I remember the first personal computer experience that I ever had was back in the 1986, I believe. I was a six-year-old, Army brat living in Germany. My father took us four kids to the basement and showed us this bulky-looking contraption covered in an opaque plastic cover. He removed the plastic to reveal one of the finest PCs ever built (not by today’s standards of course), the APPLE II E!! As soon as my father showed me the basics, it was pretty much a wrap, I was hooked. The Apple II E was responsible for getting me into gaming. Karateka, Death Sword, Tass Times in Tonetown, California Games, Summer Games, Matterhorn Screamer, Kidniki the Radical Ninja, The Black Cauldron, Winter Games, Space Quest, and my personal favorite, and King’s Quest were just some of the games that tickled my gaming fancy. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with these, but what the games lacked in graphics, they more than made up for in sheer fun factor. I remember sitting with my sister, and high-fiving each other when we made it through the poisonous brambles of King’s Quest part II. Yeah, it’s kinda nerdy, but I loved those times. It’s so amazing to see how Apple has evolved. I just wonder what will become of the company now that Steve Jobs won’t be at its helm…
To put it simply, I’m sad. I wanted to talk to somebody today, but many of the Japanese teachers I talked to, didn’t know who Steve Jobs was. Of course they know about ipods and iphones, but weren’t really familiar with one of the main guys behind getting the technology to most of the modern world. Some of the kids knew who he was, but it’s kind of hard to express your thoughts to a Japanese elementary school child. It’s one of the tough things about living abroad. I have moments when I really want, so badly, just to talk to somebody without worrying about being judged or laughed at. Do you know what I mean? You have friends, but they aren’t necessarily the ones you can to talk to when you’re unhappy. I do have that feeling at times…like there’s not really anybody that I can just sit down and be 100% open with. I usually end up keeping at least some portion of my thoughts to myself. At times like this, though, I’m grateful to have Facebook, Twitter, and blog that I can use as a medium to communicate my thoughts. It’s a big part of the reason I started blogging in the first place.
Now I know there are those people who might say, “Why are you sad, Donald? You didn’t even know Steve Jobs.” But in a weird way, didn’t we all know him just a little? If you’ve ever played Angry Birds on your iphone or ipod, if you’ve ever seen a Pixar movie, purchased a song on iTunes, listened to a podcast, made a movie on Final Cut, opened or closed a computer window, you are experiencing his ambition, his vision first hand (whether you realize it or not).
Why am I sad? Well I liken it to having a childhood hero except I not a child. For example, if you were around during the times of Bruce Lee, and you watched all of his movies, while he was still alive. Even though you may not have met him, his movies and his work resonate so deeply with you that influences your life directly. You decide to train harder, study martial arts more seriously, among a host of other things. You’ve never met him in person, but it’s cool just knowing that your hero is really out there somewhere and that it’s possible that you could meet him…someday. You wake up one morning turn on your TV and you hear the news that this very same man you respect so dearly is no longer of this world. How would you feel? If Bruce Lee’s a bad example, replace him with someone you REALLY respect. How would you feel?
Although I can’t claim that Steve Jobs was my hero growing up. I can say I remember struggling to find my path in college, getting my as$ kicked in many of my science classes, crying (in private of course) wondering why I just felt miserable everyday. I do remember having to leave college after losing my scholarship and it was one of the lowest points in my life. Having come from a Christian family, I was always told that turning to God, and turning to the church was the way to fix things. But it always felt like I was praying in vain or that I was always listening to some preacher with a bloated ego preaching prosperity messages. I began to feel like even religion had no power to get my out of the rut I was in. I was so disillusioned.
While I was working hard to get back to school, truth be told…I stopped going church, stopped praying and started to look for inspiration in other places. Though I can’t remember the title, there was this book about 50 business heroes that really inspired me. It talked about some of the greatest business minds of our time. This book sparked an extreme interest in all things business. It sparked an interest in these men and women who took control of their lives. I started to read about Michael Dell, Phillip Fischer, Reginald Lewis, Benjamin Graham, Sergey Brin & Larry Page, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Madam CJ Walker, The Rockerfellers, Henry Ford, and yes, the one and only Steve Jobs. I was so fascinated by these men and women who had such charisma, such a powerful drive, that the world couldn’t help but to take notice.
I guess I’m sad for kind of selfish reasons. I’m sad because I know I’ll never have the chance to shake Jobs’ hand or ask him what drives him, what inspires him. I won’t say his passing is tragic because of how much he accomplished in 56 short years. How amazing it is to leave this world knowing that you’ve lived exactly the life that you wanted to, that you’ve given yourself wholeheartedly to something that you believe in. I SO admire people who will follow their passions no matter what…even in the face of death.
I know I’m just one person, and it might not mean a whole lot coming from me, but
“To Steve Jobs: Thank you for having the courage to follow your heart and your dreams. Thank you for being bold enough to aspire to such lofty aspirations and actually reach them! You have inspired more people than you probably realize. I am one of them.”
Rest in peace.
Did you own in Apple products (computers, games, etc.) back in the day? Do you have any that you can’t live without now? I’d love to hear about them.