Developing Perspective

#26 - Remembering Steve.


00:00:00   Hello, and welcome to Developing Perspective.

00:00:03   This is episode number 26.

00:00:04   My name is David Smith.

00:00:05   Today's going to be a slightly different show than I typically do with sort of links and

00:00:09   discussion.

00:00:10   Obviously, I'm going to be talking about Steve Jobs and his legacy and what that means for

00:00:15   me, what that has meant for my life, and so on.

00:00:18   So it's just going to kind of be some rambling thoughts of an Apple fanboy, I guess.

00:00:23   So let's get started.

00:00:25   I remember quite well when I the first time I ever saw Steve Jobs was at WWDC a couple

00:00:30   years ago. I believe he was introducing the iPhone 3GS. And it was kind of a strange thing.

00:00:36   I mean, I'm not that into into music. Very few, most people kind of have that experience

00:00:42   really. And they're going to a concert and the first time they see Bono walk out on stage

00:00:47   or whoever, I mean, I'm sure it was much like that back when the Beatles were doing their

00:00:51   It's like that first time you saw John Lennon or Ringo or any of those guys.

00:00:57   And I just remember it's kind of this strange thing of kind of getting up at three in the

00:01:00   morning, two in the morning to get in line for the keynote, just hoping that he would

00:01:04   be there.

00:01:05   Because at that point, we had no idea.

00:01:06   I mean, it was sort of 50/50 if he was going to be there or not.

00:01:10   His health at that point wasn't that great.

00:01:13   And so no one really knew what was going to happen.

00:01:15   And so I just remember just kind of sitting there and waiting and waiting and finally

00:01:19   get into the room waiting and waiting. And then out he comes. And he does his thing.

00:01:23   He does that thing that I think most of us will remember about him with where so much

00:01:30   of his life was private, so much of his business was private. There are very few opportunities

00:01:34   to kind of see Steve, see what he did, see what he was doing behind the scenes. We see

00:01:40   the outgrowths of his work, which are amazing, and the things that he use every day. I'm

00:01:46   sitting here on a desk surrounded by Apple technology.

00:01:49   You know, Apple Cinema displays, iMacs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, MacBook Pros, all kinds

00:01:55   of computers just surrounding me that are all things that he had a hand in making.

00:01:59   But we didn't know very much about him.

00:02:00   And we just had these little windows where we got to see him.

00:02:02   And we got to kind of, it's almost like sit, you know, sort of sit at his feet and hear

00:02:06   him talk about what was important to him, what was going on, what he thought was cool

00:02:10   about Apple, where they were going, and so on.

00:02:14   I remember him walking out on stage and kind of going crazy.

00:02:18   And going crazy in just a wonderful way,

00:02:20   that no one around me thought it was strange.

00:02:22   No one thought it was kind of weird.

00:02:23   That, hey, this is the CEO of a technology company.

00:02:26   It's like, get over it.

00:02:27   No, we were all excited.

00:02:29   We were there to see Steve do his thing, to hear his show,

00:02:33   and to understand where we were--

00:02:36   sort of what the next thing that we needed to care about was.

00:02:41   And that was just a privilege to have been there and watched

00:02:44   that.

00:02:44   And I remember the exact same thing happened this last WWDC a couple of months ago, which

00:02:51   I guess was his last keynote, which the same thing where I remember him coming out and

00:02:57   kind of doing the show and doing a couple of introductions.

00:03:00   And then it had that weird feeling where during that keynote, he's walking, he does a little

00:03:06   bit of introduction and then essentially hands over to the other guys, to Filler and Forstall

00:03:11   and the other guys to talk about what's going on.

00:03:14   And you kind of had the sense of, huh, is he not doing well?

00:03:19   Is this kind of the end of an era?

00:03:23   We've seen his last keynote, and he was just kind of here

00:03:25   to pass the baton on.

00:03:28   And then he comes out towards the end

00:03:30   and starts talking about iCloud.

00:03:33   And I just remember being absolutely struck

00:03:37   by how excited he was about iCloud,

00:03:44   how it seemed like what it was sort of getting towards

00:03:47   was this vision that he had for computing,

00:03:50   a vision for what he wanted computing to be for people.

00:03:56   And all of a sudden, it was possible.

00:03:58   All of a sudden, we're at a point where

00:04:00   the software and the hardware and everything kind of

00:04:03   works together.

