Every photo of Steve Jobs reflects a clear stage in his life and in Apple’s history. At any point, one can say, “This one’s from the initial momentum of Apple.” Or, “Oh, that was when he was starting-up Pixar after getting fired for not being a ‘team player’ in the 80’s.” Or, “That’s the release of iTunes to sell songs in a way that prevents illegal downloading.” Or, “Ahh, yes, the first iPhone… three products in one.” Or, “Ahh, the resignation.” He was always developing and working on SOMETHING. Not long after starting one of his greatest passions, the Macintosh, he was maneuvered against and fired by the very man he hired, an ever-observing non-visionary who would oversee the degrade of Apple in the ten years that followed. Steve, however, saw the entire experience as a blessing in disguise. Having to start over, with Pixar, he was no longer bound by his success. And that “quark” of Apple past gave us the digital cinema beauty from Pixar we have today in films like Finding Nemo, Monsers Inc, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. Apple, also, learned of their need for the visionary, no matter how ugly the duckling was. After deciding to stop playing the game called “together” and rehiring Steve to resume the game, “I want to put a ding in the universe,” Apple swiftly developed into the leader we know today.
Was he Christian? The clear answer is that we don’t know. His religious beliefs had only been alluded to. What we don’t see is evidence of him having the same strange connections that many do in the celebrity field. He didn’t make it on friendships or hand shakes. Raised by adoptive parents and having dropped out of college, Steve changed the world with his own commitment to excellence and perseverance. His only complaint against Microsoft, his arch enemy of business, was that, “..they have no taste.” It was as if he took it personally that his competitors didn’t have better quality. For Steve, if the tide rose, all ships rose.
He may have voted Liberal, but he wasn’t a pioneer in the political field. Everyone votes.. or should anyhow. But even for that matter, Steve proved that not all Democrat voters are required to hate corporations and that not all big businessmen are Republicans—and I’m glad he did. He was never interested in being environmentally friendly until he realized that Apple customers were. When he went environmentally friendly, it was an actual increase in quality and dramatic decrease in waste, not just hype. As he saw it, Apple customers, “..rewarded [them] by continuing to be [their] customers.” To Steve, the environment was about people, not worshiping the earth. That was a Christian ethic, last time I checked. But regardless of what matters only God and Steve can settle, the deeper question is: What will we take from gift God only loaned to us for 56 years?
It is said that the mark of any leader is not what he accomplishes in his lifetime, but what follows. In a sense, since he led all of us, only the world will tell.
It all happened so fast. He came out of nowhere. The son of adoptive parents, not a wealthy family. He never showed interest in the trench and dropped out of college—the unavoidable key to success, so pop culture claims. He envisioned computers that weren’t complicated to use and we thought it to be a cult. He proclaimed a vision for practical use of technology that we thought was pie in the sky. He fought our entrenched assumptions, made us all better at whatever we do, graced us with gadgetry we spat at the idea of, and he didn’t care that we never had the change to thank him. Then, after one university engagement, after transforming telecommunications, technology, software, arts, music, gaming, publishing, education, business, movie making, leadership, presentation, and even innovation itself, he left without need to say goodbye.
Steve’s best contribution to my own life was his refusal to conform while he maintained an unexplained commitment to honesty, learning, quality, and the notion that an artistic mind and a computer could go together. Steve once pulled from Scientific research to point out a comparison of different animals and their traveling efficiency. Humans, with their own energy, were the about a third from the most efficient animal. “Not too proud of a showing for the crown of Creation.” But, when a human gets on a bicycle, no matter what kind of bicycle, it outperforms even the most efficient of all God’s creatures without question. To Steve, computers weren’t meant to be complicated, they bear the potential to unlock our own abilities. Computers can help artists express more, writers write better, teachers teach more of the unteachable, accountants keep better accounts .. Computers can empower us. With his experience a Pixar, as a digital artist, it’s no wonder Apple soared when the visionary returned. Experience makes all of us stronger. And why not? Was all this so hard with Steve and the company he loved? Of course it wasn’t. After all, Steve never did sell computers at all. He sold Apples.