Watching your heroes die is a strange, painful thing. Yet more strange is the death of one who you did not know personally. That’s the situation many of us found ourselves in when we heard that Steven P. Jobs had passed away.
I never met Steve, never worked for him, in fact, the closest I had ever been to him was watching him deliver a WWDC keynote in person.
Despite that, the impact Steve had on my life was enormous.
The first computer I remember using was an Apple IIe. In the fall of 1993 I remember fidgeting in my seat as the rest of my kindergarten class filed into my school’s dark computer lab. Impatiently, I figured out how to turn on the machine in front of me. The course of my life changed when that green monochrome screen came alive.
Almost 10 years later, I started programming on a dual-booting Windows/Linux box in my bedroom. (My family didn’t own any Apple products). It was a whole new world for me, I didn’t know any programmers nor was there any sort of instruction on it in school. It was simply a hobby I immersed myself in as I did with many others. It wasn’t until I managed to save enough money from washing dishes and bussing tables to buy a Mac that my feelings changed. I began to learn Cocoa and immersed myself in examining the rich attention to detail in the OS and all of my favorite software. It was my obsession, this was what I wanted to do with my life, to make beautiful things like these.
5 years later I was a bored, disaffected college student. I was attending class less and less and spent most of my time working on Mac apps and writing. The iPhone had been released and it was an astonishing device. I still remember standing in the hallway waiting for class and reading that the iPhone SDK had been released. I hurried to the office I worked at on campus and began downloading the SDK as I went about my other job as a web developer and writer for the college newspaper. That night I sat with my laptop open next to my work computer as I jumped back and forth between my job and running my code on the device I’d been happily carrying around in my pocket for months. It was thrilling.
A few months later, I left school and started developing software for the Mac, the iPhone and later the iPad full-time and never looked back.
In that time I’ve met some of my dearest friends, worked on many things I’m genuinely proud of and have truly enjoyed the life I only used to dream of living.
One of the highlights of my career was a moment during one of those WWDC keynotes where Steve mentioned by name something I had worked on.
It’s not hyperbole when I say that all of it, in some way or another was made possible thanks to Steve’s vision, inspiration, and life’s work. His work and philosophy will inspire me for the rest of my life.
Thank you, Steve. Rest in peace.