Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
The first time I used a Mac was in 1984, when I was 14 years old. A friend’s father was a cardiologist and his hospital had bought an Apple Computer. But they didn’t really know why. Nobody dared to touch it. So I spent long afternoons in the hospital discovering this wonderful machine. I was hooked from the beginning.
I think I bought my first own Mac around 1989. Every 3 years or so a new model followed. For many years I knew that each Apple I bought could be the last one. Although Apple was superior in design and technology, the brand remained marginal. Its users were considered harmless hippies at best. In 1998 I started a small creative company, about the same time Steve Jobs introduced the iMac. We decided to outfit our offices with four iMacs. Clients thought we were dandies, but were intrigued by the four colorful bulbs that we used as computers. “If they use these crazy computers, these guys must be creative”, was probably what they thought. ‘Think Different’ was the simple but highly effective slogan of Apple’s campaign at the end of the 1990’s. But our choice for iMacs was more of a statement. These computers were simply the best tools to translate our creativity into products.
A little bit later I thought that it would be handy if my huge mobile telephone could play music. I had to wait a few more years for such an eccentric device, but in 2001 Apple released the iPod. I was probably one of the first people in Europe to buy one, on the day it got released, exactly ten years ago. The Apple site now says my iPod with serial number U2146CRXLG6 is ‘obsolete’, but it is still functioning. The next 2 or 3 years I brought the iPod everywhere. I remember some hip Parisian parties, where people were impressed that so much music (100 CD’s!) could fit into such a small ‘walkman’.
Then the iPod became a success, the iPhone and the iPad followed and the rest is history. From an almost broke yet visionary company, Apple became the world’s biggest brand. To us, pioneering iSnobs, it was a difficult situation: the brand we had been so faithful to, was no longer the underdog. Apple was saved, but with every iPod or iPhone it sold it became a little bit less cool.
When Steve Jobs stepped back this summer for health reasons, I sent him an email. Since he has a reputation of personally answering his mails, I of course hoped he would reply. He never did. I wrote him that “using your products has been decisive in my career and maybe in my life. As a professional journalist, writing all day, I now find it extremely difficult to find the right words to express my gratitude for everything you (and your team) have contributed to the modern world. I therefore will limit myself to a simple and humble ‘Thank You’. I sincerely wish you the best.”
Unfortunately my wish didn’t come true. But his legacy is precisely that: the best.