The giant among us is now gone, a tremendous void has been created and it may be centuries if not eternity before we again see the towering brilliance of another Steve Jobs.
For those of us who were there, working daily within the commercial wild west called the computer industry, we saw first hand the evolution of the technology, the development of markets and the life changing effects that we brought into homes, business and institutions.
When I took the first Macintosh out of its box and began using it, the sense of absolute awe came over me and the realization that everything from that point forward would be different.
To the exclusion of all other systems that I had marketed, sold and supported before, the Mac became the system on which was built my life’s work. Although the Lisa was the first mass-market machine to incorporate the Graphical User Interface (GUI), its “designed by committee” originality, left it clunky and ill prepared to be long lasting.
On the other hand, the Henry Ford approach that Jobs took in designing the Mac using young people who didn’t have a clue in not being able to do something, delivered an elegant, streamlined, sophisticated and revolutionary device. An advanced system that was decades into the future and one that would change the course of not only the computer industry but virtually every aspect of our lives. Devices that have all the designers signatures of those models, molded into the case of every Macintosh.
I can remember trying to convince business people that they should purchase a Mac because of its incredible ease of use and being told they would have nothing to do with it because any computer that came with a mouse was a toy. Once when working with a potential client I made the statement that in the near future all computers would come with a mouse, whereupon the customer jumped up and said “that was the craziest thing he had ever heard” and stormed out of the store.
On the sales floor, owners of IBM’s running LOTUS would be shown how simplistic charts were done on Excel and they would whimper, but then go and spend more on an IBM that was built by a company prostituting the industry. A company that eventually destroyed the micro computer industries service culture and ultimately itself by thinking it was a computer company, instead of an information technology company.
So as IBM lay waste to their own success and those of others, Apple was saved and shepherded by the visionary master of future generations – Steve Jobs. A man whose singular vision of future worlds, brought us untold communities of technical societies. A man who single handedly changed everything we do to today.
The first major assault by the Macintosh upon a specific industry was publishing. The PageMaker program revolutionized publishing and lay waste to the once exclusive and prohibitively expensive typesetting industry. It was a combination of hardware and software that created a paradigm shift in publishing that not only changed the world of everyday publishing, but allowed for untold numbers of third world dictator-despots to be overthrown, through revolutionary publications driven by Macintosh power.
From the ATM you get cash from, the checkout lines in the grocery store, the system at the beauty salon, every click and nuance we do in this forum and even the computers I use every night to run a line with countless robots in manufacturing automotive parts, we owe to the visionary brilliance of Steve Jobs.
Goodbye my friend, you gave me some of the best years of my life and I am forever indebted to you and we will all miss you greatly. Upon your brilliance will we continue to aspire to greater heights, bore aloft upon devices that are without question - insanely great.