First off, I never personally met Steve Jobs, but like many people, I did have brushes with his genius.
When I first joined Tektronix in 1985, my desk came with the typical desktop terminal with connections to the Internet through UNIX servers from Gould and VAX. This was standard for technical employees, but not particularly useful for marketing employees outside of sending email. So I ordered a Macintosh with the blessing of my manager.
The day that Mac arrived was a second Christmas morning. It was a beautiful beige, with no hard drive and two floppy drives to run the operating system and applications and file storage. It was beautiful.
Since that first Mac, I’ve owned a IIfx, an LCII, a PowerPC 705, a PowerBook 520, and a number of other Macs and peripherals. I am no different than many other Mac users. But when I went to work for Intel I was lucky enough to see something special.
During the 2003 Intel sales and marketing conference, Andy Grove stood onstage for the nightly keynote and announced he had a special guest. Andy had many special guests through the years, including the man who is credited with inventing the mobile phone, winners of the Intel science prize, and other interesting and notable figures.
Steve Job came from behind the curtain and shook hands with Andy. A 5-minute standing ovation started that made most crazed football stadiums seem hushed. Then Andy and Steve revealed that they had lunches every quarter since the beginning of Apple Computer, and then they sat and had a very personal conversation which we were fortunate enough to listen in on.
Following that conversation, Andy left Steve onstage to demonstrate the newest Mac and the ease of the Mac operating system in handling music, photos, and video. Then he showed us a five-minute clip from a soon-to-release Pixar film—Finding Nemo.
The memory of that evening is burned into my memory, along with memories of unboxing many Macintosh computers and the pleasures of working with some of what Steve referred to as “insanely great” technology. Steve Jobs was a true technology leader and we owe much of the technology that we accept as everyday occurrence to Steve’s drive and creative sense for how humans prefer to operate and his demand to drive technology to meet human preferences.
So, thanks for the insanely great memories.