Steve Jobs’ death one year ago today has caused me to look back and reflect more than almost any other event I can recall. I remember exactly where I was – sitting in a restaurant, celebrating my sister’s birthday, when I received a text message with the news. Like many others, those three words stopped me in my tracks: “Steve is gone.”
That single moment, frozen in time, affected me much more deeply than I would ever have imagined just a handful of years prior. I learned how to use a computer on my father’s Apple II – but in the tears that followed, I grew apart from Apple, and towards Microsoft and Windows.
It wasn’t long ago that I, a self-employed tech consultant, computer repair and maintenance technician, and Windows guru, looked down my nose at Apple in distaste. Macs were only for artsy types. For fun. Bill Gates and Microsoft had gotten things right, and Apple was desperately trying, and failing, to catch up in the technology world.
That all changed my first year of college. The university had a bargain running on some MacBook Pros from the previous year, and being unable to afford the Windows laptop I really would have wanted, I made the jump. I bought one. And nothing has ever been the same since.
In the seven years that followed my transition, I purchased an iPhone, and then another about a year later. I upgraded that MacBook Pro a few times. Then came the iPhone 4. When the first iPad came out, I hesitated – it didn’t run OS X apps, and I was disappointed. Then I tried one for myself, and once again, found myself reconsidering what it really meant to create a useful, revolutionary product. Somehow, Apple knew what I, and so many others, wanted – even before they wanted it.
In the midst of this transition, I began writing about technology – first, reviews of Apple-related products and accessories, then later, news and editorials. That eventually resulted in having the job that I have today, which I love and wake up excited for every single morning.
I now stand here in front of a Thunderbolt Display, hooked to a MacBook Pro. There are an iPhone 5 and a 3rd-gen iPad on my desk. There’s a Mac Mini living in my basement, and I’m sure that whatever Apple next big thing happens to be, that will find a way into my home as well.
Now, seven years later, I look back on my transition from PC to Mac – the way it has completely changed the way I think about technology, and thoroughly transformed my views on computing, design, marketing, and so much more. And today, I pay tribute to the man who made this all possible.
Who would have thought that what Steve Jobs started in 1976 in a garage in California would impact my life so deeply? Who would have imagined that listening to a commencement speech delivered at Stanford University would one day encourage me to break free and live my own life?
Today, in deep reflection, I still feel that deep sadness from the void – the dent in the universe – caused by Steve Jobs’ passing one year ago. I still feel the same sadness I felt one year ago. Today, I pay tribute to The Crazy One – to the man who completely changed the way I thought about technology, to the man who revolutionized consumer technology at least four separate times, and the man to whom I owe my job – my livelihood – at this very moment.
Thank you, Steve Jobs. Today, I raise my glass to you. You said you wanted to leave a dent in the universe, and so you have. You made the world, particularly my world, a far better place. Thanks to you, my universe has changed for the better – and nothing will ever be the same again.