Steve Jobs, who died yesterday, might have appreciated golfer Ben Hogan’s famous quote that, “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”
My own favourite expression is that, “Everything is relative.” We all go through mini crises in work and life but most of ours pale in comparison with the sacrifices that brave unarmed protestors are making in places like Syria or people who, like Jobs, face cancer or other life threatening illness.
In his address to a Stanford graduation ceremony in June 2005, about a year after he was diagnosed with cancer, Jobs spoke about death. This is available as a transcript:
He would probably have been the PR client from hell but in a tribute to his contribution to making technology accessible the following is a reprint of a blog written in August when he announced his retirement:
Thank you Steve Jobs – You made technology fun (and understandable)
Working as a PR guy in technology can be a frustrating business. The reason being that all one’s principles about clear and simple communications are threatened by the first encounter with most technology products (and people). A bit like talking to your broker about pensions. Remember, I am a child of that impenetrable PC operating system MS-DOS.
Which is why the recent eulogising over Steve Jobs’ retirement as CEO of Apple is understandable. Barry Napier, chairman of major Apple accessories distributor BPI Telecom kindly gave me my first iPod. The theory was that if I was doing PR for his products then I should at least know how to use them. (I’m still waiting hopefully for the Porsche account).
The thought of having to load my CDs on to my PC through iTunes and then hope that it connected to the iPod was daunting. I speak as someone whose wife does all the complex electrical stuff around the house like changing light bulbs. But guess what. It worked. You just connected the iPod to the PC and off it went.
O2 (thank you Diarmuid O’Neill) gave me my first iPhone adopting the same principle as Barry. Now I was high wiring stuff. Downloading like a teenager tracks and albums from iTunes. Accessing my email in a café in the middle of Prague. Downloading the Pat Kenny Show in a wi fi zone in the Algarve and listening to it that day. Accessing blues and jazz stations from all over the world. Downloading a Portuguese dictionary that not only tells you the word but helpfully pronounces it in audio. Playing computer games again…and there’s still a couple of hundred thousand more apps to discover. I even made a few phone calls.
And all through and because of the iPhone. And all because it is intuitive, easy to use and what all technology should be about.