Steve, We Hardly Knew Ya…

Wednesday, 11:56pm
Reno, NV
Indeed your dancing days are done…” (Irish folk song)


I hope you’re doing well, and seizing the day.  As we all should, every day we’re alive.

Sometimes, for me, the best way to appreciate life is to, occasionally, also appreciate death. For all the sound and fury and chaos surrounding us on the Big Earthly Stage… for all the urgency of accomplishment and all the troubles of cobbling together a modern lifestyle…

… sometimes you just gotta stop and take a deep breath.

And know that, at some point, there will be one last breath like that… and then no more.

All of us sharing space on the planet have been granted a ticket to ride, and none of us know how long the ride will last.  Or how it ends.

Or, for that matter, what’s going to happen one second from now, let alone tomorrow or next month or next year.

And yet, life goes on.  And goes on well for some of us, and progresses haltingly for others. But it goes on.

For Steve Jobs, the dancing days are done.  I did not suspect his leaving us would affect me this profoundly, but it has.  I never met him.  And yet, our lives are intertwined.  I’m writing this on an iMac, using the friendly interface he championed (and forced the “who cares about fonts” geek-dominated virtual world to adopt), while my iPhone sits nearby (buzzing with incoming texts).

There will be plenty written about Jobs and his effect on how we live today.  I’ve already read a dozen articles online… and even the iHaters have to admit the world has shifted significantly with Steve gone.

For me, he was the Uber-Entrepreneur.  Dropped out of college because his energy and ideas bristled at the shackles of staid academia.  Aimlessly sought out ways to engage with life on a more grand scale, correctly sensing that the world was about to change fundamentally and forever.

And once that aimless energy locked onto a vision of what could be… he never stopped driving forward.

Several articles I’ve read have brought up the notion that Jobs didn’t actually “invent” the things he’s now being given credit for.  The same charge has been leveled at entrepreneurs since the dawn of time — disgruntled anti-hero types get heavily invested in dragging down icons out of a sense of justice.  Edison, Bell, Tesla, Einstein, Ford… they all have detractors who focus on the suggestion they didn’t “earn” their glory.

Jobs, to my knowledge, never claimed to be the sole dude behind any of the breakthroughs he was involved in, though.  He used “we” in his talks, and always had a team working with him. (Wozniak was the first member.)

You can pretend that the entrepreneur honchoing new stuff is merely an interchangeable cog in the wheel of invention.  That the light bulb, car, radio, television, space flight, Internet, personal computer and every other gew-gah supporting modern life would have been invented anyway…

… maybe later, maybe in some slightly different form, but it would all be here.

And that’s bullshit.  Anyone with a smidgeon of knowledge about the history of civilization can refute that idea.  The Web could have easily remained a pet project of the military-industrial-academic world.  The sky could easily today be full of zeppelins instead of jets, with no satellites orbiting above, no footprints on the moon, and no mp3’s murmuring in your earbuds.

Humans have a built-in drive to tinker with stuff, to make swords out of ploughs, to increase comfort and hide unpleasantness, to be curiouser and curiouser about things that blow up and move mountains and open minds.

But there isn’t one path to take, at any time.  The mobs resist change, king-makers subvert progress, and corporations don’t like crazy guys messing with the bottom line.

And that’s why the world we live in today… with the Web woven completely into daily existence, with once-dominant industries crippled even as brand-spanking new entrepreneurial opportunities bloom, with utterly and radically changed ways of finding and processing information…

… owes a ton to Steve Jobs.

I still marvel at how much we’ve been swept into the wake he created on the sea of modern life. I was like a motley fool stumbling around the edges of this vast tidal change, sometimes with a ring-side seat… never quite grasping just how profoundly things were shifting…

… but still enjoying the ride.

In the late 70s, I lived in a quasi-communal house in Palo Alto, just up the street from the famous garage where Hewlett-Packard was founded, a town away from the garage in Los Altos where Woz and Jobs had started Apple a few years before.  The guy in charge of the house I was in also happened to run the Artificial Intelligence lab at Stanford… so he had one of the first home connections to the Web (though it wasn’t called that yet).

He’d take us into the basement of the AI department after parties, where we’d run around like barbarians in the Alexandrian library — goggle-eyed at the refrigerator-sized mainframes chugging away, startled by the occasional mouse-like robots scurrying around… and completely mystified by what it all meant.  (Few people believe me about the robot mice, but they were there.  No idea why they haven’t been marketed, or what they could have been marketed for.)

I played text-only fantasy games on his home computer (attached to the Web through old-school telephone wires), with a poster of Bertrand Russell gazing at me.  (“Look down.”  “There’s a troll with a sword lying at your feet.”  “Wake up troll.”  “Cannot understand command.  Try again.”)  This was a decade away from Leisure Suit Larry, for crying out loud, and even PacMan wasn’t out yet.

My housemates were mostly Stanford grad students.  (I was working in the art department of a local computer supply catalog, overseeing photo shoots where we naively put floppies upside-down into drives… cuz we were so clueless about all this computer crap, which surely wasn’t going anywhere anyway, you know.)

