I was genuinely saddened by the passing of Steve Jobs. Being a fervent, resolute, card-carrying Mac user from the first day I started working, I asked myself what it was about the mac that could make me feel emotional about the death of its creator? And how it was that a computer could inspire me to work better or be more creative? After all, its just a computer like any other? But like photos or places I’ve visited, a computer holds memories and parts of my life (even more so now that we pour so much of ourselves into them) and in that sense a mac always felt more personal than any other personal computer. Back in the days when I first started using a mac, it felt more like a vocation, back then, owning or working on a mac was like being part of a special gang of people, with Steve Jobs as the leader. I always felt that working on a mac, I was somehow obliged to do better, honour bound to live up to the inventiveness and creativity of the tool I was working with. Also, in the beginning, before the internet was really underway, I and the other mac users I worked with, definitely felt like we were part of a global community of other (mac) users. And I can’t remember how many fights I’ve had over the years with different IT departments to persuade them to use macs and how fearful they seemed to be of them. Even now your typical tech support guy seems to have an innate fear of working with Mac’s, which I never understood as they are simplicity themselves to use? Well, if there is an afterlife, after life, I’m sure Steve Jobs is already up there, trying to figure out a way to to make it function more simply or look more beautiful.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005] Steve Jobs 1955-2011