So, it's been over an hour since I learned (on Twitter, on my Mac) of the death of Steve Jobs. When he resigned from Apple back in August, I knew it wasn't a matter of "if" he was about to die, but "when". So, I have to admit that while I'm saddened, I'm not surprised.
My first encounter with an Apple product was with one of my friends' Apple ][ Computer. It was nice, but it didn't draw me into the "Cult of Apple". That product that did indoctrinate me was the original MacIntosh.
It was early 1984, and representatives from Apple visited the campus of Widener University. I got to see the "Mac" for the first time. It was love at first sight. However, I didn't think that I could really afford one, so I bought an Apple //c. Perhaps fatefully, the store where I bought the computer couldn't get it to work with the Brother printer I had purchased to go along with it, and the Store Manager was sick of me coming in every weekend I was home college, telling them how I couldn't get them to work together. The Store Manager offered to give me my money back. I asked him if they would take it back, but… could I trade it in for the MacIntosh?
So, I endured all the anti-mac chants, "it doesn't have software.", "you can't play with the operating system at the root level.", "it's black and white." But I bought into what Steve Jobs was selling: a computer that was easy to use, that (to borrow a more recent phrase of his) "just works".
I'm now on my fourth Mac (a MacMini), I have an iPod Nano, and iPod Touch, an iPad 2, and an iPhone 4. I've enjoyed giving my money to Steve Jobs (okay, it's really Apple, but let's face it; it was his driving personality that brought these products to the market). Like other great customer experience companies (like Disney, Starbucks, etc.), Steve Jobs got it. He knew that regardless of what the tech "experts" thought of his concepts, he knew that what really matters was how the customer experienced Apple products justified his vision.
I joked with a friend that when Jobs crossed over, P.T. Barnum was probably the first to greet him. Both men were cut from the same cloth. Like Barnum, Jobs knew how to work a crowd, sell a concept, and both changed the world in their own way.
Good-bye, Steve, and thank-you for leaving the world a little bit better than it was. It's what we should all aspire to.