Steve Jobs Resigns…

  • August 24, 2011
  • Scott

Steve Jobs has resigned the CEO post at Apple.  And Twitter is alive with eulogies.  A little premature, perhaps.  But maybe not.  Either way, as Tim Cook takes the CEO helm and Steve moves to the board room, it is a good moment to take a step back and reflect on what Steve Jobs – and by implication, Apple – have meant for us.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball:

Reading around the web an hour ago, looking for confirmation of the then-minutes-old news that Steve Jobs had resigned as CEO, I repeatedly encountered and bridled each time at use of the adjective “shocking” to describe the announcement. But my initial resentment was unwarranted. This is not out of nowhere, it’s not even unexpected. We could all see this was coming — but it is a shock.

Om Malik posted a very personal take on the day’s news, more specifically troubled by Jobs’ health:

It is incredibly hard for me to write right now. To me, like many of you, it is an incredibly emotional moment. I cannot look at Twitter, and through the mist in my eyes, I am having a tough time focusing on the screen of this computer. I cannot hear the sounds of the street or the ring of my phone. The second hand on my watch moves slowly, ever so slowly. I want to wake up and find it was all a nightmare.

I don’t know Steve Jobs personally, but reading Om’s piece caused me to reflect a bit myself on the impact on my life.  Incidentally, Steve had a big impact on my course.  I was an avid PC user when I arrived at Stanford in the 90’s.  But Apple was the preferred platform, and I promptly bought one for writing papers and doing programming assignments.  But what really got my attention where the NeXT workstations in each residential computer cluster.  When I saw a class called “CS193d – programming on the NeXT”, I had to sign up.  It didn’t exactly jive with my “introduction to AI” course that required writing pages of prolog (fun).  The first assignment, to my recollection, was to build a graphical calculator application on the NeXT.  We had approximately 5 days to do it, and it took less than one.  I was hooked.

I didn’t realize it – but I had just set myself on a path.  A path of being interested in User Interface design, despite my lack of formal training.  A path that would take me to a computer science degree – partly because I really enjoyed writing applications on the NeXT.  And a path that would lead to a job in Austin, Texas.  I landed an internship thanks to my NeXT class and my determination to land the job.  And that internship gave me the object oriented design experience and work experience that I could talk about in job interviews, and actually landed me the job offers I received.  After I had accepted an offer with a little 50-person company in Austin, I got an email from someone at NeXT about interviewing there (I had submitted my resume many months earlier).  I politely declined, having already accepted a job – who knows how life would have turned out if I had taken the interview!

Fast forward and here I’m typing today on my MacBook Pro, oft-accused of being an Apple fan boy.  Well I’m guilty, because the Apple products I use have really improved my life.  And when you see your 2 year old swiping through photo albums on your iPad or iPhone, there are only two thoughts that go through your head:

  1. “That is amazing” – because there was no hope of this same child using your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile Phone (pre7) the same way.
  2. “Hm. I’m really going to have to clean that screen when he’s done” – because two-year-olds are messy.

I saw the stock was down quite a bit after-hours today.  But I think John Gruber said it well:

“Jobs’s greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.”


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