Steve Jobs – The Greatest of Our Time

Hardy anyone knew this kid back in-the-day.  “Steve who?” people would have said.  No one knew the man he would someday become.  The visionary, the mover, the shaker.  He’s an inventor, a manufacturer, a retailer and compared to those who came before him — he is the best of them all.  Always the target of skeptics and constant criticism, and always the one who had the last laugh.

I wrote those words just a few weeks ago in preparation for a blog about Steve Jobs.  Little did I know what was soon ahead.

You no doubt heard the news last week about the Apple founder who was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004 followed by a liver transplant two years ago.  In January of this year Jobs took a leave of absence from his duties at Apple to concentrate on his failing health.  Last Thursday he announced in a brief resignation letter to the Board of Directors and the Apple Community:  “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”

Jobs & the Macintosh – 1984

Unfortunate indeed.  I grew up with Steve throughout my adult life beginning in the summer of 1976 when I saw that first Apple computer.  I remember lusting for an Apple II with Visicalc software while staring at one through a Bend, Oregon store window in the early 80’s.  Later, while in the computer retail business, I sold Apple IIc’s and then the Macintosh was introduced along with that classic 1984 television commercial on the Super Bowl.  I would sell one of the first Macintosh Computers ever sold in Seattle.  Admittedly I had little faith in that first Mac and that dumb thing called a “mouse” along with its graphical user interface.  Boy was I wrong!   Since then I’ve become a huge admirer of Steve Jobs and everything Apple.

I’m writing this blog on my Apple PowerBook G4 laptop.  After having been a long-time Windows PC user for more than 20 years I’ve never looked back since that transition to Apple eight years ago.  Not even a glance!  I’ve read several books about Jobs as I have on Bill Gates.  I have followed their careers closely since they were — just like me — young men.  Both are known as difficult taskmasters, demanding and showing down-right tyrannical behavior toward those they work with.  But you can’t argue with what they’ve created.  Jobs I think — even more so than Gates — has changed the world as we once knew it.  His designs and obsession for perfection are legendary.  His accomplishments and the toys he’s created are far too many to list here.  CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer said it well when speaking of Steve Jobs earlier this year:

This guy’s the greatest manufacturer of our time, he’s Henry Ford.  He’s the greatest inventor of our time, he’s Thomas Alva Edison.  What people don’t realize, he’s also the greatest retailer of our time, he’s Sam Walton.

Amazing but all true.

I really hope I’m wrong but I fear Steve won’t be with us too much longer and I wonder how Apple will weather his absence and lack of leadership.  One thing is certain, it will never, ever be the same — this world or that company — without Steve Jobs.

Related Posts:
Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

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6 comments on “Steve Jobs – The Greatest of Our Time

  1. Igor Johnson says:

    “…..I really hope I’m wrong but I fear Steve won’t be with us too much longer and I wonder how Apple will weather his absence and lack of leadership…”

    Rick, it’s incredibly so sad that your words of a few short weeks ago came to life so soon.

    RIP Steve – and thanks for your contribution to my life in so many ways.

    You’ve made more than just that dent in this guy’s life…..

    • Rick Gleason says:

      Igor, thank you so much for checking out my blog on Steve and especially for your comment.

      Not only did Jobs want to put a “dent” in your life but had once said, “I want to put a ding in the universe.”

      There’s no question he accomplished more than just a ding.

      I hope you’ll visit again.

  2. Terri A. in Redding says:

    He’ll definitely be missed, but I’m quite sure he won’t be far from the boardroom or the company floor. Poor guy, probably not doing well darn it. But he’s certainly made his mark since those young days starting in Cupertino.

    As a teeny bopper, I worked at the very first Chuck E. Cheese, created by who else….Apple….and his sister was my mom’s assistant for several years. Needless to say, we heard lots of early Apple scuttlebutt.

    It’s been over 25 yrs since I lived there, and probably 30 or more since I met him. Doubt he would recall meeting me, but at least I can say “I remember him when”.

    • Rick Gleason says:

      Thanks Terri for sharing your real-world experience with the great one. Very Cool! I hope your close association was inspiration to purchase lots of Apple stock!

      We used to take our kids to Chuck E. Cheese all-the-time, back in-the-day. Per Wikipedia Chuck E. Cheese was founded by Nolan Bushnell who previously founded Atari, the video game company. Bushnell is from Utah where I spent a bit of my former life and I’m quite fmiliar with his accomplishments.

      I hope we’ll hear fom you again and again!

  3. So many people keep telling me I should have bought a Mac when I got this last computer. I dunno but as usual, finances is what dictated my purchase in the end. But no doubt about it that Steve Jobs was quite the entrepreneur, for sure -the mad scientist, a genius, curmudgeon at times too I suppose but one very savvy individual, for sure!

    • Rick Gleason says:

      There is no question Apple products are more expensive than their competitors. I think the fact that I’m still using the same laptop I bought eight years ago is testament to Apple’s quality and durability. There’s a favorite quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin I refer to often:

      The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweet taste of low prices are forgotten.

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