I had not the vaguest idea what any of this meant for the future.

I scored an early PC, cobbled together in a Pacific Coast Highway storefront with handwritten signs announcing the sale of “computers you can use in your home”.  (I had two IBM disc drives, and had to load a DOS floppy first, take that out and load a word-processing program — now obsolete — and use blank floppies in the second drive to store my writing.)

(Huge, cumbersome 5-1/4″ floppies, too, not the small ones.  Those things were as big as the New Wave singles on vinyl I still bought at the record store.)

And Gary Halbert and I actually attempted to market what is now called an “information product” on the World Wide Web — before anyone we knew had encountered a phone modem or owned an email address.  (It bombed.)  A decade later, I at least had the sense to establish an online presence with a crude website for my biz.  I had an early podcast available (when I had to explain to people what a podcast was), one of the first online merchant accounts BofA created, and dove headlong into the blog-o-sphere back when they still called ’em “weblogs”.

But I was just a rider on the train.

The guys doing the driving were the ones breaking a sweat.  And the corporate types (IBM, MicroSoft) were headed one way, while Jobs and his team stubbornly headed out in another direction.

There was never any guarantee we’d wind up where we are now.  Humans resist change. The majority refused to believe man could fly, or transplant organs, or survive in a chaotic entrepreneur-friendly democracy.

Never mind mobile web surfing.

And that’s why Jobs was so freaking important.

I hang out with a lot of geeks.  They’re good people, smart as hell, and they’re having a blast in this Brave New Wired World.

But the breakthrough was in making it easy for guys like me to come along.  I’ve never tried to program software, don’t know a thing about code, and would be just as lost now as I was back in the AI basement…

… if guys like Jobs hadn’t pushed so hard for friendly interfaces and user-centered computing.

Even hard-core iHaters can’t deny that, in may ways, we live in Steve’s world.  He honchoed the teams that brought us here — doing the job of the visionary entrepreneur (who knows when to nix otherwise impressive geek breakthroughs, and when to fast-track the head-scratchingly obscure other breakthroughs no one else believed in… yet).

The corporate types are just fine with keeping new technology away from the masses.  If The Man had his way, we might still be on dial-up modems, with streaming video reserved for the wealthy and the military.  (And the only way to get music would be on CDs.)

Don’t think for a minute that The Man is happy about social media, instant messaging, and unfettered access to all knowledge.  That’s why they’re eavesdropping so much, and experimenting with shutting down the Web when they’re scared.

I don’t know what the world is going to look like next year.  Or even tomorrow.  We live in exciting times… and that excitement cuts both ways, good and bad.  Scary and delightful.

However, I do know I’m gonna miss Steve terribly.

There are lots of rebels out there, plenty of smart folks willing to take on The Man and never settle for “good enough” technology.

But there aren’t very many with the ability to communicate their vision.

And it’s fair to wonder if there’s anyone left with the mojo to honcho a team to make that vision real.  (Remember, Jobs was fired from Apple, resigned when his failures threatened the stock price, and pretty much swam upstream against corporate know-it-all’s and “common sense” for his entire life.)

I have high hopes.

I intend to hang around for a long time, and I’m enjoying being an itsy-bitsy part of the history still being written about this turbulent, wacky, chaotic birth of our Brave New Wired World (at least on the marketing side).

And Steve’s passing reminds me not to take any of it for granted, ever.

The dude was an Uber-Entrepreneur, and he changed the world.  We got to be bit players in the movie, enjoying the constant re-booting of reality and possibility…

… and now we’re already into the next act.

With no script.

Again, I have high hopes.  I’m also scared, because I study history… and this movie could easily take a wild left-turn at any time.  Just like it has so often in the past.

For now, though, I’m not worrying about the future.

Today, I’m reflecting on the ride so far.  And enjoying the privilege of having been around while Jobs was shaking up the joint.

What’s your take on all this?

Stay frosty,


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  • Doug Rawady says:

    Great post, John! Totally agree with your perspective on Steve’s place in the grand scheme of our tech and social revolution/evolution. The guy was a true one-of-a-kind and I for one will sorely miss his genius and showmanship.

    • John Carlton says:

      Thanks for the comment, Doug. I was just telling someone that I’d bet Steve was one of those lucky few who — on his deathbed — had few regrets. A lot of people today take him for granted, and consider him part of the “establishment” because his success made him rich and powerful. But the dude was always 99% entrepreneur, and while the success was probably gratifying, I doubt that any kind of failure would have checked his progress at any time. He chose his battles carefully, and committed absolutely. You gotta respect that, and aspire to it…

      • Steve Wyman says:

        Hi John,

        Your right I bet his only regrets would be not having enough time to Dent the universe further.

        Just think what he could have achieved with another 25 years of Denting.. Awesome it would have been.

        Thanks for sharing your thought and Ive also been extremely moved by Steve Jobs passing. More than i could have imagined.

