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Steve Jobs 1955-2011: My Thanks And Tribute

As with most people my age, my first experience with an Apple product was when I was in elementary school. Our school had a computer lab set up with Apple computers, which were operated by floppy disks. My first taste of technology was using these computers and playing games such as Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.

The games promoted strategy, critical thinking and even taught world geography. It was amazing that someone could learn from a computer and not just a textbook. Fortunately for me, my public school system could afford computers and we used them regularly. It challenged my thinking on what was possible with technology.

While the school computer labs were usually always Apple computers, everything at home and later in college and work were all Windows-based PCs. It wasn’t until I landed a job at an advertising and marketing shop, owned by my best friend’s dad, that I began using Apple products again. These beautifully designed Apple desktops were loaded with the first version of Mac OS X. It was mind blowing to me how simple, yet powerful these computers could be. And best of all, it was an absolute pleasure to use the computer all day. I didn’t suffer from computer fatigue, as it really was fun to accomplish your daily tasks on an Apple computer.

Steve Jobs - Apple

“Once you go Mac, you don’t go back.”

Outside of my summer job working at the marketing company, I quickly realized the world primarily used Windows, yet I seriously disliked using it. I bought my first iPod in the fall of 2003 and my first Mac computer (an iMac) in 2005. The more I used an Apple computer or iPod, the more I realized that this is the way interaction with a computer or consumer device should be.

Since then, our family has purchased four more Apple computers, one iPad, two iPhones and countless iPods. Every new Apple product we’ve purchased has lessened the stress of our every day computing lives. I get far less “my computer doesn’t work” comments. We’ve even convinced many of our friends and family to purchase iPhones and Macs. As we always say, “once you go Mac, you don’t go back.”

Using an iPad or iPhone has truly enabled our family, company and friends to stay in touch with each other with speed, beauty, and grace.

The Stanford Commencement Address

In 2005, Steve Jobs gave an iconic commencement address to the students at Stanford, one I would propose as one of the finest commencement addresses of all time. I find that I still watch his address at least once a year to remind me that I should challenge myself in life and never settle for things that don’t interest me, never keep the status quo and always realize that life is short. It challenges me to make the best of my life and never be comfortable.

It was this desire to challenge myself and leave behind the status quo that resulted in me joining Dyn in the first place. I pushed my accounting firm to allow me to be put on the audit engagement as Dyn’s auditor. Dyn was among my favorite audit clients and I love it even more so as a employee. The people who work here possess and put in place many of the values and concepts that Steve says in his commencement address.

Case in point: the first question Dyn asks a new employee is “Mac or PC”. We always want to ensure an employee can use a computing platform in which they will be most efficient and “at home.” It still amazes me that the vast majority of employees use a Mac (some even for the first time). Three of the five people in the finance department at Dyn use Macs. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Some of my favorite lines from that day:

  • “… you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
  • “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
  • “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
  • “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Steve, you have been an inspiration to me and countless other people I work with at Dyn and throughout the world. We should all be so blessed to have the vision, guts, and ability to develop products people really want to use. You had a gift for taking the complicated and complex and turning it into something simple and easy to use.

Rest in peace, Steve. Thank you for challenging us to live our days to the fullest and design products which are equally easy to use yet powerful and innovative. You will be missed.

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