A Jobs Well Done

As the world is now all too aware, the iconic, revolutionary genius Steve Jobs has slipped his mortal coil and left this life.

Like so many, I learned of his passing on one of the devices he created. That’s been said all over the web today, but really think about that for a moment.  I mean, wow.

Another thing I’ve heard like a zillion times today, “he lost his battle with cancer”.  And I don’t like it. Maybe it’s just me, but the word “lost” smacks of failure. And this man did not fail.

I believe he was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (one of the nastiest of the cancers, by the way) in 2004, a year prior to his absolutely amazing commencement speech at Stanford; that my friends was seven years ago.

At the time of his diagnosis, he related during that speech, the doctors told him to go home and get his affairs in order, and gave him no more than six months to live.

Six months ended up lasting seven years.  I don’t know about you, but that isn’t “losing”.

I think I’m so sensitive to hearing that phrase, “lost their battle”  because my own beloved Mother also died of cancer. Breast cancer. She had first been diagnosed (and similarly told to go home and “say goodbye to your baby daughter” I might add) when I was one. She turned what was then a very optimistic 5-year survival rate for the disease into forty-four years.  That’s not losing a battle; that’s kicking ass.

But I digress.  Back to Steve Jobs…

This guy has been a part of my life for more than half of it.  I can still remember my first computer, a Mac Plus. I learned to type on that thing.

I began to dream of being a writer because of it.

Eventually I went mobile and got a Powerbook 100.  And I think I was like the only person who actually bought a Newton.

(Cue the sound of crickets chirping in the silence of the evening as you furrow your brow and wonder what the heck a Newton was. Go Google it, you’ll be surprised. I’ll wait.)

Those devices shaped who I am. I hatched my future on them.

Okay, maybe not on the Newton…

Fast forward to a decade later when I visited the Apple Campus in Cupertino with a Design class. I was privileged to meet the man himself, only that one time, but to be honest once was really all it took. The iPod wasn’t even out yet, but that impromptu lunch single-handedly turned me into a lifelong she-geek.

I have owned every iPod released, including the very first one. I remember as though it was yesterday, going to Fry’s Electronics with my then boss over lunch break the first day they hit the stores.

Even a decade later, I still get chills when I remember how it felt opening my very first iPod box that day.  Five gigs of music in my pocket?! “Insanely great”. And it really was.

Today, thanks to Steve, I can take for granted that my entire music collection is in my pocket, along with a few of my favorite movies (most of them Pixar films as it happens – I was offered a job there before Toy Story, but turned it down for a start-up that has since gone under. A brilliant move in my long history of face-palm worthy brilliant moves that have kept me poor but given me good stories to write about.)

I watched the keynote for the iPhone 4s yesterday on my iPad2 and I am writing this post on a MacBook Pro.  This man was my Disney. I don’t have Mickey Mouse anything. My home is filled with Apple.

I’m nobody.   No one of consequence by the world’s standards. Just a spunky east coast girl who decided to get as far away from home as she could without crossing an ocean and attend college in California, who was fortunate enough to intern in Silicon Valley and who happened to one day shake hands with a man who truly revolutionized the way we all experience and interact with the world around us.

The legacy Steve Jobs leaves behind is obvious and remarkable. But business savvy, technological genius, elegance of design and wicked cool gadgetry aside, the personal legacy he leaves behind for one little nobody is this:

To “stay hungry and stay foolish” of course. To be yourself no matter what. To never give up on your dream even when people think it’s crazy. That if someone shakes their heads at you and calls you stubborn, to take it as a compliment.  To always keep learning. To trust your gut (and your heart). To never stop evolving.

And, no matter what happens, no matter what your path brings you to, no matter how big a brick life hits you over the head with…no matter what, no matter what, no matter WHAT…

Have faith in your inner voice and keep connecting the dots. You may just discover

One.  More.  Thing.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SNARLing
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 23:48:49

    awesome tribute! i was also a mac girl (on account of that art thing, and you know, the mac, always since day one – better graphics). i remember typing my thesis on one of those all-in-one boxy things and my first computer was actually a clone – one of those power computing babies.

    i was also really bummed i was when i heard he died. this guy has shared so much and really opened our world to incredible things. even just his attitude on life – way too awesome. i love how so many people have taken the time out to pay tribute to this guy. he definitely lives. right there with jim morrison and elvis. steve jobs lives!

  2. Heather Winterton (@HeatherHolistic)
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 11:19:22

    What beautiful writing and a great tribute. Cancer is such a disgusting disease.

  3. thezeitgeistofzoe
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 14:32:18

    thanks you guys : ) there are a ton of tributes, posts, remembrances and the like all over the web, but i couldn’t help throwing my own into the mix none the less.

    i still marvel that the death of someone i met only once (and very briefly) can be so profound a thing. i guess because the man was…

  4. J
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 19:06:59

    Amazing post and tribute to his legacy. And you are right- he didn’t lose- he triumphed.

  5. Rori Lieurance (@RoriRants)
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 23:20:07

    Another freaking brilliant post. Nice.

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