Yesterday Steve Jobs announced his illness is worse than he originally thought, and he’s taking a six month leave of absence from Apple. Whether or not he will be back in six months is questionable, but this is no doubt the beginning of the transition away from the iCeo.
Steve Jobs created the personal computer industry and made computing what it is today. Beautiful hardware, the best software in the world, digital songs on your iPod, HD movies on your Apple TV. None of this would exist without Steve Jobs. He has been able to push new standards, make deals with the media companies, and take risks on new products that no one else would touch. He runs Apple like a dictator, and he’s usually right.
Without Steve Jobs, we would all have Dell computers running Windows. Windows would be even worse than it is today. The scariest part is we wouldn’t even think to expect more. Google would still exist, but if Microsoft is an American car, Google is like a Toyota. It’s definitely better, and gets the job done. But how boring. I want a BMW.
Without Steve Jobs, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I got my first computer in 1992 at the age of 12. It was a Macintosh LC II. I have never owned a PC in my life and I hope I never will. It’s because of Steve’s Apple that I became passionate about computers and went into Computer Science. It’s because of Steve that I became passionate about *good* software, usability, and design. It’s because of him that I am as picky and snobby as I am, and I think that’s a good thing. I demand the very best, and I think everyone should.
Without Steve Jobs, there would be no Posterous. We probably wouldn’t have decided to create another web publishing tool. But if we did, it wouldn’t have the elegance and simplicity that it does. It would probably be some obtuse geeky thing that no one can understand, but they put up with. We always say we are doing Posterous “the Apple way” but I wonder if it’s really “the Steve way.”
I’ve had an amazing run with Apple. It’s definitely going to be different now. I interned with Apple in the summer of 2001, and then worked for them full time for 6 years. It was incredible to be on the inside of that company, especially during that period when Steve Jobs turned the company around.
At the end of 2001 I waited in line for 21 hours to be the first person to enter the Palo Alto Apple Store. Yes, it was crazy. But I met every Apple executive of the time, and I had a real one on one conversation with Steve Jobs himself.
Also in 2001, I attended the introduction of the very first iPod. I was in the audience in Town Hall, surrounded by the media, Steve Jobs just a few feet from me, for the first time unveiling this device that changed everything. A $400 mp3 player? “It will never fly.” Well, the rest is history. You can actually see me in the audience in this Youtube video, at 5 minutes, 30 seconds.
Get well, Steve! I hope you’re back at Apple soon.