of Jobs was the most interesting part, how his bizarre behavior was really what shaped some of the greatest changes in technology of our time. The book quotes him, “If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.” Or my favorite: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.” His inspired but neurotic personality is really what forced the fantastic products we now use every day. They were “endowed in his DNA” as Issacson puts it, something that came right from his imagination. The perfection he desired almost always came at a price, but for each life-changing product, the pay out was always something greater. You can’t put a price on progression, and you certainly can’t put a price on imagination.

This got me thinking back to all the apple products I’ve  ever used. My first memory being the Mac color classic (circa 95′). That thing was AWESOME. I’d spend endless hours in that paint program (my early days of graphic design) or chatting up my friends on AOL with that loud as ever dial up modem. I remember my brother and I fighting over that computer like it was going out of style. Hardly!

I also vividly remember when I got my own computer before going away to  college. My dad took me to the computer store to pick one out, since apple stores weren’t around yet (lucky for him). Being the sensable banker he is, he forced me to look at all my options even though he knew darn well he’d be getting me the shiny new IMac G4 I’d been raving about. I don’t think I left my room for two days after I brought it home, I was hell bent on being the new master of that machine. I loved every inch of it! The bubble hard drive, the flat retractable screen, those little detachable speakers! I still remember my roommate sitting down at it telling me how futuristic it was, I was the envy of the dorm room. I still have it today, to pull up old pictures or grab old music, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to part with it. It still makes me happy when I turn it on, partly because It  was the machine that really opened the doors for what I wanted to do with my life, and partly because, it’s just so darn pretty.

The ipod mini was my next apple toy, and oh, how I loved that thing. When Ipods first came out they were super expensive, and being a broke college kid, that wasn’t a necessity. In fact, I asked for one for every birthday since they appeared on the market, and my parents said no, there were other products out there that were just as nice, that would do the same thing. I wound up getting some non-memorable device that was so confusing and not worth the stress. Oh, how I argued with my dad about this one! I think about about it now, and shake my head and just have to laugh, Dad if you’re reading this, I hate to say it, but I told you so! When the mini came out, it was a little cheaper and he eventually caved. The heavens were opening! I waited by the door everyday for that little pink toy, and when it finally came in it’s pristine box, I could tell that this was really something BIG. It flawlessly hooked up to my machine, and it “had an ease of use that came from being an integrated end-to-end system” It came with me to class, to the gym, and pretty much wherever I could show it off. For graduation a few years later, I bought myself a nano, a color model, with album art and pictures! This was just the beginning.

I could keep going, but it seems silly to describe my first iphone, or my new imac, or apple tv… or any of the other products so many people use in their every day lives now. Before it gets repetitious (or more repetitious) I’ll just say this: I remember all of them, each and every one. An aspect Jobs made it his goal to achieve. Even the boxes of these products will probably disintegrate in my storage room before I’ll ever throw them away. As Isaacson rightfully said, the Jobs-inspired products are bold and simple, in nature, “arts and creativity intersecting with technology.”

I find it amusing that my parents still have a Dell, which I’m often called over to ‘take a look at’ or ‘figure out what’s going on,’ as if I’m some computer whiz or something. I sit down at that dreaded laptop looking like a monkey scratching it’s head. I can’t find where anything is, and when I do, I’m all pissed off at how long it took me to find it. I guess that’s the beauty of apple, stuff is easy to find, and you don’t really have to be much of a whiz at anything. Stuff. Just. Works. Granted, my parents are people who are still confused by digital cameras and USB cords (and if connecting the two turns out to be the problem one more time i might lose it) I have to keep reminding myself it’s a generation thing. Their generation looks for an instruction manual and mine sits down and plays with the machine first. They each have iphones, and now an ipad, and are starting to see the virtue of it all, the seamless way their toys will work. I can’t wait for the day I come over and I’m not asked to ‘figure something out.’ Not because I don’t love to help them, but because it’ll be pretty satisfying to see the products I’ve been pushing for so long catching up to the old geezers. Slowly but surely. And Again, Dad, if you’re reading this (sorry for calling you a geezer) I told you so!

I was in Cupertino last August, at the apple campus. A friend of mine recently started working for apple, and I was really dying to go there. Obviously. After being told more than once I was not allowed to ‘go where the magic happens,’ and before I got yelled at for taking pictures, I remember sitting in the quad thinking, how badass it would be if Steve Jobs walked by, barefoot with a sly smile. How cool it would have been to meet him. Although that obviously didn’t happen (or this blog may have been titled OMG OMG OMG I MET STEVE JOBS) It’s  nice to think of him there, alive, enjoying the empire he created.

For a guy who set out to perfect every detail of his life, I don’t know why it  surprised me that Jobs himself commissioned his own biography. Although he had nothing to do with what was put into it, it’s presentation was delivered flawlessly. It was great based on subject matter alone, but the book was extremely well written. I knew I would love it, but I never expected to love it so much. I had to learn everything I could from it, flipping those pages like a mystery novel. I was left with a little sadness, a little fear, but ultimately a great appreciation for the legacy that lives.

February 9, 2012 at 4:24 am Leave a comment

stay hungry, stay foolish: steve jobs 1955-2011

RIP Steve, you sure as hell did.

October 6, 2011 at 3:16 am 1 comment



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