As soon as I heard the breaking news of the death of Steve Jobs last night, I felt compelled to write a thank you note to him and bring it, along with a rose and a red apple, to his flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Maybe maybe the public restraint I saw is generational, but if Steve Jobs is to be the Princess Diana for us geeks, we’re going to have to do much better in our spontaneous expression of love, honor and appreciation.
Someone magical has left the planet, no matter how we all will forever live in his iClouds. And I feel shameful for my greed in wishing we all had many more years of him. I feel a lot of pain that his family didn’t have enough.
He leaves four children, a wife, and a sister who was also raised by his adoptive parents, Paul and Clara Jobs (who predeceased him).
While he chose not to meet this biological father, Steve Jobs forged an extraordinarily close relationship with his look-alike biological sister he tracked down when he was 27, along with their mother.
Mona Simpson (left), an accomplished novelist by the time they met, clearly shared some creativity genes. Always very private about her family, Mona Simpson certainly didn’t have her brother long enough.
As for the rest of us: we now live in the magical hi-tech world that came out of Steve Jobs’ imagination. (Imagine that!) And it turns out he wasn’t the crazy guy in the lab. He was, perhaps, once a bit of a geek. But he didn’t wind up with a seat at the cool kids table by accident; he reinvented the cool kid’s table and patented it.
If it wasn’t enough to be the Thomas Edison of the 21st century, Steve Jobs also stopped for a moment and taught us all how to live a more meaningful life. His 2005 commencement speech at Stanford is now a viral video.
It’s been viral amongst my gang for years. I highly recommend watching or reading it at least twice a year.
My own professional career began with a manual typewriter that was quickly upgraded to an electric. In my first newsroom, we each had a large pot of rubber cement on our desks for gluing together our pages so none would get lost or out of order on the way to be set in type.
In the early 80s, I was the first of my writer friends to buy a dedicated word processor, the Kaypro II that was called “portable” since it folded up like a suitcase, but was more the size and weight of a sewing machine.
When I joined ABC News in 1989, I owned a Toshiba 3100. Since ABC News did not supply producers with laptops back then, and the Apple Macintosh was still an embryo, my then state-of-the-art Toshiba traveled everywhere with me on assignments around the world. At 11 pounds, my neck still suffers the damage. I once accidentally knocked the plug out at 3:00 a.m., on a deadline. I lost all 11 pages of the script which I, tearfully had to re-create.
The first real Apple laptop was introduced in 1991, but not yet the game-changer they would have with the Mac Pro.
Today, I am a an Apple devotee tethered to my MacBook Pro and iPad 2 — even in bed.Thanks to Steve Jobs, I can explore the breadth of my own creativity daily, crash free.
One of my newer projects involves a group of top scientists and doctors from around the world who have formed a revolutionary alliance to overcome regulatory and economic obstacles and share their knowledge and technology advances with the goal of curing all modern diseases . One of the alliance members recently published a patent for a chemotherapy technology that is said to be the “smart bomb” for metastatic form of the pancreatic cancer which claimed too many lives before Steve Jobs.
So while I contemplate an iGrieve app today, I also honor Steve Jobs’ today with this promise (using his words): to be patient until all the dots connect, to remember the lightness of beginning again, to “keep looking and don’t settle.” Finally, I promise to continue to follow the part of the philosophy we shared all along: stay hungry and stay foolish.
Feel free to access a written version of Steve Jobs’ full commencement speech through the blog I posted in August: Steve Jobs Resigns, An Era Ends, and My Heart is Broken.