Truth be told, I can’t draw very well. Yet, since I was a young girl, my dream was to be an artist. I liked cartooning cats and daisies – smiling cats and daisies, actually. They were fun to draw, albeit done poorly. I mention this because my lack of traditional artistic talent led me to a career decision that set the course for the rest of my life. Forsaking my business administration degree, in the late 70′s I went back to college for graphic design.
In the early 80′s my first agency launched – efficiently combining my business and design education. We were definitely old school. Drafting boards, straight edges, colored markers and pads of paper – lots and lots of paper. My little business easily was responsible for the death of thousands of trees. Mea culpa, Mr. Vice President.
Though I was doing creative work – there was a dark side. I loved the creative process, but once we were in production? Not so much. Straight edges would perform as the inventor intended only if used properly. If not, once a mechanical* with crooked type, tilting red-lined boxes, or bits of dirt on the board were overlooked, you could be sure they would end up in the final print. They were certainly found then – sometimes by the client. Reprinting a brochure on your own dime eats through profit margin in one ginormous chomp.
Then one day, Steve Jobs entered my life in the guise of a Macintosh computer. Once that baby arrived, I never looked back, replacing all those straight edges with Macs. The creative process became exciting and fun again, now that what was designed could be accurately produced and pesky errors spotted and fixed in seconds. Business was profitable again. I know Steve Jobs and his company, Apple Computer, are the ones I have to thank.
Steve died today. He was 56 years old. Steve Jobs was more than a genius and a visionary – he was a game changer. His leadership and inspiration not only led to delights like the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad – it gave small businesses like mine a chance to compete with larger firms, and win. Steve Jobs literally rewired every facet of our lives and made Napoleon Hill’s motto “Whatever the human mind can conceive and believe it can achieve” a reality for millions.
I could not be writing this small tribute in the way I am writing it, and you could not be reading my words in the way you are reading them if a man like Steve Jobs had never existed. And I could not have become an artist – I couldn’t draw, after all – if not for Steve Jobs.
Thank you, Steve – for the Mac, for everything. May God rest your soul and comfort your family and friends.