I remember the first time I came in contact with a device Steve invented, imagined, dreamed. I was nine years old. My father had just brought home one of the new bondi blue iMacs.
“Where’s the rest of it,” I said inquisitively. At this point in my life, my father had already introduced me to computers. I knew about their construction, design and components. I had never seen anything like this — none of us had.
“It all fits inside. It’s all there,” he told me.
“How?” I was beyond confused.
My father was right. It was magic. Not because it was physically impossible, that it was some sort of allusion. It merely seemed magical. When you bend the idea of what is possible, you get magical. That’s what Steve was known for.
As I grew up, I continued my exploration into technology. I was always fiddling, tinkering, programming. This was largely on Windows computers. But at a certain point that changed.
I remember seeing a small blurb somewhere about Tiger, a new OS coming from Apple. I hadn’t seen anything Apple in years, so I read more. I was intrigued.
By time the keynote came around, I was hooked. Apple was amazing. I had to see this thing.
I was 16. I was waiting in the car as my mom and sister ran into an appointment. I had been able to grab a wifi signal in the car, so I insisted on staying put to watch what unfolded.
It was magical.
I didn’t know it at the time, but there, in my mom’s minivan, with an aging Dell and a stolen wifi signal, a man whom I’d never meet and whom never’d know my name, profoundly changed my life.
Three years later, I’d be employed by Steve. I was a campus representative at LSU for two years. It was an amazing experience and I loved every minute of it.
It gave me the chance to tell people about the products that I love, built by the company I love. I got to share my passion with my peers. I showed them what it feels like to be inspired by a computer, what it feels like to feel joy when using a phone, what the magic of the iPad feels like.
I thank Steve immensely for that opportunity. It was, by far, my favorite employment. The only thing that could get me to leave was to start my own company. And I somehow feel that he would’ve encouraged me to do so.
His devices, his company — it’s all truly magical. What he’s given us, what he’s set in motion — it’ll last for generations to come. I rest easy knowing I’ll be using — creating — with devices that were built with people like me in mind for years to come.
But Steve’s true legacy to me — the way he truly impacted my life — isn’t what he made. It’s what he taught me.
He taught me what design meant. He taught me that it’s important and that it’s not just what it looks like, it’s also what it feels like. He taught me to sweat the small stuff. He taught me that it’s OK to be a perfectionist. He showed me how to make insanely great products and he showed me how to sell them.
He also taught me how to build a company. He taught me how to manage people. He taught me how to instill a burning passion. He taught me that the single most important thing is the people who work for you.
He taught me to live my life, to not be trapped by other people’s dogma. He taught me how to shrug off the weight and embarrassment of failure. He taught me how to follow my heart. He taught me that doing what I love is the single most important thing in life.
Five years later, I’m an entrepreneur. I’m doing what I love. I’m building things for people. I’m creating. And I credit Steve with showing me how.
Steve inspired. He left a legacy. He did and gave so much in his short time with us. We can only dream of giving back in the magnitude that he did.
But that’s just it. If anything, we should know that that’s not what matters. Doing what you love, being kind, doing good — those are the important things.
Having unwavering courage in the face of certain failure. Having the audacity to do what’s right. Having the passion to do what you love. That’s what he left us with. That’s what I’m most inspired by.
Steve, I’m crazy enough to change the world. I’m crazy enough to think that I can leave a dent in the universe. I’ll never grow up. I’ll always stay hungry and foolish. I’ll always think different. And I’m thankful that you were there to show me how.
There are many people I respect. There are few I consider heroes. There is only one Steve Jobs.
Steve, may your legacy continue forever to inspire people to imagine, create and believe in the impossible.
With love and humility and the courage to keep innovating,