        So i say to one and all

        “May you live long and prosper, go Dent the Universe everyday”

  • Jeff Walker says:

    I’m a bit shocked about how hard I’m taking the passing of a business leader that I never met. It’s hit me harder than I ever would have imagined. Steve Jobs made the world a more elegant, productive, and fun place.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Jeff. For me, the shock is in looking around and not seeing anyone else with the chops or cojones to replace him.

      I took him for granted. I bitched about Apple back when I was on a PC, sneered at some of their too-hip-to-live attitudes, shrugged at the recent iPhone announcement…

      … all signs that I just wasn’t paying attention. Jobs kind of spoiled us by pushing for, and instituting, amazing things few other people even dreamed about.

      This is a good time to take stock of the world we’re in.

      Thanks for the note, Jeff.

    • Tatiana says:

      Exactly Jeff, as I am having hard times believing how much the dead of Steve Jobs impacted me, while I am not even an user of Apple, except for maybe the iPad that I have for several months now. This guy was a real genious and he would be missed and remembered for centuries…

  • Robert Gibson says:

    “But the breakthrough was in making it easy for guys like me to come along”- beautifully said.
    His death really shocked me and saddened me. He impacted music, art, design, communication, so many areas. Record labels dragged their feet with digital music, so he created iTunes. They suddenly decided to get into it. He made Microsoft design better software just to keep up.
    They couldn’t make a good tablet. He did.
    He had failures, but damn near anything he touched had an element of beauty to it.
    He brought a human feel to tech that few people can come close to. His products helped people create and connect. He made something bigger than himself.

    He was a one man renaissance.

    Thanks for posting John!

    • John Carlton says:

      I like that: One man renaissance. I have no idea who HIS model for being a good man was… maybe he made it up as he went. I know he’s got detractors, but as I tried to make the point above, all great men do. It may or may not have been fun to be on Steve’s team, but if you measure life by accomplishment and passion, they all won.

      • Tim says:

        Hi John,
        If you wonder who might have been an inspiration to Steve Jobs then you might enjoy this article on Edwin Land, inventor of the SX-70.

        Turns out there are some remarkable similarities between the two men.


  • Julia Kline says:

    Add me to the list of people who are taking his death way harder than I would have thought. I was up til 4am last night having my own little Steve Jobs film fest, courtesy of YouTube. I never tire of watching those magical presentations of his. ~snif~

    My favorite might be the one of him unveiling the Macintosh in 1984. Even then, at the tender age of 29?, he had a flair for doing a great presentation.

    And at 2:57 in the video there’s a shot of Jobs with a Macintosh in his thought bubble. It’s amazing to marvel now at everything else that eventually came tumbling into and out of that bubble, isn’t it?

    Thanks again for another great post, John. You inspire me. “murmuring in your earbuds” was my fave line of today. 😉


    • John Carlton says:

      I was watching the SuperBowl back then with a friend, who left the room and missed that 1984 commercial by Ridley Scott for Apple. When my friend came back, I was speechless — just couldn’t adequately describe the effect to him (and he was a grad student at the USC Film School).

      Apple irritated me for years, and then I just went out and bought me a Macbook. I still use Word on the Mac, but it’s different than it was on the PC.

      And all that time I’ve saved no longer waiting for the damn PC to fire up… or reboot… or burst into a Blue Screen of Death…

      Maybe not being so prominent in our minds, being taken for granted was part of Steve’s appeal. Maybe part of his plan, I dunno. But I’ve heard from many friends who are taking this harder than they thought…

  • Wayne Harrel says:

    This is by far one of the best blog posts about Steve Jobs after he passed away.

    Steve inspired me and he is the reason why I’m in my business. I also own an iPhone app development company and it is possible just because of his vision.

    His legacy will not be forgotten because his legacy are the principals of business that “works.” We entrepreneurs will keep those principals alive. And he will remain alive through our spirit and passion.

    stay Hungary. Stay Foolish

  • Seth says:

    He was always two steps ahead of everyone else in the tech and design game. It’s funny how the Apple “think different” commercial was so relevant to his entire outlook on business and entrepreneurship. If more business owners would follow his lead, who knows where we’d be today?

    As someone said, it’s a tribute to his legacy how many people learned of his death on one of the devices he pioneered; I was one of those.

    A great look at the passing of an icon, John.

  • It was 1985 when my Grandpa bought our family a Macintosh. I was 6 at the time. I typed papers on that same damn computer all the way through high school – always using the rock-solid original keyboard and mouse. It’s tucked under my Mom’s house in the crawlspace now (it’d probably even still turn on).

    My favorite game on it was this simple line drawn physics game where you had to drop a stick figure dude into a moving haybail below, compensating for fall time, speed, wind and such. OOOO! And Shufflepuck Cafe!

