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Friday, October 07, 2011

A Personal Perspective About Steve Jobs

A lot of people will be writing and commenting on the passing of Steve Jobs.
I have a personal perspective of what Steve Jobs meant to our family.

When my son Darren was thirteen, I bought him his first computer. It was an Apple IIc. By today's standards, not much. Back then, however it was breakthrough technology. It brought the personal computer to our home and for our son, it was the start of a great career. Little did he know it at the time, but if not for Steve Jobs, he might not be where he is today, a very successful computer industry consultant who spent years working for one of Apple's competitors.

As he grew up, our son was able to learn and adapt to changing computer technologies. Many brought to life by Steve Jobs. He applied that knowledge all through his school years. He even build custom built personal computers in his garage while in College. He later went on to work for both the retail and software segments of the computer industry.  As Steve Jobs vision evolved, new products and services came of age, as did my son and millions of others. Steve Jobs' principle of using computer technology to make things easier to do, and creating ways to better communicate are the part of the legacy Steve Jobs left us. He not only inspired his people to develop some of the most innovate products around, he brought to our family a whole new way of living. Our children and grandchildren now grow up with simple, user friendly and easy to understand devices, that Steve Jobs envisioned way before they became a reality.  Our four year old grand daughter, Mia, even knows how to use an iphone.

I had the opportunity years ago to visit Apple's corporate offices in Cuppertino California. At the time I was a marketing executive with a major accounting software firm looking to migrate their products to the Apple MacIntosh platform. I meet Steve Jobs and Guy Kawasaki and the experience was an eye opener. Though I spent little time with Mr. Jobs, I did spend time with Guy. He could not stop talking about all that was Apple. At the end of meeting, he handed me his business card and I noticed his title. Software Evangelist.

In the early days of the Macintosh computer, the primary function of an evangelist was to convince companies like mine to write software products for the Macintosh. When people needed help from within Apple, evangelists were there to help. I found the term "evangelist" quite interesting. As Apple grew up, the term meant even more.
Steve Jobs believed in evangelism as an advanced form of word of mouth marketing in which companies develop customers who believe so strongly in a particular product or service that they try to convince others to buy and use it. The customers become advocates, actively spreading the word on behalf of the company. If you stop and listen carefully to owners of Apple products, you will hear that evangelism come across.

That trip to Apple's headquarters and what I heard is what inspired me, to buy my son's first computer, that Apple IIc. And the rest as they say, is history.

By the way, we still have that computer, tucked away in our basement. Never to be sold, always to be remembered, as the start of my son's outstanding career and will stand in memory of the person who's vision brought it and all the Apple devices that followed to all of us.

Thanks Steve Jobs.

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