Tuesday, October 11
It was 1992. The very idea of computers scared me. Any letter had to typed by my secretary. Presentations were written on sheets of paper and then transferred by specialists onto acetate slides.
I had agreed to help a friend with some marketing ideas for his small business. He said it would really help if I could prepare my ideas on his computer. I was horrified. "It would take me ages just to learn how to use it" I protested.
"No it won't. Its an Apple Mac. Here, sit down, and I'll show you"
Filled with scepticism and trepidation I started to take the first timid steps. To my great surprise, the little machine seemed to respect my terror of making a fool of myself, and gently helped me complete my first document. Within a few days I was working with my first ever spreadsheet. I was in control of my finances, I was preparing my own professional - looking reports. Within a few weeks I had bought my own first Mac, an LC II. It followed me to Prague, where I was delighted to find DDB Prague had decided on using Apple Macs. What a good job I had met the Mac a few months earlier, because the agency had also decided not to use secretaries!
Within a year the Mac had entirely transformed the way I did my work. It was successful at this because it was easy to use, and fun to use. It had obviously been designed with the idea that the computer had to adapt to me and my failings, and not the other way round.
The rest is history, which thousands of articles around the world have documented in response to the news that Steve Jobs has departed this world at such a young age. I realise that I spend more time each day using Apple products than any other. I work, I enjoy my music, I have images to remind me of good times gone by, I plan the good times to come, I stay in contact with friends wherever I am. The Apple products I own give me all this, and I can't think either of products which give me such a consistently high level of user satisfaction.
There is nothing unusual about my experience. Millions of people around the world have similar feelings, but how extraordinary it is that they also feel such an emotional bond to machines, that they too are ready to write about it in these terms. Apple was not just about Steve Jobs, but he was unquestionably the leader. What a life! What a mark to leave on the world! What an achievement, to improve the lives of millions of people like me in this way!
RIP Steve Jobs.