    On a sidenote — Zork? Loved it. turn left

    Steve Jobs’ death has weighed more on my mind than I thought it would. I can’t say I really even ‘looked up’ to the guy until he died. I mean sure, he was an inspiration to all burgeoning entrepreneurs and undoubtedly made excellent products (typed on a MacBook Air) but he didn’t come across as all that personable.

    He didn’t make great products because he liked you, he did it because he grokked you.

    And now he’s gone. So early it seems. His influence was strong and his reach was great. What amzing and wonderful things he’s done for our civilization. He will be missed.

    Thanks for another excellent post, John.

  • Stephen says:

    John, if you’ve never seen this, Jobs’ 2005 Stanford U. commencement address, you should. It’s poignant, and very timely, besides being full of Zen/Thoreau bits of wisdom. Here’ the link…

  • ken ca|houn says:

    Outstanding article, thanks for sharing it. Still hasn’t hit me.. in fact I learned about Jobs’ passing while doing a webinar when one of my traders pm’d me with the news.

    To me, Steve Jobs represents the best and brightest of techology. He was and always will be the “face of technology and innovation” to me, nobody else comes close, particularly when it comes to launching new tech products that people fall in love with.

    I remember doing my master’s thesis at cal state long beach (on kaizen) on a mac… (back in the late 80s)… 8″ screen or whatever, easy to use, kept me going at it til it was done.

    Steve Jobs was a technology evangelist — passionate about his innovations and eager to bring usability to the masses; I agree with your point about the gui/usability factor… he made technology accessible.

    And most of all, I appreciate Steve Jobs because he really believed in his products.. that always shines through in his presentations… he’s eager to share new technology ‘discoveries’ that help others. A true leader in his market space, he will be missed.

    To how Steve J humanized technology,


    • John Carlton says:

      Yeah, Ken, that’s the main theme I see in the articles — the humanizing part. The geeks who had their OpenDoc dreams dashed are understandably pissed… but they weren’t delivering something for the masses, and that was Steve’s goal. (Top dollar for the product, sure, but still available to everyone.)

      Not everyone will sing Jobs’ praises, and that’s fine. I know where I stand on this, and I know I’m not alone… and, again, I’m glad I got to share earth-space with the dude…

  • Martyna says:

    hey John

    thanks for the post, his death saddened me too, why so deeply, I had never met him.
    “Even hard-core iHaters can’t deny that, in may ways, we live in Steve’s world. He honchoed the teams that brought us here — doing the job of the visionary entrepreneur”

    he created nearly invisible products, hidden behind the reason.

    …the ability to create things that are so simple, reaches the fundamental needs universal to all of us, and there is no surprise that the products are so beautiful.
    we live in Steve’s world… as he lived in ours, and could name it.


  • john lloyd says:

    As always a fantastic post Jon, some people dare to venture.

    Live for the moment because its the only place we exist, short and sharp philosophy but true non the less.

    Seize the day.

  • Jose says:

    I bought an imac for developing iphone software, it is a marvel of design, not only outside, but inside too(programming APIs). MS APIs are as ugly as their OS.

    Today I see PCs with parallel and serial ports!! that they don’t remove because “people continue using them”, just like floppies until past year.

    Believe it or not this is geek porn for us:

    A 3d printer you can do yourself!, geeks are so in love with these things that they forget they are so UGLY.

    It seems that if you are a geek you have to dismiss taste and never try to use the things you invent in the real world(innovation in the lab that never materialize as you are happy playing with your toys but scared about taking risks).

    Steve jobs nailed both problems.

    • John Carlton says:

      None of us are at “war” with geeks… and yet the tech-geeks remain pissed off about the way things are going digitally. I’m a purist in many things (like rock and roll), and I totally “get” the fury when the masses “ruin” art scenes, tech heavens, and movements… by not truly understanding what’s going on, and not paying proper respect to the folks who deserve it.

      We’ll never solve this problem. I just hope someone else has the chops and cojones to stand up to the geeks tomorrow and the next day and the next, as new breakthroughs arrive. We won’t get to come along unless someone with Steve’s vision demands friendly user experiences…

      It’s like NASA and the space program. They keep scratching their heads on why funding is down… but to any writer, the answer is simple: They stopped telling STORIES about space exploration that resonated with people. They went all secret and paranoid… and shut us out.

      Bad move. If I ran things, the next hire at NASA would be a storyteller, and a manager who demanded that the geeks keep working at making everything accessible and understandable to the regular working Joe…

  • mark says:

    It’s funny how people are easily taken in by people they never knew, yet used their products and thought at their passing, that they must have been some kind of genius.

    Meaning Steve Jobs.

    If he helped people that’s what’s important.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Mark. Not sure if you’re being ironic here, or suggesting that people are being insincere in their eulogies for Jobs.

      If you’re an iHater, fine — I expected a few of you to show up, and you’re absolutely welcome to voice your opinions here.

