There are certain historical events that you’ll always remember where you were the moment you found out about them. The production of our latest magazine, the 9/11 issue, had all of the editors reflecting on where they were on that fall day in 2001.
Likewise, it’s hard to forget the moment you found out that certain famous (and infamous) people of your lifetime died. I was at my high school graduation when I found out Michael Jackson was dead. I was locked away in the Buzzcave when I announced the death of Osama bin Laden to my fellow editors during production weekend. And most recently, I was preparing for a weekly Buzzsaw meeting when I broke the news of Steve Jobs to the Buzzsaw Staff.
And while I think an entire blog about how I’m now part of the Buzzsaw Staff’s memories forever seems like a great idea, it seems just slightly more important to discuss the ways Steve Jobs has affected not only my generation, but my life specifically.
Steve Jobs didn’t just help define technology, music or personal computers. He helped us define ourselves. Being a “Mac” as opposed to a “PC” is just as much a part of our identities as our educational background or political affiliation.
Personally, I’ve been a “Mac” for most of my life — despite being raised in a home of PCs. My elementary school got new, colorful iMacs when I was in second grade and suddenly computers were fascinating and alluring. Three years ago, to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the iMac’s release, Macworld released a list of “Eight ways the iMac changed the computing world.” For me, the iMac changed the world in one way: I became interested in computers.
My interest in and subsequent skills with computers have been both a blessing and a curse throughout my lifetime. While it’s never been fun to play IT for your entire dorm, it’s impressed the likes of professors and employers and therefore has given me an advantage in many ways. Not to mention, it’s always given me a way to stand out—something that I think I have always taked for granted.
And then ten years later, with all the new products and innovations Apple and Jobs had introduced to the world, the iMac managed to change my world again. It was on the then-outdated, colorful iMacs in my high school newspaper office that I fell in love with journalism. It was where my first byline was produced, my first edits as an editor were made, my first page was designed. It was on those iMacs that I unearthed my passion and discovered my career path.
When speaking at Stanford University’s commencement in 2005, Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
I’ve always told anyone who is willing to listen that journalism has never been just my major, hobby or extracurricular of choice, it’s my passion. And whenever I have sat down in front of an Apple product pursuing my interest in journalism—be it in a classroom, the Buzz Cave, a desk at my internship—I’m immediately reminded of the multicolored iMacs in room 321— that changed and determined my life forever.
My first major purchase — ever — was an iPod. My parents allowed me to use $250 of my Bat Mitzvah money (in case you’re following the Buzzsaw drinking game, finish your drink when I mention being Jewish) to buy an iPod mini. It was my baby — in all its fat, pink glory (this description, I should mention, is not far from a description of myself as a baby).
Having my iPod (named after Wanda, of The Fairly OddParents fame) taught me a few things. Firstly, it made me appreciate music. I didn’t just want whatever 40 songs were being looped on the radio continuously. iTunes made me realize that the world of music was much bigger than 40 songs. Having my iPod made me take notice of music—I began asking my dad for the names of songs I liked playing on his oldies station because I wanted to download it later. It’s a bond that my dad and I still have and an activity we still take part in. It seems silly for me to explain just how important music is, because anyone that has listened to the right song and the right moment and just felt it knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Additionally, the purchase of my own iPod also taught me a lot about money. Like I said, it was my first major purchase. There is something extremely satisfying about buying something with your own money, and by making that first major purchase, you learn something about the value of a dollar. Likewise, I learned something about myself — if Apple puts out a product, I will want it. This past summer, I saved up all the money I could, while working two unpaid internships, so I could buy an iPad.
My college experience has almost been synonymous with my Macbook Pro, a sentiment I’m sure other Parkies can appreciate. A broken screen, a j-research paper, countless videochats, my first Buzzsaw article, a few close calls with liquids and a couple thousands fights with Apogee later, I can confidentally say that during my college experience we’ve been through a lot, but we’ve been through it together.
One of the first things I did when I decided on Ithaca was buy my Macbook Pro (subsequently, followed by an embarrassing photo shoot on Photobooth).
Before I was even accepted to Ithaca, I had to pick my senior year book quote. My first choice, which was ultimately determined to be too long, was a quote from Apple’s 1997 “Think Differently” campaign.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
It’s hard to read that quote and not think of Steve Jobs. He didn’t just give us a computer, but rather he gave us convenience and communication. I can’t begin to imagine how I’d maintain relationships with friends from high school without iChat, how I’d pass time in classes without the App Store at the convenience of my fingertips with my iPad or I’d go to the gym without my “Let’s Workout!” playlist blaring from my iPod. There are countless other ways Job’s innovations impact my life each and everyday — I was using my Macbook when I read the news of his death.
I think I can speak on behalf of my generation when I say: Here’s to you, Mr. Jobs. Thanks for everything.