Steve Jobs

Feb 24, 1955 - Oct 5, 2011

Inventor, Entrepreneur

Steve Jobs's Inspiration

Steve Jobs and Apple are synonymous. I worked for Apple Inc. from 1998 - 2008 during Steve Job's and the company's renaissance. Product wise, it spanned the original iMac introduction through to the iPad. With iPods, iTunes, and a lot of new Macs in between. And, of course, the introduction of the iPhone.

My tenure at Apple started in Human Resources, a lucky break on my part as the job was a rare somewhat technical position that I was (no joke) a perfect match for. I applied to an ad in the San Jose Mercury News and walked in Apple's doors a new employee 10 days later. But my love of photography and desire to showcase my work had peaked my interest in a new emerging medium, website design and development.

I paid my dues for 18 months and, after several interviews, landed a new job as a Web Project Manager under the Internet Communications team responsible for the marketing pages of And while I would never work directly with Steve Jobs, his interest in the Internet and Marketing meant that I indirectly worked at his specific directions (to our team) for the next 8 years.

I cannot articulate the breadth of influence Steve, Apple, my managers and coworkers had on me. I realize now that I worked on an incredibly rare and uniquely positioned team. We ran like a start-up but with nearly unlimited financial backing. If budget was low, it took a simple email justification for me to secure another $250,000 or more to continue working. We had carte blanche. The expectations, however, were off the chart. Steve was known to push the limits of technology and what people believed they could achieve. With our team it was no different.

From design to website features, we iterated continuously, always with the goal of achieving "elegant simplicity". Like Apple products, our websites had to function as elegantly as they looked. And like Apple products, we cared as much about what was under the hood as was customer facing. And all the while, Steve would hone our direction, push us to feature products in new cutting edge ways, and, never rest on our laurels.

P.S. I interacted with Steve directly only once. And it was a lie. Returning from lunch at the on-campus cafeteria, I entered the 4-story atrium that was Building 1, the main guest entrance to Apple at the time. As employees we were required to badge in and tailgating (holding the door for other employees to enter without badging in) was strictly forbidden. I badged in, heard the door close, walked a few steps, and heard and loud urgent tapping. I turned and it was Steve pointing at me to come let him in. My mind underwent a rapid series of scenarios. Was this a trick? A test? If I tailgated Steve in would I be fired? Was he goading me as he was known to do to test employees? I hesitated but Steve grew more insistent with his hand waving. I walked back over and let him in. he said "Thanks, I forgot my badge." and blew right past me.

About Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was an American entrepreneur, industrial designer, inventor and business magnate. Though it was his role as co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. for which he is most well known, he was also founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT and CEO and majority shareholder of PIXAR. Along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Jobs is widely recognized as a pioneer of the personal computing revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. After dropping out of college in 1972, Jobs travelled to India in 1974 seeking enlightenment through Zen Buddhism. This philosophy would have a profound influence on his unique approach to business strategies and corporate structure.

Steve Jobs with an iPhone 4 in 2010

If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.

- Steve Jobs