      If, however, your point is about people somehow “incorrectly” feeling connected to someone like Jobs… then you’re just dead wrong. I don’t know how you define genius… but for me, just the fact that Steve had a vision that ran counter to nearly everyone in power, against stronger competition, with ZERO previous model to follow…

      … means he’s a genius at succeeding where others have failed. (He’s probably got a Mensa-plus IQ, to boot… but that’s a side story to his drive to fulfill a vision.)

      Think about that: NO previous model to follow. He formed his vision as he went, taking small bits of info and forging it with hints of breakthroughs… to create something entirely new.

      I didn’t know the guy personally. He may have kicked puppies, I don’t know. But on the many videos I’ve watched… especially when confronted by pissed-off geeks and enraged critics… it’s easy to see that he was a regular guy putting himself out there because fulfilling his vision demanded it. He didn’t enjoy his fame, I’m certain of that. He didn’t seek easy ways to have people “like” him — there was no sick need inside (like, say, Zuckerberg has).

      Jobs worked, and worked hard, to bring innovation and a vision to the world… right up until he could work no longer, and KNEW he was close to death.

      Love him or hate him… regardless of whether you ever sat down and shared a beer with the guy… you can’t deny he put a dent in the universe we live in. A big damn positive dent, I’d say.

      You can disagree, but don’t just disagree to be contrary.

      And I’m serious about your comments being welcome. I’m a contrary kind of guy, too, on other subjects…

  • sean says:

    I never understood the fuss about Apple until I joined a Miami ad agency and had to write some copy on a goofy little macintosh.

    Tiny black’n’white screen.

    It didn’t even LOOK like a computer, it looked like a little tv set with a keyboard plugged into it.

    Bloom County fans will remember this as a recurring character, the banana 6000.

    (Kids, if you don’t know Bloom County, ask your parents.)

    Put this in your swipe file…

    I remember a great line in fortune mag, Jobs said that he was not making computers, he was making “bicycles for the mind.”


    8 years ago he could have taken the news of cancer as an invitation to forget the computer stuff and dust off his bucket list.

    Fortunately for us he didn’t do that.

    Or maybe his work WAS his bucket list.

    But I think it’s WAYYYYY off to say that there isn’t such genius as his here and now.

    Read the trades for up-and-comers, you’ll see them if you’re looking.

    They have ties askew, need a haircut, and are standing next to ridiculous-looking gizmos.

    They are pitching investors about how they are going to change the world with that new invention.


    p.s. great film (in my opinion) about Jobs and Apple: Pirates of silicon valley


    “Don’t listen to anybody, don’t copy anything. Go after the twisted, deranged core of your being, wrench it into the light, and you will make one million dollars.” Cynthia Heimel

  • Brian says:

    Great inspiring words about a great inspiring man. I really appreciate you taking your time out to post this, John.
    (BTW, not meaning to pick nits with a copy writer – but it’s Bertrand Russell.)

  • Jon Rognerud says:

    Hey John!

    So very well written. Thanks for putting even more perspective on this for me. You made me think even deeper.

    I was working in a Malibu condo with other entrepreneurs in the 80’s – working as a software developer.

    The day we received a real, live version of the Apple Lisa, we were amazed, curious – and acting a bit like kids in a candy store.

    While the impact of these early Apple inventions weren’t seen or fully felt by us until later, we clearly (as you said) didn’t understand the significance, I mean really…

    I am always amazed by people like Jobs who “can see” the future, and also able to bring others with along for the ride.

    And now, it’s the whole world.

    Like so many here, I was also taken aback by this way more than I thought I would. Amazing. Thanks, John.

    • John Carlton says:

      He just wasn’t a publicity whore, despite the fact he put himself on stage frequently. I think a lot of folks have trouble getting their heads around that.

      He put himself out there to sell his vision. He took on nay-sayers gracefully, but forcefully — if you wanted to argue with him, have your shit together, cuz he wasn’t going down easy.

      I want to find a way to console geeks who’ve had their utopian visions crushed by Jobs and others who’ve killed OpenDoc and CDs and other things they liked. I understand how hard it is to see your playground ransacked by capitalists… and, often, for the worse.

      But for my money, Steve did it right. It’s a complex world out there, both in the biological jungle and the digital universe-without-boundaries. He made it better for me. Maybe that’s a selfish way to look at it, but I don’t think so.

      He made it better for me.

  • Jana Mapps says:

    A wonderful post John. I too am among the throng that feels so deeply about a man I don’t really know but am so affected by. In our house of 5, we have 5 iphones, 2 macs, and 1 ipad with another on the way. I was deeply saddened by Jobs’ death – the world will miss him.

  • Julie Downey says:

    Thank you for your post John, you said everything I’ve been feeling and more.

    I never met him either, but boy do I feel inspired by his life and deeply saddened by his passing.

  • Larry Downing says:

    John, how about if Mr. Jobs would have left us with thousands of well paying, middle-class jobs in the good ole USA. China has a great jobs program; US Corporation.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Larry. Please look up “Luddite”, and read their story.

