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How I Learned to Love Steve Jobs

I used to think Steve Jobs was at the helm of a pretentious company. In the past year, I've learned to see things much differently.

Last summer, I wasn't sure if I really liked Steve Jobs.

I already had a slightly hypocritical, love-hate relationship with Apple products. I was a longtime owner of a series of iPods, and had just purchased my first MacBook, but I couldn't stand those trendy commercials. I always flash a skeptical eye at any company that tells people they need to buy a $500 gadget. Especially when they just pushed it using a silhouetted Bono in their commercial.

Then again, there I was telling myself that I needed to buy a MacBook if I was going to be earning the bulk of my livelihood while staring at a computer screen. I knew video and photo editing were going to be part of my responsibilities, and I knew I needed a Mac to do the best work.

So there I was, recommending Apple products to friends, while frowning at cars driving past with that half-eaten fruit stickered in their window.

Then in June 2010, the tech media had a field day when Jobs got angry at the press during a conference on the iPhone 4. The device was moving slowly, disrupting Jobs' presentation, and he became visibly disgruntled. Eventually Jobs told the audience to shut off their computers' Wi-Fi, claiming it was hogging the bandwidth. The techie audience more or less grinned like a classroom full of students who were just told by their teacher that 1+1= 3.

Still, Jobs threatened: shut it down, or the presentation was over. This solidified my dislike for Apple and its CEO.

About a year later, I now know how wrong I was. And no, that’s not just because of the undeniably sad and unexpected end to Jobs’ life, at the age of 56. It began months ago, when I began to realize that I could not deny the quality of the company's products and service.

I was editing a video over the summer when the program crashed, about an hour into work. I attempted to reopen it, and found that not only was my video lost, but there was no save button to begin with. How could this be? Wasn't Mac supposed to be the smart computer company?

That's when I realized the program had an auto-save feature that stores every bit of work from every project, automatically, within moments, and files it away in an easy-to-find system that I just hadn't noticed because of my familiarity with Windows. Point Apple.

Then I took a trip to the Apple Store in Philadelphia for a malfunctioning power supply. The friendly tech support agent nearly instantly diagnosed the issue, and suggested I go play with an iPad while he fixed it for free. I took his advice, and also couldn't help but tap my foot to that trendy music playing over the store’s speakers. As much as I wanted to be skeptical, Apple wouldn't let me.

Then the news came of Jobs' health, and as the stocks shook and the industry speculated, I educated myself on Jobs' history with the company and reputation as an innovator. I learned that a man once spurned by his company, later returned and led it from near bankruptcy to the top of the industry. That all of those innovations in the products, the completely different way of thinking about computing that I hadn't considered, were all the ingenious simplicities born in the mind of Steve Jobs.

I read this article, which tells how a co-worker received a call on a Sunday morning from Jobs, because the second 'O' in Google wasn't quite the right shade of yellow on a soon-to-be-introduced product.

Suddenly I saw that the "attack" on the Wi-Fi hogging journalists wasn't some outburst of ego, but frustration from an innovator with a love for perfection. Whose attention to detail led to nearly flawless products.

When word went around that Jobs' health had really started to deteriorate, someone inside Patch shared , where a neighbor of Jobs talked about her personal, albeit minimal, relationship with him.

"While Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal and CNET continue to drone on about the impact of the Steve Jobs era, I won’t be pondering the MacBook Air I write on or the iPhone I talk on. I will think of the day I saw him at his son’s high school graduation. There Steve stood, tears streaming down his cheeks, his smile wide and proud, as his son received his diploma and walked on into his own bright future, leaving behind a good man and a good father who can be sure of the rightness of this, perhaps his most important legacy of all," writes Lisen Stromberg.

Suddenly that CEO became a lot more human. Jobs was no longer just the owner of Apple; he was a brilliant human being, who just so happened to pour his knack for innovation and perfection into a company called Apple.

Today, I work from a Macbook, for a company with a daring model, and post a story about an . In one way or another, it seems all of these things owe a little something to Steve Jobs.

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Andi Lyn October 06, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Kyle pull out a public tv oldie but goodie, Triumph of the Netds. It's an amazingly comprehensive documentary about the dawn of the personal computer. There is terrific footage and interviews of Steve Jobs from that era.
Kyle Bagenstose October 06, 2011 at 12:11 PM
Thanks for the suggestion Andi, I'll look into that.

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