I was a little surprised at my reaction of sadness Wednesday night when I heard of Steve Jobs death. I have never used an Apple computer or any other Apple product, so I could not be considered a fan by anyone’s definition. And yet, I feel a real loss.
I know that many of you were born after 1980. You have never lived in a world without personal computers. Those of us who are a bit older remember a very different world than the one we live in today . . . and one of the primary differences is the universal presence of personal computing devices.
At this moment I am sitting in my doctor’s office writing this post on my phone. Thirty years ago, I might have been reading a book or a journal. I could not have imagined that I might one day be doing this.
But Steve Jobs could imagine it.
The likes of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates envisioned this world and helped make it real. The rest of us get the daily benefit of their ability to innovate. Some of us even got our careers because of their vision.
When Steve Jobs was working on the Apple I, I was finishing my doctorate in clinical psychology and looking forward to a long career as a psychologist. When my partner and I opened our first private practice in 1980, we had a word processor and bought Kaypro 4 computers. The computer seemed like a fun way to work and a powerful tool, so we bought one for each of our desktops. Within five years, we had started Synergistic Office Solutions and Seth was consulting with psychologists, building computers for them, and ultimately writing software for practice management. Because of the creation of an industry that did not exist when I started graduate school, I am twenty years into a second career. Without Steve Jobs and the work he did, I would not be writing to you . . . even though I have never used an Apple product.
In the next few years, we may see the passing of the personal computer into oblivion as tablets and super smartphones and today unimagined devices are created. But we are likely to remember that there was a very small group of incredibly bright, creative and productive individuals who imagined, innovated and then manufactured machines that have changed our lives.
Please feel free to share your own thoughts and reflections about Steve Jobs and about the changes in our world he helped create.