The first time the Apple caught my eye, I must’ve been just starting out in high school. I was just a kid, excited about the possibilities of a new experience at a new school, standing at the precipice of a new journey in my life. Kind of like where Apple Inc was pre-iPhone, in their path to forging a new epoch of digital technology.
After becoming infatuated with the elegance and sleek design sense of One Infinite Loop, I soon learnt of a man called Steven P. Jobs. I read that he was a college dropout, that he’d started his fledgling business with two friends in his garage, and had gone on to become quite a success story. In other words, your usual Silicon Valley startup fairytale.
The closer I began following the happenings of this Cupertino behemoth, the more I began learning not about their technological products, their prowess or increasing market consumption, but about the man at the fore of all this: Steve.
To most of you, Steve Jobs was just “that iPod guy”. But to me he was something more: an inspiration. A role-model. As I journeyed through my years at high school, Steve transformed, in my eyes, from an obscure techno guy “living the dream” in Silicon Valley, to an icon for me: a blazing light that guided me, inspired me, taught me to strive for perfection and have a keen sense of detail. To live humbly, and be bold: to never settle for second best in anything I attempted to undertake. He taught me to think different.
He certainly was a visionary for me. An exciting person, someone who I’d relish in the opportunity to have a conversation with, even for a mere few minutes: I’d cherish those for an eternity. Alas, this was of course not meant to be, seeing as I live half-way across the world from the “mothership” – Apple HQ.
It may sound childish, perhaps a little strange to some of you, but I actually relished in the opportunity to prepare an English presentation, particularly because it provided me with an opportunity to emulate Steve. I would spend hours scrutinising his presentation skills, his design sense, his style. He left an indelible mark on me. I soon realised that no-one could ever attain his stature of public speaking and presentation, and his words at the 2005 Stanford Commencement Ceremony remain etched in my mind: we’re on this Earth for a short time only. Don’t try to be someone else; be yourself, and in so doing, innovate. Push the world forward as much as you can whilst you walk its surface, for you never know when your end may arrive.
When I woke up on the morning of October 6th, I realised how sudden life could be. Whilst the world mourned the loss of a great visionary, to me it felt like I had lost a dear friend. It’s still a little difficult for me to comprehend. Sure, this may sound a little weird – I’ve never met the legend in person. But every time I pick up my iPod to listen to a song or watch a film, or fire up my MacBook to write or work, I feel Steve’s presence exuded through the frugal industrial design. Steve didn’t create machines for us, he created vessels through which we may see the world in a different light, and through this, try to improve it in our own small way.
He lived his life with grace, honour and humility. He was certainly a supernova amongst the stars of our civilisation; a unique man who echoed his work ethos in his personal life, and vice versa. I feel a void created in the wake of his loss; the world has certainly lost a remarkable individual.
Steve Jobs was a beacon for me. And he will remain etched in my mind forever. A true innovator; a pioneer. My deepest condolences go forth to his family, and to the men and women of Apple Inc. I wish the team all the best as they continue to push the human race forward in the shadow of this titan, and have faith that Apple will continue to rise to even greater heights, whilst honouring the vision that Steve had – of a connected future where technology helps to shape and connect lives. His legacy lives on.