      The world has never been a static place, and never will be. Yes, the corporate decisions to use questionable labor resources in other countries is something to look at, and change if possible. We’d all like to end war and poverty, too…

      … however, the world will forever spin beyond the reach of the purists and the utopians. I’m not gonna defend any of Apple’s corporate practices. But neither am I gonna pretend that grand visions and vast breakthroughs aren’t gonna break down the status quo.

      Get straight on this: There has NEVER been a time in history where everything was just fine.

      We’re mostly shaved apes with one foot still in the jungle. For every person struggling to make a positive change, there will be some evil twit looking to game the system for an unfair advantage (who will not shed a tear when others get hurt).

      It’s easy to complain. It’s fucking hard to actually come up with solutions to problems.

      As an ex-hippie socialist dumb-ass who became a progressive business owner (with, after decades, a little insight to how things run)… I’m just as mad as you are with the assholes who brought down the economy (and want them brought to justice)…

      … but I’m also focusing MORE on doing what I can to empower people, one at a time if need be, so that things can change productively. Not through anarchy and revolution, but through an evolution of the mind.

      Capitalism has room for everybody. Plutocracy sucks.

      Okay, I’m done. This could have gone for pages…

  • Brenda says:

    I feel like I have lost a good friend even though I never met him. Few of us can say that he has been a part of my life since I got that first Apple way back when.

    I agree that I am only a “rider on his train”

    Back in the 80’s and early 90’s I was working as a medical librarian testing the Internet and training others on the complicated dial up modems, Tenet connections and thermal printers. Information access was expensive and cumbersome.

    The ease of access we now enjoy is very much the result of Steve’s creative approach. Not just marketing. Steve is the man I have always credited for putting the emphasis on the needs of the end-user.

    I can only hope that there are some great minds out there that Steve has mentored to keep the train moving.

  • Everytime I open my Mac Book, it is one of Steve’s b
    rilliance inventio. Thanks for sharing the article.

  • Janice says:

    Steve Jobs– makes you really stop and think about life.What it has to offer, what people have to offer…

    Time goes by so fast, make the most of it the best that you can…

  • Bob says:

    Great post John. Jobs impact has been profound. He truly was the Ultimate Entrepreneur. While Jobs’ passing represents a great loss, my sustained hope for the future rests with the “rebels out there” who are reading your blog or more likely those that are too busy communicating and making their vision real, just as Jobs so elegantly did throughout his journey. So here’s to “the constant re-booting of reality and possibility” ( I love that line) and on the the next Act which surely will follow.

    See you soon,


    PS Did I mention that I loved the post?

  • Mke Anderson says:

    This discussion reminds me of the lyrics of Highwayman by Jimmy Webb – suggesting that perhaps great individuals like Steve will always walk among us. Let’s hope.

    “I fly a starship across the Universe divide
    And when I reach the other side
    I’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I can
    Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
    Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
    But I will remain
    And I’ll be back again, and again and again and again and again..”

  • Victor Sperber says:

    Right on John.
    Steve Job was admired for his tenacity, inspiration and accomplishments. He was a take action guy to the end.
    I didn;t know him personally but also felt sad at his demise. He will be sorely missed

  • Brad says:

    Great article, John. I just hope people look at more than what he did for technology and innovation even though that’s what he’ll be remembered as doing.

    There is a much deeper drive in the human spirit which caused him to want to take more risk and go against the mainstream ideals. That is the drive we need to see in more than one person in this economy not giving more of our damned taxes.

    How he battled his cancer was medicinal. He underwent Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy at Stanford plus a liver transplant. His body could only take so much without eventually succoming to inevitable.

    Here is a good article about that

    Rest in peace.


  • Jurg says:

    He represented my “hope and faith” in humanity…almost like a life-line.

    This point you make really resonates with me:

    “We live in exciting times… and that excitement cuts both ways, good and bad. Scary and delightful.”

    I worry and struggle with where we’re headed as a society. And thinking of a guy like Steve among us – brought some peace and calm to my mind…it’s all gonna workout and be ok…

    I will “selfishly” miss him a lot. Maybe he represented hope to many folks and the sadness we feel could be our subconscious…

    Thanks John…

  • Orestes says:

    Hi! John,

    Great post about Steve Jobs as he really
    deserve it.Like you I didn´t know his death
    was going to affect me so much especially after knowing he was rejected at birth and later by the company he himself created.

    A great man that gave so much to improve the
    lives of millions of poeple around the world.

    He will be greatly missed but just hope he is
    enjoying what he deserve in a bette place by


  • Yes, Mark, he helped people, on a grand scale. It used to be that computers were for genius geeks, and mere mortals who wished to use them for creative purposes were sniffed at. Condescended to. What, draw on one? Make a book! Madness! Learn code, you dumb blonde. (I’m brunette.) Steve freed countless creatives, including entrepreneurs. Technology no longer a barrier to creativity, but a help to it! Long live that idea-l.

  • Elisabeth Kuhn says:

    What a great article, John! Thanks so much for sharing it.

