I Will Miss You, Steve

The death of Steve Jobs has been affecting me much more than I anticipated. Just like everyone else, I knew Steve’s days were numbered, yet, I didn’t really prepare myself.

Instead, I did what I sometimes do to unconsciously protect myself. I put my feelings aside and kept ignoring emotions as though they didn’t exist.

When the news broke, I was terribly shocked, but not surprised. At the time, I was very sad, but I think I didn’t process the information right away. Again, I think my brain blocked my feelings to protect me.

As I watched Apple’s celebration of Steve Jobs in Cupertino yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel immensely sad, my eyes filling with tears. A few of them eventually fell on my face.

How did I get there? How can I be so affected by the death of a man whom I had never met? A man that, mind you, I had very much disliked for many years.

Yes, for the longest time, I wasn’t a big fan of Steve Jobs. While I respected the work he had been doing, I really disliked the man as a human being. Steve Jobs was a real asshole. A dictator. A selfish and egocentric man with little regard for the feelings of others.

I remember reading about Steve Jobs’ return to Apple several years ago. The article told the story of how cutting the company’s philanthropic program was one of the first thing he did upon his return in 1997. As an avid Windows user at the time, and someone with great respect for Bill Gates’ charity involvement, I thought Steve Jobs was just what I always had assumed: a big asshole…

And an asshole he was. Just like he proved to be when he denied paternity of his first daughter that was born out of wedlock. But this is not the point of this post.

When Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone in 2007, I knew this was the device I had been waiting for all my life. I fell in love with it right away, just like I had fallen in love with my first iPod a few years before that.

Then I created this blog in 2008, a year after the original iPhone launched. iDB was just a hobby that wasn’t generating any revenue, but it was fine because I wasn’t really trying to make money out of it. I just wanted to share my passion for hacking the iPhone and going around Apple’s insane restrictions with the world.

If you’re a long time iDB reader, you know that I’ve always been a harsh critic of Apple and Steve Jobs. I simply couldn’t agree with a company’s philosophy that the user should not be in control, and that Apple knows better than me. Nonsense! I’m a rebel. I don’t need people to tell me what I can and cannot do with my device!

Throughout the years, I got wiser and I guess I lost some of my rebel temper. I started to see the vision of the man. I started to understand. Most importantly, I started to adhere to it. Oh my god, what have I become?

To this day, I still don’t agree 100% with Apple, but I totally understand and respect the choices that its executive team makes. I do not think Apple is evil for creating what might be the biggest digital walled garden. I think they have a different way of looking at things, and I do believe this is for our best. I also believe this is the best strategy for Apple, and one that has certainly paid off.

So, Apple got me. I’m a believer. (Not a fanboy!) Unlike others, I just don’t agree with everything Apple does, and I can be very critical of its actions. I’m not following Apple blindly.

This is all Steve’s fault. He made me what I am today.

I still don’t think the man is a saint, but now I can look passed his assholeness because this is not what matters. What matters to me is how he impacted my life, not how he behaved towards other people. What matters to me, and what should matter to you, is how he has changed our lives forever for the best.

When I look back at the last three years of my life, I am incredibly grateful for what Steve Jobs has done for me. Besides providing me with the best phone and the best computer, he helped me get to where I am today.

In 2009, I quit my comfortable and well-paid job as a marketing executive. The blog wasn’t doing great at the time, but my wife Tina – girlfriend at the time – told me, “Go ahead honey, do it! If you can’t make it at least you will have tried, and no matter what, I’ll be supporting you.”

So,I did it. iDB became more and more popular and I was starting to make a decent living out of it. The nature of this business even allowed Tina and I to take 8 months off and go travel the world. Armed with a laptop, we visited 8 countries, and I was still able to work to finance the trip.

That was the life!

During our travels we met many people who would inevitably ask us what we do for a living and how we could afford this trip, since we lived large. “I’m a blogger. I blog about the iPhone, and that’s how we can pay for this trip.” While other travelers were saving every dollar they could from their tight budget, we were living like kings and queens – which is really not that hard to do in South East Asia. People remarked how lucky I was to have such a job, and I obviously agreed with them.

Now, iDB is a well-oiled machine. We certainly don’t make millions – we’re very very far from it – but we make enough to support myself, two full-time writers, and 2-3 other writers.

Who should I thank for that? Steve Jobs of course.

I never met the guy, and I probably wouldn’t have liked him anyway, but I feel like I owe him a lot. I owe him because I was able to create a sustainable business solely based on products that he created, but I also owe him for the inspiration he provided me.

By “inspiration” I mean that he has mentally stimulated me to feel for and love beautifully designed and engineered products. He has influenced forever my relationship with electronics, what I expect from them, how I use them, and how they affect my life.

This inspiration is what makes me stand behind Apple’s core values. This inspiration is what makes me get up in the morning and walk to my computer with a huge smile on my face, because I love what I do, and I believe in what I do.

With his passing away, I feel like I lost a family member. I know Steve has been looking out for me. He enabled me. He’s allowed me to be where I am today, and for this, I will be forever grateful to him.

As I am typing this on my iMac, I can’t help but think how much better my life is today. And that’s all thanks to Steve.

In the coming years, I feel confident that Steve Jobs will remain a great influence and inspiration not only for me, but also for the world that he helped make a better place.

I will miss you, Steve. I will miss you.