Edited: How Steve Jobs & Apple, Inc. Changed MY Life


I just wanted to take a few minutes to voice my thoughts and feelings on the loss of probably the most visionary and creative person my generation has been priveledged to know, grow up with and be a part of. My life has most definitely been impacted by Apple Computers and Steve Jobs' work. I learned of his passing on this very Mac I am writing from now. 

It was 1985-86, I was in 6th grade. The talk was all about the newest education tools out there. They were sure to change the path of education- The MacIntosh computer. Our school was fortunate to get, I'm guessing, a dozen of them, for which we would share, 2-3 students per computer. The first time I'd ever laid eyes on a computer outside of a Texas Instraments keyboard you hooked up to a television to type with (at least in my family). It was new, interesting and easy to use. We would have computer lab maybe once a month. It was cool.

Jump ahead to high school,1989, where I had my first graphic design project ever on a Mac. I still remember it - I may even still have it - it was a ski logo printed in black ink on neon green paper. This computer was revolutionary, and to see my logo that I had created on a computer, well it was a little mind-blowing to me. At the time, people were still using Pica rules, typesetting and using blue pencils on mock-ups, oh and the E-scales, can't forget those. Our high school must have been pretty fortunate to have those 1-2 Macs, solely for the drafting and graphic design departments, because I know we still did our printing on a letterpress printer and developed photos in a dark room.

Later when I was a senior in highschool, circa 1991/1992 I got wind of a couple new programs/applications/software while on the high school newspaper as a photo editor. You might have heard of them, Photoshop and PageMaker? Well, it turns out, those two programs, that were only made for the Mac at the time, changed.my.life. I learned a bit by watching our layout peeps creating the layouts for our newspaper, and knew at that point, I really wanted to go into design, especially given the direction design was taking into technology. 

During my first year of college, there were two lonely Macs in our computer lab rarely with anyone using them. For those of us who didn't have our own computers, this is where we went to write papers (no internet - at that time). I got a work-study job in the office of Campus Life where I was essentially the assitant to one of the directors. This was one of THE greatest experiences of my young life - if not THE best, to that point in my life. I was surrounded by positive, wonderful people, and I was able to teach myself, just about everything I needed to know about PageMaker and Photoshop by creating campus fliers, posters, ads, you name it. This is how I got my feet wet as a graphic designer. I had this job for 2 years before I decided to take my design career more seriously in college. For the next 3 years I spent nearly every bit of energy I had in becoming a graphic designer on.a.Mac.

When I graduated from college, not everyone had moved onto designing on a Mac. In fact, it's funny, because, at that time, design software started to become more readily available on PCs, and in an internship that I had during my last year of school, some of the work they were still sending out were using xacto knives and typeset (cut and paste). I couldn't believe it. AND, they had purchased a PC to load design software on for those who wanted to be designers but weren't comfortable with Macs. My thought was, WTH?! LOL

This was the time when the Creatives (Macs) vs. the PCs became very, very pronounced. You've all seen the ads - but that sentiment was VERY deeply rooted, for years, especially to those of us who loved our Macs. There was definitely an 'us' against Macs mentality. And you know, there were times when telling someone you worked on a Mac, came with nothing but ridicule, and I mean that literally. Seriously. I always stood up for Apple, even if it meant it (or I) then wasn't popular in conversation at a cocktail party. I couldn't turn my back on them.

To be on the Mac side of this very heated debate was interesting (at least in retro-spect) to say the least. Because what is NOW happening with Mac/Apple becoming a mass market entity, is EXACTLY what those of us who were ALWAYS Macs, knew Mac should be, could be, and (hoped) eventually WOULD be. We proudly put our Apple, Inc stickers on our cars, college binders, bikes, whereever, to proclaim, that YES, I am a Mac. And at that time it meant you were some kind of "creative", and that wasn't the most endearing term when it came to this conversation of Macs vs. PCs. As a designer, musician, photographer, for Apple, it wasn't a huge market share, we made up a small population. But we were loyal. I'm guessing here, but it definitely seemed at the time that 99.9% of those who were not in the creative industry used PCs. In order to be a Mac during this time, you had to be a loyalist, or have a really thick skin, because it definitely wasn't a popular thing to proclaim! LOL. And there were those very few who were outside the creative realm who also maintained a loyalist love for their Macs - and we LOVED them for going against the grain of the PC monopolized market! If you met someone who wasn't a "creative" and used a Mac, you were instantly "family". That was the best feeling! LOL

At all my work places, I've worked on a Mac. Throughout college and into my career. I'd say all in all I've spent the better part of 20 years on an Apple Mac. And since college I have owned a Mac PowerPC, a Mac G3 Dual Processor and now I have my first iMac - a well loved 27"; a designer's dream. I literally have drooled over one of these large screens since college, so when I was finally able to purchase one for my freelance work, I was elated!

In 2006, is when I really started to see a change in how Mac/Apple was being perceived in the mass market. I got my first iPod as a Christmas gift from my husband. He knew how desperately I wanted one, especially since it had been several years that we had been doing without because of a new baby and graduate school. It was AW-to the SOME. We went into that Apple store, and I saw it all before my eyes. This gadget. This was the key - the bridge to bring the mass market to Apple, and it did. Boy, did it EVER and I was thrilled about it!

Since then we've added 2 more iPod Nano's, an iPhone and an iPad 2. I guess you could say we LOVE Apple -really it's me, but my husband does, too. I'm guessing I'm NOT in the minority any longer of the population who do own one, two or three of these devices any more. And the millions who have been converted to Mac from PC because of these devices- that has been incredible. The change in the market the past 10 years, is something I'm not sure I would have believed back then, but am so glad it has, because so many more people have now discovered the genius behind Apple, that we always knew, Steve Jobs.

Edited to add: Steve was quoted as saying: ""It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. That it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing."(Steve, Jobs, iPad 2 launch)

 Being a "Mac" for those of us who are lifers, has always been about a way of life. It's hasn't only been about the type of computer that we preferred, it was the 'soul' behind the innovation that enveloped and embraced those who were creative, passionate, and many times, different. 'Think Different'(ly). I have been reading many of Steve's quotes the past couple days, and one in particular is very poingnant to me, and maybe is why I've been so deeply and personally invested in this company and it's ideals for so long. It is this:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Think Different, narrated by Steve Jobs

I've always felt "diffferent". A "misfit", and definitely a round peg in a square hole in many aspects of my life. Maybe that is why it always felt "right" to me, this community of artists and passionate innovators and teachers who call themselves "Macs".

Were it not for Apple Computers and Steve Jobs, I would not be sitting here on this blog today. I likely would have taken the avenue of becoming an art therapist for adolescents instead. An honorable oocupation, yes, but probably not one that I would have loved, as I do design. So, thank you Steve Jobs, for being so incredibly creative, innovative and tenacious. Thank you for ALWAYS supporting new innovations in technology, creative endevours and creative people. Your work will forever be your legacy and will be a part of millions of creatives' legacies as well, including mine. 

Rest In Peace, Steve Jobs. You did good.