    As I was reading it, a thought popped into my head…

    I was in academia for a LOOOOONG time, and a bit of a slow adopter of new technologies, once I had learned how UNIX worked.

    Never was overly fond of PCs, what with constant updates and virus troubles (or updates of virus protection software) and so on.

    And I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the wonderful world of e-learning.

    And then everything changed when I got my first Mac (ibook) 6 or so years ago…

    It helped that it came with a friendly iSupport team (not the official name) courtesy of my local Apple store, where I could ask all the questions I had and friendly guys in black shirts would explain it all to me.

    It was a very empowering experience as I learned and realized just what I could do with my new ibook!

    And then I was off and running. My ibook was my TOOL rather than the other way round (I had always felt at the mercy of my old computers, and I really resented that).

    And so I went from someone who disliked having to learn new computer stuff to someone who delighted in learning to build new websites and blogs, about how to market my wares and how to get people to my website and so on. I became a copywriter (in part with the help of your excellent courses!), and an internet marketer.

    I enjoyed my new world so much, I changed my career from academia to internet marketing, where I create and sell my own stuff and help others market theirs.

    And reading your post made me realize just how much I owe to Steve Jobs!

    Until just now, I hadn’t really given it much thought, and I hadn’t realized how instrumental my switch from PC to Mac was in the transformation of my life.

    If Steve Jobs hadn’t had the vision and followed through on it, none of this would have been possible.

    Thanks, Steve!

    And thanks, John, for helping me realize all this and give thanks where it’s due!


    • John Carlton says:

      Well put, Elisabeth. None of us hate geeks… but I’ve spent a lifetime feeling impotent because I’m so clueless about code and navigating complex math and software. I’m not an idiot (and they escape similar feelings of cluelessness about writing by avoiding it at all costs). There are tech-minded brains, and then there are brains like mine.

      Apple just obliterated the restraints of technology for the “rest of us”. I can see why some people hate Jobs for that — cuz it dissoved their mojo power and spread vast empowerment to the mob.

      I “get” that… but I shrug at the angst. I want in this world of tech wonders. Just like I wanted to drive without totally understanding how the internal combustion engine runs.

      I sure hope the advocate voice at Apple remains…

  • In 1982 I was shown my new office at UCLA Medical Center – against the wall was a Wang word processor, accompanied by an impact printer covered by a sound dampening hood. I pulled out the manual, booted up the machine and was off and running in a quarter hour. THEN I went to USC’s MBA program and got the joy of sitting for hours in the halls outside the computer lab, waiting for my turn to use sluggish PCs.

    Muttering about it to a pal who had just joined this company I’d never heard of… Apple… she said “Why don’t you get a MAC?”

    Elaborately simple explanations over dinner in an Indian restaurant, and I bought the first Mac – 128K with 400Kb discs that had to be interchanged, and who cared? I created brilliant reports in no time flat.

    Of course I upgraded it to a Mac Plus so it would have resell value… silly me… then donated it to a school. My closet has every laptap Apple released since then in a nice grey pyramid. as I type this on my Macbook Pro.

    Every four years or so, as I shifted my clients and consulting work to new settings, I’d find myself explaining all over again how completely simple it was to use the Mac, as every PC devotee responded with “But there are no programs for the Mac…” Funny that. I only needed word processing, graphics (bless PowerPoint2) and spreadsheets so who cared if PCs had a gazillion programs? And Tetris to use my my language centers stalled and needed a break. Every couple of years someone would sheepishly say “I just sat down at a Mac. NOW I get what you meant!”

    Bless Steve Jobs for his relentlessness. And from being so public and unapologetic about it.

    I don’t love everything Apple puts out, I can think of ways to improve the usability of the iPhone in about 5 minutes, but never mind. His relentless push to break through “that’s how it is” has inspired 10,000 creators to be as relentless in finding ways to unleash their own creativity, enriching all our lives in every arena.

    And making Breakthroughs the norm has spawned 1,000 campuses that devote their curriculum to out of the box thinking. Perhaps I’ve understated that creators count. World population nearing 7 billion… Unleashed creatives and problem-solvers? Probably 7,000,000.

    Thank you Steve for the world you’ve fertilized on all our behalves.

    • Love your comment about the supposed lack of programs for the Mac. My sentiments exactly.

      I used to be concerned about that when I first considered getting a Mac (on a friend’s advice), and it turned out to be a non-issue. I’ve been recommending Macs every since.

      And with parallels that’s becoming even less of an issue.

      An easy solution I found…

      I now keep a PC laptop around for the odd program I find handy that won’t work on my Mac… but I do just about all my real work on my trusty ibook (pre-parallels).

  • Mark Coudray says:


    I knew you would post a fitting tribute to Steve. As voiced by so many around the world, the sense of loss from his death will only grow as time passes and the world truly begins to appreciate the impact Steve Jobs had on it.

    Like all visionaries, distrupters, and innovators, their true genius is rarely appreciated during their time on earth. So it will be with Steve, although he received more recognition and acceptance than most.

