Though a little late to be said, its hard to truly put this into words. I’ve written this over and over many different times and different ways, and now, I have to sit down and put down the first thing that comes to mind.
Most people live without having a real role model. Others have fleeting bits of inspiration by someone for short periods of time. Few people have someone that they look at and think, “…if only I was the tiniest fraction of that.” This is for the one that gave me those moments.
I’ve never truly had it hard. Quite frankly my life has been pretty nice. I’ve never faced true hardship, though my grades would at times give me stress. I find inspiration from few people that show me what it is like to push themselves, and the lives around them to truly be their best. Now, the man that define that inspiration, and is one of the leading reasons for where I currently work has passed.
His work shaped the way we communicate, play, and grow. His foresight in design and quality helped make products that anyone could use, and for us, are extremely easy to teach. It has never been about the shiny, new thing, as much as it has been about that on thing you know works, feels, and runs well. He influence and strict nature for quality pushed product design, and in doing so, defined the word.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
In the store we talk about owning our roles, and being the very best at what we are currently tasked to do. All of this reminding me that of all people to be doing just that, he was. We don’t invent the wheel or introduce something that doesn’t already have a genre. But, what we do is make them enjoyable, easy and fun. Taking the complex and simplifying them to make it available to the masses in a way anyone could understand. It took someone with that special mindset to create it, surrounded by other brilliant thinkers. Because when you inspire a group of them to build something unique, you know it will turn out great.
It takes a lot to run a company the way he did, but he did it well. His reach in every aspect of the business helped him bring some truly quality products to fruition, and despite how hard it is to be a part of everything, he made it look easy. Someone I know best put it,
I can tell you that I have been in consumer electronics for a LONG time, and it is unbelievable how many stories come out about [him] knowing such amazing detail about every product, every feature, every material selection in a store’s architecture, every color, everything. No CEO that I’ve worked under had such amazing reach in our businesses.
Its not about micro-managing everything, as much as making sure that every aspect of what you produce, was made by the best to be the best. Quality trumps all, and he made sure to show that every time.
He defined passion and inspired many to be the same. Its hard to find anyone that can do the same. A passion that drove people to become more than they expected, even down the the people who provide it in the store. We are there because we love it, we are there because he inspired us to be passionate, and I know the stores will do their best to provide that legacy for many years.
personally, after reading the quote above from a family member, I had to write something back.
Coming from the Retail Perspective
I went from working at CVS to the Apple store, taking a paycut knowing full well that I would love my job. I wasn’t wrong. The atmosphere and the people I get to share knowledge with everyday is amazing. Joining visual team, even if briefly, I saw the same meticulous detail of our products put into the store. Every detail is considered and accounted for, and we try to uphold to it as best we can. Going from Specialist to FRS (Family Room Specialist) and helping with technical support broadened my view, and showed our support for our customers, going out of our way to make each of their days a little nicer. I may only have 10 minutes a person, but we try and make them count. Over all, my experience at Apple so far has been exciting, intriguing and always inspiring. As every day passed and I learned how to “own my role” as we say, I saw more of Steve Jobs inspiration into how these stores came to be the way they are. Do we all have a lump in our throats? Yes, that goes without saying. I wish I could have met the man that inspired so many, and to have even a fraction of that ability to inspire others.
You walk through life minding your own business, watching the world being shaped around you. Though most people don’t know who it is shaping this world, I saw, and I am glad to have lived in an era that gave us such a person. I’m glad to have been a part of the experience that enriched so many lives.
He’s inspired me time and time again to push quality over quantity in every bit of work I do. He has help drive my aspirations to want to help the world, and make a dent in the universe. One day, hopefully, I’ll get that chance.
I’ll only say his name once, because there could only be one. So it is with a heart felt farewell and a lump in my throat that I say goodbye to one of the greatest role models of our time. So long Steve Jobs, you owned your role, and defined what it means to be a great leader.