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Thank You Steve

photo of steve jobs
First, mahalo to Apple for giving us such a stunning home page in honor of Steve’s passing from this world. I am bursting with feelings tonight as I write this post. Which could go in so many directions.

What I take from him and the way he lived his life is the feverish attachment to being who he was. He was a perfectionist, and not afraid of it. He was odd, and not afraid of it. He was brilliant, and not afraid if it. He was emotional, even tyrannical, and not afraid of it. Many will suggest that more companies should be perfectionistic, or cultivate oddness, or confuse brilliance with determination, or tolerate tyranny “because Steve did.”

I don’t. Because it is not about copying. It is about simply being the singular person he was without apologies. When any of us are that clear about our true essence, there are no discrepancies even though one man’s dedication to his true nature surely upset many others’ apple carts!

Dozens of companies and hundreds of products have tried to copy what Steve produced at Apple. None of them can begin to touch the genius of genuine Apple products. It seems easier to simply copy than to work for and support original thought. I know; I fall into it myself repeatedly. But I only experience true joy and divine inspiration when I bring forth me, as me, and no one else.

What I learned from Steve was that his childhood didn’t matter. That his gift (his choice) in this lifetime was to simply be Steve. He was the perfectionist who transformed our world with a simple statement that was not grammatically correct: Think Different. And much of this transformation took place in the schools and universities where language is taught! Ahh, the delicious irony of it all.

I got my first Macintosh in 1986 – it was a Mac 512K. I also nearly got a divorce, as my husband (at the time – we did eventually divorce!) was so irritated that I would stay up until 3 and 4 am writing a book on my new computer, teaching myself desktop publishing with Ready, Set, Go and setting up databases for the students in my aerobics workshops in FileMaker 2! Jump 20 years to the launch of our internet tv show, Beach Walks with Rox. Can you imagine? Having the tools in our hands to shoot a 760-episode series that has attracted millions of viewers around the world? It’s because of Steve, and the dedicated teams of people drawn to collaborate with him.

Our business would not have been possible without Apple computers. The things we have created for ourselves and our clients – they all flow from the genius that centers around the love affair between hardware and software, design and function. All nurtured by iPods and new apps, coming like a dozen red roses on random anniversaries. It sounds corny, and Steve was never that, but he did understand love and creativity more profoundly than any other businessman I can even imagine.

When he fought for each of those perfect products, he was fighting for me, and for you, and I will be forever grateful to him for the epic example of a divine being having a human experience, that he was.

screen shot of my MacBook Pro still working at 0% batteryAs I was writing this, my MacBook Pro battery went to 0%. I took a screen shot for you – as it is not believable! The computer stayed alive while I went for my power cord and plugged it in. This is the power that we have to connect with something so much more than any one of us alone. Even if we are not aware of it, it is there, for us. (Click to see it full size.)

I leave with no advice, only gratitude. I have no explanations, only awe.

With love and Aloha,
roxanne-sig

4 Comments on “Thank You Steve

  1. Nicely put, Roxanne. As usual, from the heart, and clearly seen, felt and expressed.

    Having worked in software product development my whole career, the thing I see that was different about Steve Jobs approach to design was that he wasn’t afraid to make strong and definitive choices. There’s not much wishy-washy about any Apple product. As such, they can be simpler. And while you may only be able to resize a Mac window from the bottom right, you don’t have to guess how to do it, or inadvertently resize or shrink it to a tiny box by hitting CMD-shift-ELBOW.

    Jobs was the antithesis of design-by-committee, which is usually what happens in product development. Too many product designs are “managed” not led. They become exercises in “requirements” and “function points” with no real vision. He never let that happen. He didn’t try to be all things to all people. It is quite true of his designs that “They’re not for everyone” and he didn’t care. If you didn’t like it, that was fine, because he and many others with an eye for beauty, elegance and simplicity did.

  2. Thank you Joe. Steve Jobs may turn out to be something of a Rorschach concept – someone so focused and uncluttered in his own sense of self that we each can see in him the things we value and that harmonize with our dreams and beliefs.

  3. Beautiful musings, Roxanne. This is exactly what we talked about tonight at our Tweetea/SMCD event – be who you are. Whether you’re interacting online or in person, do not try to act like someone you aren’t. You’re really doing a disservice to yourself more than you are to the people around you.

    Same concept applies to businesses. Do not try to be everything to everyone. Stick with what you’re good at – what you know exceptionally well.