Jobs passes; a generation reels

Steve Jobs with the Apple II

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

The national media was ready for this; Apple’s founder Steve Jobs didn’t have much time left so the news agencies prepared for it.

But the nation wasn’t.

When Apple’s website made this simple announcement Wednesday evening, it came as a world-wide shock:

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

The phenomenon of social media that has flourished under Jobs-inspired platforms like the iPhone and iPad came alive over the news. Techies and average Joes expressed their feeling of loss, posted and tweeted quotes from Jobs, changed their status and profile pictures.

It occurs to me that the loss of Steve Jobs has a huge impact on Generation X in the way losing John Lennon was to the baby boomers. Think about it.

Let’s say you are a 40-year-old, born in 1971:

  • All throughout elementary school, you had an Apple II in your classroom
  • Your high school had a lab full of Macs
  • You were writing term papers on a color Mac in college
  • You may have heard “You’ve Got Mail!” from that original America Online dial-up account on a Mac
  • You bought your first iMac to surf the web before you were 30
  • About seven years ago you dumped all of your CD’s into iTunes and started walking around with your iPod.
  • You waited in line four years ago for the first iPhone
  • Last night you commiserated with your high school classmates on Facebook using your iPad.
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

By putting technology into everyday people’s hands that is so simple to use, Jobs rose to be a cultural Pied Piper. “What’s the next insanely great thing you thought of, Steve? We want it!”

For media folks, Apple is ubiquitous. From the video editing suite, to print and web layout, to viewer video from iPhones, and reporter’s copy on iPads, our industry’s productivity and quality have been revolutionized because of these products.

Some of us have never known a world that didn’t have Steve Jobs rolling out a new life-altering gadget on an 18-month product cycle.

So we mourn.

2 Responses to Jobs passes; a generation reels

  1. Ted Benson says:

    Steve Jobs was adopted in 1955. It was at a time when abortions were rare and when loving, caring agencies and churches (not the government) helped the mother with the pregnancy and the adoption issues. I wonder how many Steve Jobs there were in the over 50 million abortions since then. I am glad Steve’s mother chose life.

  2. Chet LaPrice says:

    Joel, you are correct in that our generation (X-er’s) are feeling this the hardest. I can’t begin to describe the impact that Apple, and Atari, both had on me growing up.
    We turned our four-channel TV’s (with cable, eleven channels) into a gaming system and a computer. They were fascinating machines to learn and play on. My brother and I spent untold hours on our Atari 2600.
    My grade school, OLCS, bought a few Apples in 1982 or so and created a makeshift “computer lab” in the library–I was hooked.
    Hundreds of school reports–high school and college, including my undergrad thesis–were done on my Apple //c. Programming in Applesoft BASIC. Saving files to DOS 3.3 diskettes. 64K of RAM was all you would EVER need. Those were incredible years to be exposed to this new technology, and I can only imagine what it was like to work in the industry back then. Jobs introduced the Apple-II in 1977 and changed the world…at age 22.

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