A life without Steve Jobs

There’s naturally quite a lot of sentimentality going around today. I usually shy away from public mourning, something I feel the likes of Twitter and Facebook have exacerbated, finding it often mawkish and lacking any sense of perspective. The crux of it is, today is unlikely to be any different for the vast majority of us and it’ll be much the same tomorrow.

But what about yesterday? What if Steve Jobs hadn’t returned to Apple in late 1996 and Apple had gone bust like so many industry experts at the time predicted? For most people who own an iPhone today, their life probably wouldn’t be any different. I cannot say the same for my own.

I got my first Mac in April 2000, thanks to my progressive parents. Yes, you had to be progressive, or barmy, to spend £1249 on a Mac at that time. I was the luckiest 13 year old around, owning a laptop was almost unheard of outside of the business world at that time (for those who are interested, it was the iBook G3 366MHz “Graphite SE” edition).

From that day on I was hooked. There were probably times when I should have been out cycling round the block a few times, getting fresh air, but were actually spent on Yahoo Mac Chat Rooms discussing how many USB ports I had or whether my graphics chip could handle Nanosaur at full res.

Over the years I’ve anticipated every one of Jobs’ captivating keynotes, often spending hours deliberating with fellow fans what would be released. Hours, not wasted, but savoured. And as the years went on, so did my experience and what I could do with my computer. At 14 I was making websites on my Mac for several small businesses, making money other 14 year olds could only dream of. Of course that money was spent on more RAM or a new monitor for my new PowerMac. At 17 I got my first job repairing Macs at Apple-Juice and at 22 I moved to Munich, Germany, to get a dream job at equinux, a Mac software company. At 24 I went on to start my own company, a Mac and iPhone app translation agency, Applingua.

It’s true to say I didn’t know Steve Jobs. I was never even lucky enough to get to see him speak live at MacWorld or WWDC. It’s also true to say I didn’t know what he was like behind that illuminated camera and according to many accounts, I’m not sure I ever wanted to either. So far-reaching were his decisions both at Apple and the tech-world as a whole, that it doesn’t matter if you knew the man personally or not. Almost every piece of tech you use today from your phone to your TV has, at some point during the design process, been influenced by Steve’s Apple in some way.

Choosing to be a geek, an Apple Geek no less, has brought me to where I am today. From fan-boy chat rooms at 12 years old to running Applingua, where I get to work with other Apple Geeks on a daily basis. Even as I write this, on my MacBook Air, I’m sitting at a desk opposite a good friend who I got to know working at that Mac software house, equinux.

As the Mac software developers Panic put it, “it’s not an exaggeration to say that everything we have today – from our apps, to our employees, to our office, to our houses, even to FaceTime moments with our kids and favorite songs fading in on an a rainy walk home – is thanks to Apple.”

This is my thank you, Steve. Thank you for changing the way the world approaches technology. Thank you for indirectly providing me with at least four separate jobs. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet some amazing people along the way.

Thanks Steve.

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