Wednesday, October 05, 2011

One sad apple

Steve Jobs has died. And I'm emotional about it.

While I use a Mac, and I have an iPhone and numerous iPods, and while my iPad is the first piece of technology I can say I truly love, I cannot say I was ever a fan. Of Jobs, or even, really, of Apple.

When I got my first Mac about 7 years ago, I would tell anyone who asked it was like a quicky wedding in Vegas: You marry the shiny guy spur of the moment and spend the rest of your life trying to make it work. I'm artsy and all about aesthetics, but it wasn't intuitive to me. And I didn't like all the smug Macsters out there. And I never rooted for them as the scrappy underdog probably because they never behaved like an underdog, modeling all that same smugness.

I knew people who knew Steve and said he was an asshole. I knew someone who interviewed with him and said he was an asshole. I knew someone else who interviewed with him and loved him.

I never liked him, but I admired him. While maybe not an underdog -- and I am a sucker for the underdog -- what Jobs was to me is a true believer. And I'm a sucker for that more than anything else in the world.

Over the years, I heard more from Steve and admired what he had to say: You can't connect the dots going forward. Steve, from what I could tell, was a spiritual man who trusted his gut. And believed it fully. Wholeheartedly. "The truth is in here," he seemed to be saying. And as someone who has worked most of her life for, and with, large employers, a successful CEO saying intuition has its place in business, well, that was saying something directly to me.

Being an asshole, I think, is easy. Being the loudest voice in the room, the most certain, the one bogarting the ideas -- that's easy. But being the one who trusts his gut, the one who consistently steps off the ledge with complete faith (but not without fear), that's not easy. That takes courage.

Courage I haven't always had, but courage I every day strive to build. And as I continue to shake off the coat of someone else's life, I take Steve as a mentor, a guide to trusting that you know what you know. And that what you know has value.

Steve was true. That's my eulogy. In clean, streamlined, minimalist black and white.

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