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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Oct 062011
 

This may be the first time I have ever felt sad for a corporation because they lost one of their leaders. But this is different; it is personal. Steve Jobs passed away today, October 6, 2011. I feel like I lost a life long friend because I have.

Steve and I started our relationship in 1979. You see we were about the same age, a year apart. He was building computers and I was ing them. OK, we were eons apart but I felt the connection. I bought an Apple II because … I was never sure but I knew I needed one. It was cool. It was the future.

It had 64Kb of RAM, an external floppy disc drive and I had to a cheap black and white monitor separately. There were no programs, um I mean apps, and I had to write my own if I wanted to see anything. So using BASIC, I wrote my own version of Quicken.

I was an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Memphis and word spread to the local newspaper, the Memphis Commercial Appeal. A reporter came to my house to interview me about this strange thing I had bought.

I waxed on and on about it would change the world, the impact it would have on people. The reporter just looked at me. But you see, I believed. I believed in Steve and Woz.

I went to work for HP and Apple became the enemy. Actually, Apple was ignored. With 1% marketshare, it was a non factor in the personal computer world so like billions of others, I became immersed in the Windows world. But I always read, watched and wanted Apple. Steve got my heart. He captured my imagination like no other company.

30 years later, I retired from HP and began to transform our home from a Windows shop to an Apple one. Not because Windows and PCs were bad, Apple was just better. Today we have 9 Apple products from iPads to iPhone to iMac to iEverything. Yup; hook, line and sinker. The cool aid tastes good.

I once interviewed at Apple. I had returned from 5 years with HP in Europe and was trying to reintegrate into the US scene. Apple had a position back in Europe, where we loved to live and I applied. It was for a position two levels below Steve.

It only took a few minutes to see that I would be personally directed by Steve even though I would not report to him. Every question I asked or point I raised was referred to Steve. It was clear who ran Apple to this applicant. I didn’t get the job but my admiration soared. A hands-on CEO who cared about everything … everything.

Today, I write this on an Apple product. I read about Steve’s passing on an Apple product. Sitting here in Europe on my way to an Alzheimer’s conference, I see a lot of Apple products.

Henry Ford changed the way people moved, Steve Jobs changed the world.

I will miss you Steve but you were smart enough to make sure I won’t miss Apple.

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  6 Responses to “Thank you Steve Jobs”

  1.  

    Hey Alan,
    do you really think he changed the world? He didnt invent the mp3 player, tablet pc or smartphone. You can live without those products and dont miss anything, other brands have good things too.
    People sleeping in front of an apple store in order to get a new gadget, this is materialism in its nature. Compared to real problems like Alzheimer Apple sold much too expensive goods (fractionally produced with child labor and bad labor conditions) to people with luxury problems.

    Just think of one: Jobs didnt do things like Mr Bill Gates, imagine how he could have changed the world e.g. Alzheimer’s research. He missed it.

  2.  

    Alan, I so admire your efforts to bring attention to the Alzheimer’s epidemic. Wish I had the financial means to do something so impactful. I do what I can locally. Keep up the good work.

    Your blog about Steve Jobs was uplifting. In my opinion, he truly reinvented the wheel. Amazing that you were this close to working for the man. May he rest in peace.

  3.  

    Thanks Eugene. In Warsaw speaking at the Alzheimer’s Europe Conference on Saturday.

  4.  

    Steve wasn’t perfect after all. He missed the opportunity to hire you.

  5.  

    Beatiful words Alan. So sad today !
    Where are you in Europe ?

    Eugene