00:04:04   And Apple's able to kind of fill this vision

00:04:06   I think he's had for years of this very integrated, totally seamless user experience that you

00:04:12   can be working on a document on one computer, you pick it up, you go somewhere else during

00:04:17   your iPad, you're doing it, you burn your iPhone on a train, you can still be using

00:04:21   it. And it's all kind of this interconnected, incredibly easy to use system. You could tell

00:04:26   that he was just excited. And I think that's one of the things that I always kind of sticks

00:04:30   with me is how, for all the things that he made, and I mean, you know, I'm sure we've

00:04:35   all heard the list go on and on where he made the iMac the personal computer. He saved Pixar,

00:04:41   he did the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, the iPad, all the, you know, the Unibody MacBook Pros were

00:04:47   done under his tutelage, the new MacBook Airs, all these crazy things. But he still was always

00:04:53   excited about it. And maybe that's just good showmanship. But I think you kind of get the

00:04:57   the sense that he really was excited. He really enjoyed. He really was happy to be doing that.

00:05:05   And that's just sort of contagious. That was sort of the reality distortion field, people

00:05:10   would call it. But he was excited about what he was doing. And that showed. And I think

00:05:17   that was one of the things that is just most striking about him is that he didn't take

00:05:20   very much, he didn't take things for granted. And he really cared about what he did. And

00:05:26   was gonna make, if he's gonna make a phone, he's gonna make the best phone possible. And

00:05:31   not even just possible, he's gonna push the limits of possible to a point that it's almost

00:05:35   absurd. And I remember when the iPhone first came out, and you're kind of like, what is

00:05:39   that? That's not a that's not a phone. That's what? You know, you get that point, you know,

00:05:46   all the phones were these, you know, the closest things to it were these like, you know,

00:05:50   Windows mobile devices and things. I mean, I was even a developer back in the day for a

00:05:55   Windows mobile devices and they're these kind of slow and clunky, you know, sort of work,

00:05:59   you had a stylus, and then all of a sudden he comes out with this, you know, capacitive

00:06:03   screen that's massive and beautiful and it's just kind of like, "Oh my goodness, what

00:06:08   happened?"

00:06:09   Yeah, and then, let's see, so and otherwise, it's just kind of a crazy thing.

00:06:15   Like I was thinking about my life as an Apple fanboy, as an Apple nerd, as whatever, and

00:06:22   And I was struck by how relatively short of a period I've been an Apple guy, and yet how

00:06:28   close I feel to Apple as a company, Steve Jobs as a founder.

00:06:33   You know, I got the receipt from the first Mac I ever bought.

00:06:36   It was a 2.33 gigahertz, 15 inch MacBook Pro.

00:06:40   I ordered it on October 29th in 2006, so about almost five years ago.

00:06:48   And you know, I still have pictures of unboxing it.

00:06:50   I remember at the time, it was the funny thing

00:06:53   that I got that MacBook Pro to run TextMate on,

00:06:57   that I was getting into Rails at the time.

00:06:59   I was doing some web development, and everyone said,

00:07:01   oh, you need to get a Mac.

00:07:02   And I remember getting it too,

00:07:04   because I was gonna do some consulting.

00:07:06   I was gonna do consulting with some government contractors,

00:07:09   with some people who kind of work

00:07:11   in those office environments that everyone has,

00:07:13   the exact same Dell latitude, C632982,

00:07:18   that's kind of boring, huge and clunky,

00:07:20   And I looked forward to walking into those meetings with them

00:07:24   with their massive, clunky computers that

00:07:26   look like they're cobbled together, because they are,

00:07:28   and open up this nice MacBook Pro.

00:07:31   And this wasn't even in the unibody days.

00:07:33   This is just an old, beat up--

00:07:36   so the old days, there was still aluminum,

00:07:39   and it was still incredibly light and incredibly thin.

00:07:42   And it still runs great.

00:07:43   I have it on my desk, and it works fine.

00:07:45   It's five years old, and I've stepped on it a few times.

00:07:48   I've dropped it many times.

00:07:51   And I remember unboxing that, and I have pictures of that.

00:07:54   And I just think it was just so striking how that looked

00:07:59   and how that was the beginning of an era.

00:08:02   I mean, I've never owned a PC since, I don't think.

00:08:07   No, I don't think so.

00:08:08   And I don't expect ever--

00:08:10   I will again.

00:08:11   I mean, I don't see a point in doing that in many ways.

00:08:15   I just want--

00:08:16   I just like the Mac.

00:08:17   the Mac works. And I think even beyond just sort of those things of like, oh, is this

00:08:21   one better than this? There's an aesthetic to it. There's a sensibility to the Mac that

00:08:26   just kind of makes sense, that everything's very thoughtful, thought out. And you get

00:08:32   the impression that the goal in mind is, you know, the goal as it was created was for my

00:08:41   benefit for my joy, for my, you know, it's designed with me in mind. It wasn't designed

00:08:51   with price in mind. It wasn't designed with ease of support, any of those types of things.

00:08:59   The goal was to make me happy. And that shows and that makes you feel that and you know

00:09:04   that.

00:09:05   I think my last sort of anecdote that I was going to talk about is I was going to talk

00:09:10   about my dad.

