How Steve Jobs And Apple Changed My Life
Sometime in 2005 my Windows machine crashed and I lost three years of accounting data, which caused me other troubles, which wasted time and money I could have used for better purposes. On top of that, the CD/DVD slot of my supposedly really fancy Sony laptop couldn't read the darn disks, because...well, the lens gets dirty and damaged of course. And how wouldn't it, when they had designed it in such a way that the whole tray was sticking out and exposing the lens to all the dust particles in the air. In fact most all laptops were using similar slot-loading technology for their CD/DVD players.
And to make matters even worse, the plastic body of the stupid thing was cracking up. Yes, I travel and abuse my gear, but this much? Only after owning the thing for 2 years and paying $2,500 for it? I was thinking to myself "Why can't someone use something more sturdy like aluminum for instance, to make these things?" Crap!
Then I saw someone pull out their Mac and load a DVD into it. No tray coming out, no nothing. Just an elegant way to load the DVD. Not even a special button to eject it. Wow!
The body was sleek and made from...aluminum! I was sold.
I went to the Apple store, got the first PowerBook I could get my hands on and 3 hours later I was in...computer heaven! Everything and I mean EVERYTHING I could think of, looked and felt right on this machine. The GUI, the body, the mouse...even the charger was stylish and designed as if someone was going to try to show it at a fashion event.
I had no idea who Steve Jobs was, but I instantly felt as if I was receiving a gift from someone, not just buying a product from a company. Yes, Macs and all their other gear have a price tag, but can you price human passion? Can you pay someone enough to love what they do, even if they lost it all?
I became curious. So much so that I began to realize (as I started to learn more about Steve Jobs and the whole Apple saga), that someone out there was curious enough and rebellious enough not to accept the status quo of the great and the mighty. I think that's the part that really made me feel like I had come home.
My old PowerBook was later inherited by my colleague and partner, who just recently told me it had finally given up the ghost. We're talking 7 years later, ladies and gentlemen! It had been dropped, banged up, fixed with a hammer, etc. etc. But it worked as a workhorse for 7 full years because it was made by someone who believed you can't respect yourself and make junk and sell it to people to make a quick buck. Someone who created something out of nothing. Someone who inspired millions of people, sold billions dollars worth of product and created or changed whole industries which collectively probably measure into trillions of dollars! Yes, one man with passion can change a lot, if he's given the chance!
I'm not a Steve Jobs cult follower. Rather, I acknowledge God's creative footprint and expression through someone like Steve as with pretty much most inventors and pioneers. I sure hope Steve made peace with God in his last hour and those famous three "Wow" he gave before breathing his last were his welcome home to the Creator's mansion!
Since that time I had "evangelized" by my own count around 50 people to buy Macs. A pastor in Florida once told me he had switched his whole ministry and TV production studio after I talked to him and he became convinced. So some of those 50 people have purchased probably tons of Apple stuff as a result of my passion for the Apple way. I think I've "given back" in my own way, appreciating how much Steve and Apple have done to make my life easier and more productive. In my own way, I have challenged the status quo in my own world as I see it and technology in particular has been critical to this whole process.
Today I'm involved in ministry, which is something I love, I own or am a partner in four different businesses, which create jobs for over a dozen people on three continents and help hundreds of clients achieve their goals in a better way. Considering the little or no resources I've had to work with, I think I've done well. And I'm only half way through the journey! In fact, I haven't even started yet!
Finally, you're not a true Mac follower if you haven't bought the stock. So yes, Apple made me money, too, while growing and growing. (I just wish I hadn't sold it when I did and I held it longer to ride the wave fully! Oh, well! With Apple starting to pay dividends, an ocean of new, institutional buyers will line up to start buying AAPL even more and possibly push the stock to the magical $1,000 per share and the outrageous $1B market cap. Wow! All because someone chose to "stay foolish" and to "stay hungry".)
Steve made us feel like we can do what we've never done before. And we have. League Media today is helping businesses, non-profits and political campaigns and leaders to communicate, to participate in the world of e-commerce and thus achieve their goals like never before. If you are one of our customers, you need to know that Steve's example is one of the reasons I believed I can do this and I've done it. Putting together teams, getting things done, helping people achieve results. That's what technology is about.
Here is a very cool collection of Steve Jobs videos: http://chill.com/scott/collection/the-ultimate-steve-jobs-collection
Here is probably one of the most profound things any CEO has ever said:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
-Stanford commencement speech, June 2005
Here's one of the best pictures of Steve with his wife Laurene.