Thank you, Steve Jobs

I have to go off topic for a moment to remember Steve Jobs and what his products have meant to me. The last 20 years of my life would not have been possible without him, and this blog would not exist.

I started off my professional career as a typesetter for a newspaper. It was an unlikely career choice as I  knew nothing about computers and had barely passable typing skills. My hometown newspaper, however, was training and I took the job. I found I had a real talent for learning the computer and making it work for me.

Typesetting back then was done on a dedicated system. Several years later, I met the Macintosh for the first time at another newspaper. At first I didn’t like it. The mouse was hard to get used to, the Mac didn’t have the programming capability of the typesetting machine . . . I had my doubts.

But once I got used to the mouse, I was hooked! I had always enjoyed art but had limited ability. The Mac unlocked something inside of me and I just had to have one. Isn’t that the typical story of every Apple user?

I remember spending over $4000 for my first Mac, a an SE and it was so worth it. I “acquired” software for it (yep, I’ve been a software pirate) and started learning desktop publishing. This skill opened the door to endless possibilities and unleashed a resourcefulness I never knew I had. The products of Steve Jobs helped me discover and develop skills I never knew I had.

Apple products made it possible for me to have a career as a musician covering some 18 years.  With a shoestring budget, I was able to create 4 CDs of music (with help, of course!), doing all the artwork and promotion myself. I even ventured into producing and recording music on my own.

For 10 years I wrote, designed and produced an e-magazine supporting a community of Catholic musicians. I was able to travel around the country and meet many wonderful people, and in the process became empowered. A natural introvert and loner, I emerged from my shell. Although I no longer actively pursue music, my songs live on through iTunes and Amazon, and I make a nice little profit through digital sales of music. It helps support my reading habit. 🙂

Apple products got me into podcasting where I rediscovered a gift I had long forgotten about – public speaking. As a kid, I was always the one who loved to give the book reports in front of the class, armed with a killer poster.

The skills I acquired during my music career have made this blog possible. My love of reading, long dormant, reawakened and blogging has taken it to new heights. And once again, I am meeting many wonderful people while I work to contribute to Louisa May Alcott’s lore in some small way.

Thank you, Steve Jobs. You were insanely driven to create beautiful yet functional products that would do so much more than just work. You strove to unlock the creativity in others that you found in yourself. They say you knew what the world needed before the world knew it needed them.

Your products certainly unlocked and unleased an amazing new life for me.

When I heard the news of Steve’s passing, I was holding my iTouch in my hand. I was surprised how emotional I felt, crying over someone I had never met.

And yet, every day I will hold the legacy of Steve Jobs in my hand, reading books by Louisa May Alcott.

Thank you, Steve Jobs! God rest your soul.


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5 Replies to “Thank you, Steve Jobs”

  1. Thank you, Susan. You provide many personal examples of how the right technology can change lives for the better. Your career story has parallels to mine. In 1969 I took an administrative job and one of my first assignments was to evaluate a text-editing system the company was starting to use. There was great resistance to it by those who were committed to the old ways. I went off for the training and came back with a simple report: “It’s wonderful! Keep it.” That was my introduction to interactive computing, and I never looked back. You had something similar with the succession of Apple products. We need to honor Jobs and Gates and Wang and all the others who didn’t wait for our approval before they pursued their visions.

  2. In the last 24 hours I have seen a lot of posts, videos and articles about the passing of Steve Jobs where people say his claim to fame was overrated. Obviously there’s no respect even in death, but the guy took something that was essentially going to be thrown out and, over the years, developed and marketed some of the most useful communication and computing technologies the world has ever known.

    Selfishness is the only explanation for behavior like this.

    RIP, Steve Jobs, and Fare thee well.

  3. I owe my professional career to Steve Jobs. When I bought my first Macintosh I was impressed with the design: quiet and not a barrier between me and whoever was sitting across from me at my desk. That design integrity surrounds me every day, whether I’m making a phone call, shopping at an Apple Store, or relaxing with an iPad on my lap.

  4. Great people, I think, do more than create great things, they also inspire great things in others. Steve Jobs inspired a generation and it’s obvious by your comments that he affected many individual lives. Louisa was like that too – the list of great women she inspired by her character of Jo March is a mile long, and she is still inspiring women today.

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