This week’s column was supposed to be about my 25-year High School Reunion. It’s actually already written and was completed 48 hours prior to my Friday deadline. Like most of my colleagues, I am usually pounding out my column an hour or two before my editor is to read it. I guess you could say it’s tradition.
Last Wednesday, however as I removed my ear buds from my iPhone, finished the final sentence of my column and returned to ‘humanity,’ time somehow stopped. Via Facebook and her iPhone a co-worker saw the words “RIP Steve Jobs.”
In that instant we each retreated to our computers to check ‘breaking news’ to verify the truth of such a post.
“People are sick,” was my initial thought. I knew of course he was sick and had battled cancer for quite some time, yet somehow this did not seem possible.
Sure enough the post was fact and our office along with the rest of the world began discussing the legacy of Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc. and how the world we knew was so different due to his innovations.
Ironically, that morning my General Manager and I were discussing the genius of marketing and alliances companies like Apple and Nike have placed themselves in.
Two marketing majors chewing the fat of how smart these two companies are and how they create ‘needs’ for things (literally things) consumers never knew they needed and as if overnight – must have. Plain and simple it is not only pure genius, but the very essence of what a true marketing professional strives for.
Steve Jobs along with the early pioneers of Silicon Valley singlehandedly made it ‘cool’ to be a ‘Geek.’
It has been reported that his mind worked in ways that even his team of programmers could not fully comprehend. Yet somehow through his innovation and passion, they too believed they could achieve his vision — and they did. Again, again and again Jobs has been known to push his team to their limits only to launch something unimaginable to the common man.
That night as I arrived home I knew I needed to turn on CNN and hear the coverage. This of course caught the attention of my children, since we do not watch TV on a school night. In that moment however, I recognized we were living history — their history. I realized that someday in a classroom they would learn of this pioneer/innovator known to the world as Steve Jobs. To me, as a parent, this was important.
My seven-year-old was fascinated by the concept of this one man who followed his dreams, who continued to push the limits and created the very things we have in our home.
“He was an inventor, like I’m going to be,” my son exclaimed.
With a nod and a chuckle, I confirmed what my son had said and began taking him through the evolution of technology and how this one man altered so much.
As the visual one, my four-year-old quickly asked about the ‘Apple’ symbol. The logo had caught her eye and suddenly the three of us were in a deep conversation on innovation and branding. To say it was an amazing conversation would be too simple. Truth be told it was simply eye opening — they really ‘got it.’
My son began offering up company names, followed by their corresponding brand and soon his sister joined in.
On a night which was filled with sadness, we were learning all because of a man who co-founded a company called ‘Apple Computers.’
As bedtime loomed closer I realized how different life/childhood was for my children.
I still remember the launch of the Macintosh and the buzz that surrounded it. One of our family members was an employee of the founding company and I remember the rest of the family thinking he was nuts.
“To take such a big risk on such a silly fad.” He of course is now happily retired and life as well as the ‘silly fad’ has treated him well.
Simply put, Steve Jobs was a genius.
The word genius is defined as “Exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.”
Check, check and check… yes, Steve Jobs possessed each of these attributes. One single man, whose passion and conviction altered the lives of more people than the average man might ever imagine. Yet somehow this innovative, forward thinking ‘genius’ knew he was destined to create something that would change life as we knew it.
Even this morning, as I left my son’s classroom and reached for my iPhone to check my messages I paused in thought.
I wonder, how different my day would be without this device. Touching base with my mom as she cares for my daughter, scheduling upcoming school events, checking in with my carpool mom to make sure we’re good and finally updating my ‘status’ on my Facebook. All of this was done in the span of six short minutes (yes, I timed myself) all because of a device I never knew I needed, but I now cannot imagine living without.
Sure, I’m not putting an end to hunger or finding a cure for cancer — I’m just a mommy living every day life.
Somewhere there is a doctor, a human rights enthusiast, maybe even a scientist using the same device and someday, maybe someday… they will do those things.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.