In 2004 I was laying on the floor in my office trying to plug a jump drive into the usb port of my PC. We called these computers “desktop,” but we usually put them on the floor under our desks so they would scrape your left knee throughout the day, while the little cooling fan swirled dust around your calf.
Some designer at this big name PC company had angled the usb port toward the floor, so to plug in a jump drive, you literally had to lay on the floor, get your head beneath the port and then look up at the tower so you could see the correct angle to connect your jump drive.
So there I was with my head on the carpet, muttering under my breath, trying once again to do something so simple as plug in a device.
And that’s when I decided it was time to buy a Mac.
Two friends of mine had Mac laptops and I was intrigued. The mac sucked a cd into its drive with a satisfying, ‘schmock” rather than shooting out a flimsy plastic tray. It didn’t need virus software. It knew what device you plugged in rather than making you install a driver and click “yes” 4 or 5 times for permission. Unpacking a Mac from its box was fun, as if the people at Apple actually put significant thought into wondering how to make unpacking a box fun.
I bought a mac because I thought it was elegant, simple and most of all, far more intuitively designed than my knee skinning, calf cooling PC.
But more importantly and completely unexpectedly, the mac unleashed creativity and ability in me I never thought I had. Since owning a mac, I’ve created dozens of movies for our church, recorded voiceovers and songs, filmed, edited and scored a documentary for our city which now resides on DVD complete with full artwork. I’ve made ringtones for my wife (when I call, her phone sings “Like Wow, Wipeout.” When she calls me, Barry White sings “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Baby” complete with breathy spoken intro.) I’ve uploaded podcasts, designed websites and hundreds of graphics for our church.
None of the above list sounds revolutionary because we all know that guy who is great with a video camera, or song. But I’ve never been that guy until I started using a mac.
Everyone knows Steve Jobs brought a unique contribution to this world. In the wake of Job’s passing, people will talk about how he revolutionized computing, animated film, media and cell phones. They’ll use words like elegance, simplicity, vision, tyranny, and his ability to speak in public, creating the “reality distortion field.”
People will talk about Jobs’ worldwide influence, but for me it is much more personal. I would like to simply thank Steve Jobs and his team at Apple for building a bridge. A bridge that shortened the gap between the world’s true creative and technical geniuses and me. Somewhere in the distant past, Jobs chose a path for his computers. He decided that users would rather do something creative with their computers than mathematical. Something that evoked emotion and meaning rather than pure function. In place of orienting a computer around spreadsheets and databases, Steve focused on music, movies, photos, songs. He put great effort and skill into building tools that everyday folks like me could use and enjoy and feel exhilarated while working.
The bottom line: The quality of my creative product greatly exceeds my inherent ability thanks to my mac.
And therefore thanks to Steve Jobs.
You will be missed.