I remember well. It was September 9th, 2009. You stood on stage for the first time since your life-saving liver transplantation. You started the event somewhat cumbersome by reminding us all that life ends. You told the world how your life was saved by a young man’s choice to become an organ donor. That day, I decided to do the necessary things to make sure that when they day comes, my organs shall go to whoever needs them.
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You were 56 years old when you passed away. A short life, considering statistical averages. But what an amazing life it has been. You invented a company, called it Apple and made it a game changer; Twice. You bought a graphics hardware manufacturer and turned it into the most respected animation studio in the world. You gave us iTunes and iPod which changed the music industry forever. Then you set out to reinvent the mobile phone. And you did.
You changed the world, revolutionized industries and innovated tech that brings the future to our doorsteps. And you made it look so damn easy.
You are gone but you leave behind what they call legacy. You thought us well. I will forever remember this anecdote.
“Mike Evangelist was in charge of a team charged with coming up with ideas for a DVD-burning program that Apple planned to release on highend Macs — an app that would later become iDVD.
“We had about three weeks to prepare,” Evangelist says. He and another employee went to work creating beautiful mock-ups depicting the perfect interface for the new program. On the appointed day, Evangelist and the rest of the team gathered in the boardroom. They’d brought page after page of prototype screen shots showing the new program’s various windows and menu options, along with paragraphs of documentation describing how the app would work.
“Then Steve comes in,” Evangelist recalls. “He doesn’t look at any of our work. He picks up a marker and goes over to the whiteboard. He draws a rectangle. ‘Here’s the new application,’ he says. ‘It’s got one window. You drag your video into the window. Then you click the button that says burn. That’s it. That’s what we’re going to make.’ “”We were dumbfounded,” Evangelist says. This wasn’t how product decisions were made at his old company. Indeed, this isn’t how products are planned anywhere else in the industry.”
I think of this story on a regular basis as it reminds me to not get distracted. Stay focused and stick to your believes. No distractions.
You talked about something similar during your commencement address at Stanford University back in 2005.
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The recording of this speech has been around for years. After many million views, people are still inspired and touched by your vision and your story.
We have never met in person but you have had a profound effect on me. An everlasting impression. And for that, I am grateful.
Thank you, Steve. You blew us away.
Rest in peace.
Here’s to you, Steve.
Here’s to the crazy ones.
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