I’m not sure what happened to my copy of Bob Cringley’s Accidental Empires, so I’ll have to paraphrase what he said about those upstarts who suddenly found themselves at the centre of the computer revolution. There was image-conscious Larry Ellison, the fantastically bright arch-nerd Bill Gates and his business brain Steve Ballmer. After a few chapters talking about the history of computing, their personalities and success stories, Bob turned his attention to the co-founder of Apple Computer. “Steve Jobs is crazy,” he wrote. Crazy, because he wasn’t like the others, following the money, fame or power. He was following an ideal.
As one of Steve’s earliest employees, it’s fair to say that he probably knew Steve Jobs as well than anyone, so I’ll leave the talking – and insight – to him. I am left with one thought however – that he lived up to the words of Mahatma Ghandi as closely as humanly possible, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” While he was in the right place at the beginning, success was never guaranteed; it would have been too easy to become one of technology’s also-rans, invest in a few films and a museum, and watch the world from the veranda.
Steve was the first of his generation to check out, but by the time he did, the empire he created was no accident. My thoughts are not of sadness, but inspiration.