Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Moment for Steve Jobs

Earlier this evening, I emailed my staff about the passing of Steve Jobs.   Many responded that they were genuinely sad.

It's not about being Apple "fanboys" or disliking the competition.   It's about recognizing the possibilities for what might have been if Steve had lived longer.

In some ways, his death seems like Faustian bargain - revolutionize the world with products beyond our imagination, then die too young.

In my life, I crossed paths twice with Steve Jobs.

As an undergraduate at Stanford from 1980-1984, I met Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs at the Stanford Computer Club and saw early demonstrations of Apple II, III, and Lisa products.   I taught the first undergraduate personal computer course at Stanford in1981, using Apple products in an era when the Stanford Computer Science department told me that personal computers were a fad that soon would end.

In 1983, Steve Wozniak's mom called me and asked me to design an electronic greeting card for the Woz's 33rd birthday.    To this day, I hold the patent on all e-cards, both the paper type that play music and those you send over the internet.

Steve Jobs was at the party where my card was demonstrated for the first time.

I bought a Mac SE30 in 1990.

I was an early adopter of the NeXT cube and used it to develop all my early web applications at BIDMC when I first arrived in 1996.

My Windows years were limited to 1995-2006.   Since then I've used MacBooks, iPads and iPods as my hardware devices.    This year, I'll retire my Blackberry and replace it with an iPhone 4S.

Thanks Steve, you really made a difference.

2 comments:

Brian Ahier said...

A fitting tribute to a great man. Thanks John!

annamarie saarinen said...

Well said John...we should all aspire. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” #iSad