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Though Steve Jobs Is Gone, My Apple Love Will Go On

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on October 7, 2011

Good bye Steven P. Jobs.  Though I only stood near you on a couple of occasions, I feel like I know you as a member of my own family.  Your wisdom and drive, your creativity and passion, and your future focus, have all inspired me.  The technology created by your company has empowered me on every level.  I’ve been able to do whatever I could dream of doing, thanks to you.  You have filled my life with possibility, opportunity, and you even taught me my most important lesson about business.  And I remember how it all started.

It was 1985.  A friend had a Mac 512 and left me alone with it.  I hit the button and heard that lovely chime and saw the happy face.  I was completely smitten, and started saving up to buy one.

1986, bought two Apple products, an Apple IIGS (autographed) for my daughter, and a Mac Plus for me.  That was the beginning of it.  That same year, I got a phone call from a graduate of the Magical Nature of Communication seminar (the first training program I ever built and delivered, starting in 1980.)  She had gotten a job with Apple, and felt that the kind of communication training I offered would be valuable to the company.  She asked me to send her a proposal, and she promised to get it into the right hands.

Here it was, my first year using their products, and I was already completely in love.  I would have done the program for free, and considered myself fortunate.  But the proposal needed a price tag.  So I low balled it, offering to do anything I could for next to nothing.  How did that turn out?  I didn’t get the job.  And when I asked what had gone wrong, her answer was this simple:  “You didn’t charge enough. They figured you couldn’t be very good.”    Thanks to that lesson, I learned to value what I do before asking for others to value it too.  Though I was disappointed, I was also schooled, and that lesson continues to serve me to this day.

Rather than turning me off, this ‘rejection’ fired me up somehow.  I became a completely enthralled Apple fanatic, and eventually, a hardened veteran of the platform wars.  (I engaged in verbal and written flames with anyone who said anything against Apple.)

I signed up to be on Guy Kawasaki’s Evangelist, writing letters and making furious calls to journalists spinning against my beloved Apple whenever Guy directed us to do so. I complained loudly and bitterly to anyone who would listen every time I saw the word ‘beleaguered’ in a news story about Apple.

I went to every Macworld in San Francisco, just to be surrounded with likeminded souls wearing the same expression on their faces that I so often saw in the mirror.  An expression I can best describe as ‘kid in a candy store.’

I was there when Steve came back, and in Steve I trusted.  I bought stock at $12 a share, because I was not going to allow this amazing company to sink beneath the waves of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt, a marketing technique employed by Micro$oft to maintain their monopoly hold on the tech marketplace).   I’ve stood close to Steve at Macworld, but as is my habit in the presence of my heroes, I don’t introduce myself,

I provided free tech support for every friend who switched to a Mac, sometimes that meant helping up to 30 or 40 people a year.

Every new advance, I jumped into it, mastered it.   I remember sitting at a conference with a friend, networking our Powerbooks with PhoneNet connectors.

Hacking the interface became a favorite pastime, particularly at board meetings.  This had two effects:  It kept me from getting bored, and gave others the impression that I was hard at work.

When OSX came out, I immediately installed it on a partition expecting to play with it on weekends.  That lasted one weekend, then I just switched over.

I still have every installation disk of every operating system.   I also have every issue and CD from the first year of MacAddict magazine, which was born out of the desire to keep Apple alive at a time when Wired Magazine was running a cover image of Apple’s logo wearing a crown of thorns, and with the caption, ‘Pray.’

I’ve owned a Plus, a IIsi, and two iMacs, including a fairly current 24″.   I’ve purchased every generation of iPod, gave iPods as gifts too. I’ve got at least 5 iPods sprinkled around the house.  I currently own an iPad 1 and an iPad 2.  I’ve had 4 iPhones to date, the iPhone 1, 3 and 3gs, and now the 4. I’ve had two towers, including the G3 in bondi blue, and a graphite G4.  I owned the first 21″ cinema display with the octopus cable.   I’ve had every other generation of almost every Apple product, including several Powerbooks and MacBooks and Macbook Pros.   I still have one of my old PowerBooks (Lombard model…you know, the one with the bronze keyboard and those awesome curves and glowing white apple on the lid.)

I could go on.  My devotion to all things Apple knows no end.  I’m weeping today at this terrible personal loss, and this terrible loss for the world.  Steve was still so young.  There was so much more he could have done.   I wish Steve could go on.  And he can’t.  As he himself said in that famous Stanford graduation speech, “Death is Life’s greatest invention.”

Thank you Steve Jobs for the difference you’ve made in my life, my family’s life, my community, my country and my world.  You were one of the crazy ones, and you were a vocal champion for people like me, misfits who think different.  You gave me the tools to realize my ambitions. I don’t know how to relate to a world that you’re not in.  I’ll find a way.  We all will.  But our world is immeasurably better for your having been in it.  And I’ll not forget that I was witness to your genius, up close, and it felt very personal.  Rest in peace, Steve.  From now on, October 5 will be my day of yearly remembrance for all you were, all you gave, all I gained because of you.

From a poem by Catullus

Through many peoples and many seas have I travelled
to thee, brother, and these wretched rites of death
I bring a last gift but can speak only to ashes
Since Fortune has taken you from me
Poor brother! stolen you away from me
leaving me only ancient custom to honour you
as it has been from generation to generation
Take from my hands these sad gifts covered in tears
Now and forever, brother, Hail and farewell.
Readers, your remembrances are most welcome.  Be well.  Love your family.  Do good things.

Rick

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