I’m sad that Steve Jobs died today. Steve Jobs, among a couple others in the early days of personal computers, inspired me as a kid to make software and, hopefully, one day create my own software business. His entrepreneurial story in the late 1970s, building a computer in a garage and selling it, amazed me. Until then, to me, giant corporations were the only ones who could make things. He made me think anyone, maybe even me, could do something like that. As a kid learning to program a computer, I dreamed that one day I’d make software that was used by millions of people.
Apple made great products when he was there and lousy products when he wasn’t. I never had an Apple product until Jobs returned to Apple. But I always wanted one and remember the day my dad took me to a local computer store (The Math Box in Fairfax, Virginia) where I played with the original Macintosh. I never even touched a NeXT Cube, Jobs’ second company, but always wanted one. I remember watching clips of Jobs introducing it on late night news when I was in college working as a night security guard. When Apple bought NeXT in 1997 and released beta versions of Mac OS X, which was really the NeXT operating system, in 1999 I bought a PowerMac G4 on eBay just to play with it. Soon I was a convert and have been a Mac user ever since. I bought the first iPod in 2001, several more since then, the iPhones and iPads.
Thank you, Steve.
He was only 56 years old. I try to remind myself often that time is your most valuable resource — not only is it limited, but you don’t even know how much of it you have.
Time to re-watch his Stanford University commencement speech.