The Dent That Steve Jobs Left in The Universe


Bemused, I weave in and out of the crowd of punters at my local Chermside Apple Store. I am guilty of a wry delight in the sights and sounds of this wondrous marketing symphony that Steve built from nothing but an adolescent day-dream. I paused by an elderly man caressing the oleophobic surface of a screen as if it were his beloved pet Irish Setter. There were breathless rumours that a batch of iPad-2s may or may not arrive today, or maybe tomorrow, then again, it may be next week, and they may not be WiFi versions anyway. Every time someone left the store with an iMac under their arm, the staff-in-blue cheered and clapped and whipped the browsing faithful into an evangelical (yes that word again) frenzy. I knew that there was no chance of picking up an iPad from a bricks-and-mortar store for my girlfriend, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Apple lead its flock in a dance wherein the music never stops. It seemed the online store was the only option. 

A pleasant trade-off for using Apple's bloodless online shopping experience is that you’re rewarded with a couple of lines of free laser-etched text on the back of your iPad.  As we couldn’t come up with anything clever ourselves, we decided a quote from Steve would grace Sabrina's iPad-2. As it happens, Steve's quotes are mostly too long-winded to fit the character limit. The only quotation short and snappy enough to fit was, "I want to put a dent in the universe – Steve Jobs". 

Six months later, surrounded by loved ones, Steve peacefully left our universe and left a big frickin' dent behind.  

His final words were, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” [1]

The news of Steve’s death was so shattering that this author’s estranged girlfriend broke a two year silence and texted the news to him.

Often when someone close to you dies, you begin shuffling through old photos of the departed. For several days after Steve’s death, there were so many people surfing the net for photos of him that his image was the number one search target according to Bill's search engine, Bing. The one photo that caught this author’s eye was in The Washington Post. It was an image one of his neighbours embracing her son outside Steve’s home. [2]

The tributes poured in from the most likely and unlikely places. Within hours of the passing of Bill’s old sparring partner, he twittered, “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.” [3] Facebook-Mark, posted on his page within moments of the announcement: "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you” (almost half a million people ‘liked’ this). The most poetic - but objective - tribute was scribed by prestigious freelance Journo, Tom Junod, in Esquire:

Over the next few weeks, we may well discover that Apple made a frantic push to bring the iPhone 4S into existence, so that its progenitor could breathe a sigh of relief before breathing his last, and that the Moses marooned on the mountaintop could taste fruit from the Promised Land. But there will never be an iPhone 5, in the sense that there will never be an iPhone 5 introduced by Steve Jobs. There will never be an iPhone introduced by a man who always used his introductions to teach us that there is no Promised Land – and no mountaintop. There was only a relentless and remorseless American faith that we wanted what Steve Jobs wanted, and that if Steve Jobs liked something, so would we.[4]  

 

Death can have a unique impact on the both the friends and the foes of the departed. Even those who had locked horns with the man were suddenly apologetic and crest-fallen at the loss of their favourite antagonist. Gizmodo's Brian Lam was at the epicentre of the lost iPhone prototype fiasco. He was the one who Steve called and demanded, "I want my phone back". Steve had personally barred any Gizmodo journo from visiting any Apple event. To the techosphere, this is like getting grounded by your parents for the rest of your life. On the day the big fella died, Brian, caught in a maudlin moment of grief, wrote a lengthy tome about his scuffles with Steve. He revisited an old email he sent to Steve:

From: brian lam <blam@thescuttlefish.com>
Subject: Hey Steve
Date: September 14, 2011 12:31:04 PM PDT
To: Steve Jobs <sjobs@apple.com

Steve, a few months have passed since all that iphone 4 stuff went down, and I just wanted to say that I wish things happened differently. I probably should have quit right after the first story was published for several different reasons. I didn't know how to say that without throwing my team under the bus, so I didn't. Now I've learned it's better to lose a job I don't believe in any more than to do it well and keep it just for that sake. 
I'm sorry for the problems I caused you. [5]

B 

There was no reply, and there never will be.

This author can plot the exact time when the news hit the world that Steve was no longer with us. At 5pm on the 5th of October (US time) this blog registered its sharpest spike in its short history. Where was Steve’s best friend at this time?

Larry Ellison was delivering his keynote at his Oracle Open World Conference. He had just introduced his own enterprise version of his friend’s iCloud. Larry didn’t seem as cocky and sure-footed as he did at last year’s event. Did he know something? Steve’s old friend, Sting, announced later that night that Steve had passed away – “My condolences for the loss in your community. There was a moment of silence. A blogger remembers, “It was eerie to only hear the slight wind along with a few plastic cups rolling in the background, and complete silence from the large crowd.” [6] Sting dedicated the ballad, Fields of Gold to Steve. How was Larry feeling while Sting sang this romantic and sentimental song? Regarding loss of his friend, Larry has kept quiet to this day. 






 

[1] Jones, S. (2011, October 31) Steve Jobs's last words: 'Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow'. The Guardian.

[2] Associated press. (2011, October, 6) Quote Box: Apple’s Steve Jobs remembered by friends, colleagues. Washington Post.
[4] Junod, T. (2011, October 6) Steve Jobs and the Losing Battle. From Esquire Magazine.

[5] Lam, Brian (2011, October 5) Steve Jobs Was Always Kind To Me (Or, Regrets of An Asshole). From The Wirecutter. Retrieved from:

 

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