1982, I am working on a six month Government Internship at a teacher training college in Birmingham UK. Based in the Computer Lab at the college I was well placed to not only observe but to experience the ignition of the computer boom in the early 1980s
Computers were not exactly new to academic institutions but we are talking of the year the BBC Microcomputer was on the market, schools were buying them (as well as individuals who could afford one,) the ‘BBC Micro’ (as we called it back then,) was commissioned to accompany a show the BBC was producing called rather originally ‘The Computer Programme’. I wasn’t all that impressed with the BBC Programme nor their ‘Micro’ but rather by a couple of ‘Apple II Micros’ in the corner of the Lab. Above them, stuck on a wall was an article and picture about the Man and his Machine: Steve Jobs. I read the article and was enthralled.
This was not the last time I would encounter the Names Steve Jobs and ‘Apple’. Both were Symbiotic – Inseparable or so I thought.
1984 and Apple launches the Apple Macintosh and the world of computing changed overnight (if you could afford an ‘Apple Mac’. I couldn’t but cut my computing teeth on Amstrad’s CPC464 Micro – Which surprisingly wasn’t a bad machine but was no Mac. Years later in the mid-1990s I would cut my teeth on MS-DOS/Windows computers and never own a Mac but Steve Jobs was always in the background somehow. During the above, he was fired from Apple (the company he founded,) and formed an Animation Company called ‘Pixar’ and revolutionised the world of Computer Animation. Already a Millionaire many times over (in 1982 he was worth 150 Million), the success of Pixar and its eventual sale to Disney and his return to Apple made him a far wealthier Man. His return also rekindled the fire in Apple after more than a decade of drifting along. The 1980s gave us the Apple Mac, the 90s and the Millennium and beyond gave us the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Steve sadly, is no longer with us but his Legacy endues not just in the tech and the company he created but also that sense of innovation he cultivated still exists. It is all around us and long may that remain.
He also seem to have an opinion on everything and his thoughts often echoed his obsessive commitment to quality and all things Apple, be this on his approach to mistakes:-
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”
Or his attention to details:-
“Design is not what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.”
He had plenty to say on deeper matters also. Below is a roundup of some of his more thought-provoking words collected from various interviews and speeches: –
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.’
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle as with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to live what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle as with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night and saying we’ve done something wonderful … That’s what matters to me.”
“I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.”
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. just figure out what’s next.”
“Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘if you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.’
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
“I want to put a ding in the universe.”
“A solar-powered aeroplane is about to attempt to fly around the world.”