Vaya con iDios, Steve

One of the world’s most famous corporate icons resigned yesterday. I had my head deep in code when I started hearing the word ‘resigned’ buzzing around the office, but I had stuff to get done. It was my sweetie who actually gave me the news that Steve Jobs had resigned as CEO of Apple.

My first thought: I bet his badge still works. This was confirmed when I read his resignation letter; he will continue to be an Apple employee. The elevators in Infinite Loop 1 are not safe yet.

My second thought: A man who played a huge role in shaping what computing is these days is very sick. Sick enough that he has accepted that he will not be up to running Apple and smart enough to move aside gracefully and let the people who have been running the company continue to do so without uncertainty.

I hope he’s ok. That had to be a monumental decision, not just to let go of the reins but to accept that his own health might not improve. I hope Tim and Peter and the rest had a chance to sit and have a quiet beer with their boss one last time, a chance to think about all they’ve accomplished.

And Steve’s badge still works. He’ll be around.

2 thoughts on “Vaya con iDios, Steve

  1. Not too long ago, a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer meant you had maybe a year left to live, period. The fact that he was still around to resign yesterday is nothing short of amazing. I suspect he’ll be around for a good while longer.

  2. Thinking about Steve’s contribution to computing, he (and his trusted team) have been just as instrumental in identifying the end of a revolution as its beginning. The horror when computers came out without floppy drives!

    Computers don’t stay still anymore, you take them with you and you call them phones and pads. If you really need the power you take a laptop with you. Stationary machines are servers. Inside the walls of your favorite fruit-flavored gadget company, everyone is mobile. You’d be hard-pressed to find a desktop machine outside the training rooms. People carry their offices to every meeting.

    But then there’s iMacs. They don’t really fit with that mobile vision. A million years ago Apple introduced the very first Mac with a little screen in the same enclosure as the computer, and that form factor has lived on, even as the screen has grown to dominate the package. I have to say it bothers me a bit, because although macs have a significantly longer useful life, when the computer is finally outclassed beyond redemption the monitor will still be perfectly good.

    But I digress.

    Steve (we’re on a first-name basis) once got a little tour of a facility Xerox had paid bazillions of dollars to put together. The Xerox gang had expanded their brains and caught a glimpse of the future, then one afternoon Steve moseyed through and the rest is history. (Steve kicks himself for being so blown away with the first thing he saw – the graphical user interface – that he missed the other world-changng things Xerox had invented: Object-oriented programming and ethernet. Xerox profited from none of the above. Discuss.)

    I’ve read that Xerox is now a business school case study in fuckup. They had everything. Steve came, he saw, he made it insanely great. ‘Cause he was Steve, and he wasn’t just smart, he had vision. He saw the consequences of the abstract things Xerox had invented. In his world, it wasn’t gee-whiz, it was ‘this will work.’ And mostly, it has.

    Who will carry Steve’s legacy? Not me, I’m afraid. I thought the iPhone was doomed. iPad didn’t thrill me. But now HP or Samsung will put up an ad for their new slick machine and half the people watching will afterwards think they just saw an ad for an iPad. If I was in charge of Apple that probably wouldn’t have happened. So I’ll stay where I am, trying to make Apple more efficient (opportunities abound), and let the big-picture guys continue to prove me wrong.

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