As soon as I heard the breaking news of the death of Steve Jobs last night, I felt compelled to write a thank you note to him and bring it, along with a rose and a red apple, to his flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Maybe, maybe the public restraint I saw is generational, but if Steve Jobs is to be the Princess Diana for us geeks, we're going to have to do much better in our spontaneous expression of love, honor and appreciation.
Someone magical has left the planet, no matter how we all will forever live in his iClouds. And I feel shameful for my greed in wishing we all had many more years of him. I feel a lot of pain that his family didn't have enough.
He leaves four children, a wife, and a sister he was raised with by his adoptive parents, Paul and Clara Jobs (who predeceased him).
Steve Jobs is also survived by a biological sister who he tracked down, along with their mother, when he ws 27. Over the years, he and his sister, already an accomplished novelist when they met, forged a deep and adoring relationship. Seeming to share DNA for boundless creativity, Mona Simpson certainly didn't have her brother long enough.
As for the rest of us: we now live in the magical hi-tech world that came out of Steve Jobs' imagination. (Imagine that!) And it turns out he wasn't the crazy guy in the lab. He was, perhaps, once a bit of a geek. But he didn't just earn a seat at the cool kids' table, he reinvented the cool kid's table and patented it.
If it wasn't enough to be the Thomas Edison of the 21st century, he also stopped for a moment and taught us all how to live a more meaningful life. His 2005 commencement speech at Stanford is now a viral video.
It's been viral with my gang for years. We watch or read it at least twice a year.
My own professional career began with a manual typewriter that was quickly upgraded to an electric. In my first newsroom, each desk had a large pot of rubber cement for gluing our pages together so none would be out of order on the way to be set in type.
In the early '80s, I was the first of my writer friends to buy a dedicated word processor, the Kaypro II, that was called "portable" since it folded up like a suitcase, but was more the size and weight of a sewing machine.
By the time I joined ABC News in 1989, I owned a Toshiba 3100 on which I had written a history book and a medical book. Back then, ABC News did not supply producers with laptops. With the Apple Macintosh still an embryo, my then state-of-the-art Toshiba traveled everywhere with me on assignments around the world. At 11 pounds, my neck still suffers the damage. I once accidentally knocked the plug out at 3:00 a.m., on a deadline. I lost all 11 pages of the script which I, tearfully, had to recreate.
The first real Apple laptop was introduced in 1991, but was not the game-changer they would have with their Mac Pro.
Today, I am an Apple devotee hopelessly tethered to my MacBook Pro and iPad 2 -- even in bed.
Thanks to Steve Jobs, I produce original videos and movies and can explore the breadth of my own creativity daily. It seems as though, through that "lightness" about which he spoke, he personally knew exactly what I needed to rediscover my passions
I write books now without fear of crashes. One of my newer projects involves a group of scientists and doctors from leading hospitals and research facilities around the world who have formed a revolutionary alliance to overcome regulatory and economic obstacles and share their knowledge and technology advances to cure all modern diseases. One member recently published his patent for a chemotherapy technology said to be the "smart bomb" for metastatic pancreatic cancer which just claimed Steve Jobs, and too many lives before him.
So while I contemplate an iGrieve app today, I also honor Steve Jobs' with this promise from his words: to be patient until all the dots connect, to remember the lightness of beginning again, to "keep looking and don't settle." Finally, I promise to continue to follow the part of the philosophy we already shared: stay hungry and stay foolish.
Feel free to access a written version of Steve Jobs' commencement speech through the blog I posted in August: Steve Jobs Resigns, An Era Ends, and My Heart is Broken.
This blog originally was posted on Shelley Ross' daily Xpress.