I’m quite sure that you don’t know me, but as a Mac, iPod and iPhone user, who is enjoying what you left to the world, as well as a human being who have been moved by your words, I am very saddened to hear of the death of you.
Born in 1985 in Hong Kong far far away from you, I believe I was among the first batch of people who had have the privilege to own a computer at home. My father, who was undertaking a degree in computer science at the time, brought home an Apple computer and wrote simple games for me to play. This was my first encounter with a computer… That was not long since you declared to bring computers to homes of the many.
Years later, no doubt Microsoft conquered my heart and “Apple Computer” became a dusty noun in the shady corner.
In 1998, I saw you on magazine covers again, proudly holding the first iMac coated in candy-colors. It was the first time that I was shocked by you – computer may not be the Tiny dark boxes that sit under the desk, a computer can be more than that, a piece of art, a station for entertainment, a symbol of trend. I was moved, but my father forbid me to get one at home. However, he got one in his office, so I can still enjoy the ease of Mac.
I first watched your keynote in 2004, when I was deciding what computer to use in college. It was the one for WWDC, 2004, where you introduce the claws of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. I was stunned as years of experience in Windows taught me that a lot of tweaks have to be applied before the machine can run smoothly and routine maintenance is necessary to keep data intact, one false move can kill the computer; yet in Mac, it would be a stable platform where applications can run of it painlessly, a system which won’t be affected by viruses. Apart from the software, the machine itself should not bring headache to users, users only need to connect the machine with the socket, and the rest will be done thanks to the hard work of your team of engineers.
From then onwards, I have been a Mac users, later on, iPod and iPhone, enjoying what you had created and visualised. The years were very enjoyable, without spending unnecessary time in fixing the computer, which I quite enjoyed once upon a time, I had more time and leisure to develop my interest in art, music and sport.
The tech world is not the only thing you reinvented and redefined, as you are also a great presenter. Your style of presenting the numbers, introducing features of products, creating suspension and climax truly inspired me since I first watched your presentation in 2004. I have watched the keynote presentations you hosted since being iCEO. When most CEOs or presenters stood in front of the crowd going through slides boringly one by one, you brought life into your speech, took the stage as the protagonist of the theatre, introducing the brainchild of you and your team by making them personal. One simple but elegance slide contains more messages than one filled with words, and comes with a much stronger visual effect making people hard to forget.
For the past 7 years, you mean more than the CEO of a company that I love. For me, your passion for perfection encouraged me to bring my work beyond satisfactory level, your performance on the stage served as my mentor, your ideal to bring high-end technological innovations to the hands of many inspired me to share what I learned in college with people using layman terms where everyone can understand.
When you introduced iPod Shuffle in 2005, you said, “Life is Random”. It surely is. Who would have thought that you would be troubled by pancreatic cancer, had to undergo surgeries, and left the world in such a young age. In your commencement in Stanford, you stood in front of the crowd as if you are fully recovered, but who knows your health would continue to deteriorate afterwards.
Steve, you left us quietly when you are on the top of the rising business, you left us after showing people what the digital era should be like. Though you can no longer lead us to the promised land, you ideas have been spread to our hearts, and I believe the team you left as well as those who have been lucky enough to know your vision will continue to make it happen.
Losing you is a great lost to human being, but it will not be the end of the revolution. You have laid foundations for us to move on, and now it’s time for us to create our future.
May you rest in peace.
6 Oct 2011