Monday, October 10, 2011

Steve Jobs and History

After Steve Jobs passing from pancreatic cancer, there has been a huge number of articles and remembrances about the man and his impact on technology. There will be many books written in the future as well.

I just wanted to add a few of my own thoughts while they are fresh to me now. I talk about Steve Jobs in my classes. How could you teach about entrepreneurship and technology and not. Or the evolution of the Internet and the Web as well. The latter may not be the first topic that comes to mind, but his impact has been felt there beyond the personal computers and digital players that have come from the company.

I was able to meet Steve Jobs in person once in my life. He was at the University of Washington Seattle and visited the tech fair. I don't even remember the year, though because he has just launched the NeXT Computer and gave a presentation at Meany Theater I believe it was around 1989-90. I was working at Microsoft at the Time.

He has had an interesting life, and his relationship with Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple is in itself a character study. You can read "West of Eden, The End of Innocence at Apple Computer" for some background on the relationship of Steve to the company. You can even watch some of the recent biopics that have come out like "The Pirates of Silicon Valley from 2005". And that film came out before Steve brought Apple back to be the giant it once more is. Steve Jobs life may become its own course of study.

However there are two things that I like to point out when talking about his life. He has helmed two different billion dollar companies. Apple and Pixar. His company he founded after being ousted from Apple, NeXT Computers, made it easier for Pixar to create Toy Story and Finding Nemo. It was on a NeXT Computer that Tim Berners-Lee set up the very first World Wide Web server.

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