Apple, Inc + Steve Jobs & Me

I remember the first day I touched a personal computer. It was an Apple.

Growing up, I would get taken to school in the mornings by my neighbors across the street. They were our neighborhood’s version of the Joneses–meaning they had all the coolest, most expensive electronics before anyone else–so we all had to keep up with them.

I would wake up extra early the mornings I knew they would be taking me. I would run over and catch transformers cartoons on their massive big screen TV and play on their Apple Macintosh. I was wowed by the simple clicking and dragging of blocky pixelated files across the colored screen. The toggling, highlighting, opening and closing, all of it blew me away.

I especially loved to play Oregon Trail, but always seemed to die of dysentery or drown everyone in a failed river ford attempt.

Over the years I became fascinated by the Apple brand. Like everyone else on this planet, it seemed that the company had an intuitive sense of what I wanted in electronics, even when I never knew what it was.

The problem, however, was that my parents were fiscally strict. Electronics were not at the top of their priority list in terms of where it fit in the budget. We settled a couple of years after this with a Gateway PC. I was sad to see no Oregon Trail in the installation package, nor was I smart enough to understand how the hell to get it on there.

I became a master of Tetris, playing throughout the night while repeating the classical song ‘Claire de Lune’ with the Windows Media Player. I don’t know what it was about that tune, but it was a very powerful and emotional moment for me.

That, Encarta, and the Weezer song “Buddy Holley” were the only things that I enjoyed out of that computer system. I always wanted Apple products, but my family could never afford the price tags, so I always had to settle with the 2nd or 3rd class imitators. They were never as good, and my adolescent need for peer approval would put me in a rut of rejection.

It was only when I got to college that I got my hands on an Apple device I officially called my own: it was an iPod. I bought a 64 GB, black, color screen iPod. Granted, it was with the financial aid I received my sophomore semester, but it was surely all worth it. Now I could keep in one place all of the pirated music we collectively shared together in the dorms. From Hendrix and the Doors to the Shins and Ben Harper, I was happy.

By that time, now more than half a decade ago, I understood a lot more about the company, and the man, who set to revolutionize every form of technology I had ever placed my hands on.

A driven, genius, rebellious, asshole. He was Steve Jobs. I admired him for his brilliance and jokingly criticized his inability to provide me with a new piece of tech for my impecunious budget. None of it mattered. I championed his accomplishments even though I could barely justify my $500 purchase of a portable music player.

A year or two later, I discover his now legendary Stanford Commencement Speech, and I grew to love him even more. The ruthlessness CEO I would read about virtually every week seemed to melt away when he told those 3 simple, elegant, inspiring stories of his life.

His first story, about college, was spot on. I wish I had the courage to drop out of college like he did. Instead of dropping into classes I wanted to take, I simply enrolled in them. I ended up taking nearly 180 undergraduate credit hours. I failed a handful of them, but I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could so that I could have the chance to absorb everything I could. Jobs inspired me to become an entrepreneur. He gave me the confidence to follow my heart, and trust that the dots will connect.

Most recently, I finally had the opportunity to purchase the newest iPad. This time it’s with my hard earned working money, but it’s bittersweet, because now the man who made it is no longer alive. As my friends can attest, it’s the device I was geeking out about when I first read about its rumors back in 2008. The machine I wanted then, I finally have. Yes, I could have bought the iPad 1 or 2, but this one is the one that I always thought a Apple tablet should be.

More to come on this matter… Stay tuned for more of Apple, Inc. + Steve Jobs & Me

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