That would be Steve Jobs. The one who had a vision to make computers personal. I don’t think I am overstating it.
At first, he only infiltrated my work life. For designers, his products changed everything about how we work. We went to college in the stone age, in the seventies. When we crafted everything by hand. There have been many times when we have mourned for the days of handcrafted comps, hand set type, cutting skills…hand skills we called them. It took years to develop, and then they were no longer necessary, as we could whip through ideas and comps and layouts in hours, rather than days. Our studio was known as a hold out, because we always required our designers to sketch before they got on the computer. And Steve still works at a drawing table. But I have lost track of how many Apple computers I have purchased over the years. Fifty? More? Possibly more.
And then the computers came home. And eventually everything else changed. Letters, creative writing, music, photography, homework, phone calls, games, movies, reading. In our family, we all have Apple laptops, and three of us have iPhones (Kate would have one if the plans weren’t so expensive in Canada). We have an iPad. The iPods and Shuffles float around, with keys and sunglasses, always ready for a trip to the gym. In our family, we fight over the charger more than anything else. The other night Alex made a joke that while we had the tv on (St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Phillies), we all had our laptops out. She said, “well, we’re all doing our own thing, but at least we’re together in the same room.”
I remember our first computer at the studio, I remember my first laptop that I took to India, and started this blog. My first iPod, iPhone, iPad (and boy, did we make jokes with that name, and predicted a huge flop, guess we were not exactly right, eh?)…the devices that connect me to my writing, to my clients, to my family, my friends. To you.
I’ve followed Steve’s journey for many, many years (I was lucky enough to buy Apple stock in 1995, so what he did mattered to me in more ways than one). His vision to integrate design into every product, his ability to create products that we are delighted to use (and that we didn’t even know we needed). Even his failures were inspiring. I’ve revisited his 2005 Stanford Commencement address several times, and each time I read parts of it to Alex. A reminder that our journeys here aren’t a straight path. But with passion, creativity, humility, perseverance and a respect for great typography, the journey will take us some place we never imagined.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Thank you Steve Jobs. You were truly a visionary and an inspiration. And yes, you changed my life.