00:09:12   And when my dad got him his first Mac, and this was only a couple of years ago, he got

00:09:17   a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

00:09:19   And he'd always been a PC guy before that.

00:09:22   And he always had these big, you know, sort of PC towers that, you know, serve with the

00:09:28   big CC or T monitor or whatever.

00:09:29   And, you know, he was a PC for work and so on.

00:09:34   And I just remember the joy that he had when he would talk about his new Mac and the things

00:09:41   that it could do and how it did them, where he would be, you know, it's like everything

00:09:47   just kind of worked.

00:09:49   He wanted to get on the network.

00:09:51   And so you just kind of, it pops up and says, "Oh, I found a network.

00:09:53   Do you have a password for me?

00:09:55   Sure.

00:09:56   Done.

00:09:57   Oh, well, that was easy."

00:09:58   You know, versus, you know, sort of you're on a PC and it's this crazy process of trying

00:10:03   trying to do all this stuff.

00:10:05   And he goes back to the same hotel months later,

00:10:08   and it's like, oh, I see.

00:10:10   You see you were here before.

00:10:11   Let me just go ahead and connect that for you.

00:10:13   Or any kind of other-- there's any number of other features

00:10:16   and things that just kind of--

00:10:18   they just kind of work.

00:10:19   And my dad's a smart guy.

00:10:21   He got me into computers when I was a tiny kid.

00:10:25   I mean, I used to program on a Sinclair Spectrum, which

00:10:30   was way back in the day.

00:10:31   I mean, you know, you run programs that were booted off of audio cassettes that you plug

00:10:36   in and listen to essentially while it loads at the program.

00:10:39   And I mean, in many ways, I owe my career to sort of that love of computers that he

00:10:44   instilled in me, you know, from when I as long as I can remember, I mean, I don't think

00:10:47   I have that many memories before there was a computer in my life.

00:10:52   And he's, I mean, it was computers, but he never had a Mac.

00:10:55   And then it's that difference of once he finally got his Mac, how much more he seemed to enjoy

00:11:00   that it was less of a chore and more of a pleasure.

00:11:05   And it's one of those things that you always think about in anything you do,

00:11:09   there's something powerful about having the right tool for the job.

00:11:14   It's like having a knife when you're cutting,

00:11:17   when you're cooking and you're cutting something up,

00:11:19   the difference between having a sharp knife and a blunt knife.

00:11:22   And a sharp knife doesn't necessarily have an end result that's strictly better.

00:11:28   You know, you can still cut a carrot with a blunt knife, but the process of doing that

00:11:33   and the way you feel about that process is so much different when it's just, you know,

00:11:37   smooth and you're able to cut right through it.

00:11:40   And I think a lot of that's, you know, sort of apples are just they create that tool that

00:11:43   just feels right in your hand, that just works correctly, and just really is effective.

00:11:49   And so I just hope that continues.

00:11:51   I mean, I think Apple will, you know, will probably be fine.

00:11:56   It's a funny thing when you think, how can Apple survive without Steve?

00:12:00   I think it'll be different.

00:12:01   I think I will feel different about it because there isn't a person who I'm attached to,

00:12:08   that it's a company now, that makes it more amorphous and less personal.

00:12:14   And that's sad.

00:12:17   But at the same time, I think what they do and how they do it will be the same for the

00:12:23   future.

00:12:24   I mean, it wouldn't surprise me if at some point, the next Steve Jobs, whatever that

00:12:29   means, comes along and revolutionizes something again.

00:12:33   I look forward to that, and I hope it's in my lifetime.

00:12:36   But for the foreseeable future, I'm an Apple guy, I'm a Mac geek, and I couldn't be happier

00:12:42   about that.

00:12:43   So, it's like, I feel feel for Steve's family, and it's sad, but it's not a bad thing when

00:12:51   you have a life that is lived to its fullest in a way that is so clearly, you know, that

00:12:58   I don't think anyone can say that he compromised, that he didn't live the life that he wanted

00:13:04   to lead. And as a result, he created amazing things. And the world's a, you know, the world's

00:13:10   less as a lesser place without a minute. And we'll miss him. But I guess the best thing

00:13:15   we can do is just move on. And as always, it's kind of like what it was like, what would

00:13:20   Steve Jobs do, right? And you hear about these people who work at Apple and that's kind of

00:13:24   their mantra. It was like, you know, they're almost developing with Steve over their shoulder.

00:13:28   And it kind of makes you wonder what the world would be like if everyone did all their jobs,

00:13:34   you know, what would Steve Jobs do? When he's looking over your shoulder, everything you

00:13:38   do, you know, it's like you don't compromise a lot less, you don't slack a lot less, you

00:13:42   don't build amazing things a lot more. And I guess that's the best we can do. All right,

00:13:48   thanks.