Saturday, October 06, 2012

Steve Jobs…1 year ago

Steve

So today began like every other day except in the back of my head there was a thought hitting me all day long that said "It's been a year, can you f**king believe it!" and all day long the answer was "NO, I can't".

A year since the passing of a friend due to a disease that could have been wiped out years ago if only the focus of the world was more into helping the greater good than arguing over land or issues related to race, or things that really in the greater scheme of things matter less and less each and every day.

To only see the world through the eyes of the one Steve Jobs if just for a day. Well every day more and more I see things as he did and I smile as I do because his focus was truly on things that mattered and made a difference in lives of people everywhere. He had a vision and that was of a better, more connected world, one which was not based solely on money or the desire to be rich in the way that money makes you rich. His desire was that you be rich in other ways and it was up to you to reach inside of you and see those ways and bring them to the surface so that others could more readily appreciate you.

I met Steve many years ago on a sidewalk in Palo Alto, CA. He had turned the corner and was heading my direction and we casually greeted each other. Not always the recluse as some claim he was. The next day it was "Hey", and the following day it was "Mike, right?" and so on until it was a head peeking in the door of the store I worked at and a voice saying "Mike, got time for coffee?" and so on. I got to know the Man who others sought to hang out with but never could reach.

After those times of coffee and a muffin, I drank coffee, he didn't, but we did chat about much then, there was a parting as I left that particular store and went onto other things before heading to MacWorld one day and meeting the gang from PIXAR. Completely forgetting that Steve had purchased the company from George Lucas, I sought to know the folks at PIXAR because i really liked what they were doing in graphics and knew they had a future. I saw things for that company which have come to fruition along the way. It was fun when I did finally get to work there, because walking in the door, I was seen by someone I'd met a few years before and he said "Welcome to Pixar, your dream came true!" That was Steve.

And as time went forward I got to spend moments with Steve and listen to him as well as share ideas and observations with him. At the time I was a very reactive individual and he was fascinated by that as his zen-like state all the time at least around me was pervasive in clearing out the reactions and holding a space for brilliance to shine through. We talked much about the state of tech, about Apple at the time which was floundering, and about what the future of computing, and technology would bring to the world and the greater good of mankind.

Our conversations were and are private and not to be shared. Sorry, but when someone gives you a gift of their time at level of which Steve gave it, there's a degree of confidentiality which shall not be broken. Let's just say I feel honored and humbled to have shared time with him and to answer for him even the simplest of questions when he said to me at times "I don't get it." Yes, he was if anything human. As cancer proved that by taking him from us he was fallible. He also had an amazing heart and always wanted to know "How are you doing?" "Everything good?" Alright, let's talk about... and off we'd go, him in that unmistaken bouncing step of his, thoughts streaming quickly as if they were being played from a recording as he went on and on about things in tech, in life, observations about nature and its simplicity, the focus...well lets just say that at the time there was a focus on the future and what it would bring, but not any product specific observations although there was talk of VR and how it could be used in such a way to help people get unplugged from their desktops and be completely mobile at a degree unrealized in tech as of yet. I shared with him thoughts around sight and gesture based entry of text, but from the point of using the eyes and thoughts as the way to enter things. Thinking them vs. keying them in. He found that to be fascinating and for a while tried to think of how to create such a connection. We never sketched things out but I could see the wheels turning when we shared time on these things.

So today as the anniversary of his passing happens, I am filled with thoughts of those times we spoke. Of the jokes he played, of the song he hummed as he walked along in between thoughts, of his muse and his questions.

I laugh as I read what the "writers" of some of the "tech" blogs write about Apple being in the shadow and Apple not doing this or not doing that or falling on its side because Jobs is not there. But see, Jobs is there. He's ingrained in their thoughts. So what if the product intros are not the same flavor or flare as when Steve was around. Steve's watching from above. He's in a better place and he's fine with the way things are going.

Apple will continue on for a long time and as time moves forward, Apple will look to the past and understand that's been written and helped it get to where it is now, but it must look deep within and outside of the box as well to find those things which it can innovate or outrightly create which will help the greater good more than what it's got on the shelves at this time.

For those complaining about the hiccups in the maps program, the message is simply "things happen". Apple will resolve this issue as it finds out what resources it needs to draw on and how to evolve what the app should or shouldn't do. It was never meant to replace Google Maps at any level, it was meant as a demo for others to look at and program around as so many other apps are as well. Apple leads by example and then provides the tools needed for developers to create solutions from. That's why there's an SDK for developing software for a specific iOS version and there continues to be these as software and hardware evolves.

Now what Apple may wish to do is to encourage developers, even hold a contest for the best revision of the Maps app so as to draw out new potential programming resources for that project going forward. Apple has been known to groom talent from outside the company and then bring them in to help move things forward. iMovie is a great example of that. So management should not be sitting around twiddling its fingers over Maps. They should find some external talent, import it and never let this happen again. But that's the job of the current CEO, not the old one speaking from beyond.

In closing it was an honor to know Steve. It was fun to share time with him and to be a sounding board for even the simplest of things when he wanted to share a thought or a joke, or just to chat about whatever came to mind in the instant. Once he knew I was at PIXAR, he stopped by often and shared openly a lot with me. I am humbled by that time and am forever grateful to that first day we met and for all that came afterwards.

Thanks for the memories Steve. You will never be forgotten.

RIP

Michael

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits