When I heard this evening about the death of Steve Jobs, I immediately thought about the huge influence he has had on my life over the last 30 years.
I started learning programming on an Apple II. Actually it was a clone because my dad wouldn't "pay extra for a brand." He paid dearly when we replaced the motherboard three times.
I earned my first computer, a Macintosh 512K, doing custom programming for my brother's company.
I made my living working at an Apple dealer and later writing custom Mac software until I went to work for a Mac development tools company in Silicon Valley. In 1994 I left for Austin, Texas where I founded Real Software because there were no good rapid application development tools for the Mac.
My kids have been growing up watching Pixar movies. And when I saw the trailer for Finding Nemo, I knew Pixar was something special so I bought Pixar stock and held it until they were bought by Disney.
I watched Steve Jobs bring Apple back from the brink to amazing success. Apple is certainly the greatest corporate turn around in history. From the iMac to the iPod, to the iPhone and the iPad, he has left his mark on the world of technology.
Steve Jobs truly was a visionary. He was often way ahead of his time and never allowed the limits of what others thought possible to stop him. He was a relentless taskmaster (based on what the people I know that worked for him) but that was just what came with the package.
What I learned from Steve Jobs was to not be afraid to dream big, to be passionate about what you do for a living and to never accept "just good enough."
I had never really realized until tonight that my entire adult life has been so impacted by the vision of Steve Jobs. This might make me sound like an Apple fanboy, but really, I'm just a fan of great products that enable people to do things they couldn't have done without them. Steve Jobs was always great at making great things.
Whether you liked him or hated him, he was a genius. Only a fool would deny that.
But now he's gone, far too early and the world is diminished.
So long, Steve. We'll miss you.