“To do what I do well, I need a Mac.”
It was with those words that I requested to have a MacBook purchased for me by Central Baptist in the next year’s budget. I explained how, with the media creation and presentation we were doing at the Church, a Mac would make the work-flow easier. To my fellow geeks who wanted to know why I’d leave Linux for OSX I simply said, “I got tired of needing to recompile my video editor every time an upgrade came out.” The Church graciously accepted my request, and in January of 2008 I made the move to the Mac platform. I’ve never looked back. In fact, with the recent purchase of a MacBook for my wife, our entire household is now on the Apple platform (well, with the exception of two old Linux laptops I keep handy – just for fun).
What’s impressed me about Apple products is the attention to simplicity, power, and beauty as being compliments instead of competitors. These must mesh together for an apple product to get out the door, and when Apple gets something utterly wrong (like the hockey-puck mouse) they move forward towards an iteration no one else had thought of quite yet. Two days ago, the heartbeat for much of that passion passed away. Cancer sucks.
Steve Jobs was arrogant, passionate, demanding, playful, acerbic, and entertaining. He could hold a grudge like few people I’ve ever encountered (poor Leo LaPorte still can’t get an invite to an Apple event and don’t get me started on Google), but he also inspired loyalty like few people I’ve ever encountered. His internal contradictions far from made Steve Jobs a detriment to the company he loved. Instead, his highs and lows and intimate involvement on projects were a breath of fresh air a world too often filled by distant, stoic, corporate executives. He really believed that the beautiful things Apple created could, and would, change the world. From this belief sprung the outpouring of his intense personality into the world – and more often than not, Steve was absolutely right. Apple was rarely first to market, but when they jumped in they frequently figured out where people wanted the market to go before anyone else (does anyone else remember when they saw Steve demo inertial scrolling?).
I don’t agree with all of Apple’s business practices, and there are quite a few things about Steve’s personality I wouldn’t want to emulate in my own leadership style. The man, however, had style and passion – he absolutely believed in what he was doing, and it showed. How many of us can say the same?