Fall 2011 issue -- My father passed in July 2011, and it was a time of great reflection for my family and me. Hearing of Steve Jobs’ passing affected me intensely and has also spurred deep reflection—though of course different than that for a parent, but deeper than you might imagine for a person I have never met and only admired from afar. Like so many others who are writing their Steve Jobs stories, I feel compelled to share mine.
I know I’m not the first or last to write about Steve’s passing, but that’s not important. I had a similar experience with my father—I couldn’t stop thinking about his passing and what his influence had been on me and my family, but I needed to process it a bit before I could formalize my thoughts. Some of my reflections are personal, and some of them have to do with our company.
I spoke about how Steve was committed to presenting technology to nontechnical people and how this same intention had been a guidepost for my entire career as a teacher. I also spoke of how I had been inspired by Steve to stick to my convictions about how to run a company in a different way, in an effort to be better, regardless of what others say or expect. I also talked about how Apple had forged their own brand pretty much alone, without making many partnerships and instead created a direct relationship with their customer—making their own software, hardware, and even retail channels. This tenet has also been a guidepost for our company, as we have resisted the temptations to take on investors, become the arm of another entity, or work with other brokers or systems to deliver our product. That hasn’t always been a popular position as we’ve turned down lots of big money and quick opportunities, but it has paid off in the long haul just like it did for Apple.
I feel so incredibly fortunate to have found my passion around a technology that Steve created.I had never attributed it directly to Steve before yesterday, but I know that our company would not exist if it were not for his brilliant innovations and inventions. I didn’t get my first computer, which was an Apple II+, until I was 28 years old, long after I had graduated from college. This first computer was the catalyst for what would become an obsession and addiction to learning and teaching software. When the Mac came out, I could not afford one but instead charged it to my May Company charge card and paid it off over three years. I am so happy that I was an early adopter; it changed the course of my life and career and was worth every penny of credit card interest.