    His genius and creativity touched hundreds of millions of people and his legacy will continue. For everyone so deeply saddened by his loss, make it a personal mission to live his legacy.

    Listen to the 2005 Stanford Commencement. 2200 words, 14 minutes. Not very long, but the message should be read or watched everyday until it is burned into your psyche.

    Each and every one of us can do our best to live the ideals that Steve did not compromise for. As sad as I am for his passing, it is something I can do, in a very small yet significant way, to honor the man and what he stood for.

  • John,

    Great post. You and I are thinking alike today…I’ve always wondered why people say “Someone like Steve Jobs only comes around once in a lifetime.”

    Really? Why is that the case? Couldn’t it happen more often than that? (our economy could sure use the boost)


    Thanks for sharing the wisdom again John.

  • Malik Merchant says:

    I have never used any Mac Device (I am hardcore Windows Fan) BUT just like everyone else, i highly appreciate the iconic contribution of Mr. Steve Jobs in the world of Technology.

    There are very few people who are able bring changes on such big scale in lives of people – Mr. Steve Jobs was the one.


  • Joe Bulger says:

    I don’t own anything from Apple. Turned my back on gadgets years ago. But that doesn’t mean I’m wasn’t a huge fan of Steve Jobs.

    Stewardship, authorship and storytelling, that’s how I’ll remember this icon.

    Under his big, ballsy vision of uncompromising excellence, he steered Apple and Pixar towards greatness.

    Steve didn’t seem as interested in incremental evolution as he was in game-changing revolution. So unlike the typical style of “The Man” as you describe John.

    As a fearless pirate in Silicon Valley his team would steal good ideas and make them great with better design and exceptional marketing.

    Product releases were his Rembrandts, his Picassos, his Stradivarius-level masterpieces. “Insanely great” was always his objective.

    If that’s not authorship at its best, I don’t know what is.

    With everything he accomplished, it was his storytelling that touched many of us so deeply.

    I’ve watched his Stanford speech multiple times and he never fails to draw my tears. A hero’s tale of overcoming adversity against great odds… We all live that tale to some degree.

    He just lived it so well.

    Look at the tribe of followers Steve amassed. They weren’t following his every move just for the newest gadgets. It was his stories and their stories that brought them together.

    Never seen an entrepreneurial artist quite like him, but I’m sure Steve has inspired many more to come.

    That will be his biggest dent in the universe.

    • John Carlton says:

      I think you’re right, Joe — there are (I hope) a lot of people directly inspired and affected by what Jobs did, who will continue to push for vision and change.

      Exciting times. Can’t wait to see what the world looks like next year…

  • Hi, Just joining all of you in how in awe of Steve Jobs I have been. I am a photo stylist and we only use Macs on photo shoots. I have watched film and polaroid disappear like dinosaurs and it is now all digital. Large Mac computer screens are on set and I have witnessed history with Steve leading the charge. I am 61 and even I can use a computer! He made it all user friendly. I am grateful they still need humans to style the sets!!

    I too am taking his loss deeper than I ever expected. He was a genius that changed the whole world for the better. Not just a nitch but every corner of the world. Lately the Occupy Wall Street is a perfect example of his influence. The phones and computers got the “news” out when old media ignored their actions….. it has exploded! He was a revolutionary thinker who’s ideas fuel everyday life!!

  • Jane Lewis says:

    Thanks for a thoughtful, thought-provoking post, John.

    One of the newspapers over here in UK made the comment to the effect ‘how many so-called “great men” die who REALLY made adifference across the world’. I think Steve Jobs was one of those.

    I’ve had MACs off and on since 1987 – I’ve always preferred them to PCs, but MACs weren’t always compatible with work PCs, and some of the work-around didn’t always work!

    Here’s hoping that other innovator-entrepreneurs step up to the plate. Whether from within Apple or elsewhere, people who have the same desire to produce innovative, high quality look, feel and function goods that do what you never knew you needed.


  • Denis Thornton says:

    Great post John, put into words so well. Check out Steve’s address to the Stanford grads on YouTube for more right on stuff. I was surprised at how it affected me too. And then when you think i’m typing this into my iPhone maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise.

  • says:

    great article thank you

  • John Pitek says:

    I enjoyed your post. A few months ago I put a sign up behind my desk with the Buddhist meditation thought: “Death is certain, the timing is not, what shall I do today?” Steve’s passing reminded me to make the most out of each moment since we really don’t know how much time we have.

    My first computer was a TRS-80 Model I. It predated the floppy disk and stored it’s data on a cassette recorder. I was so excited to buy 2 floppy disks for $500 each because they were just so much “faster”. We’ve come along way in 30 years!

    Apple taught us that the technology should do the hard work in the background making complex tasks appear easy to us. I’m hoping that somewhere out there is the Steve Jobs of energy that will bring the kind of innovation to green energy that Steve brought to technology and that they will have the determination to bring the next big shift to our lives.

  • John,

    I’m glad you used the word visionary. Last night on my radio show I said it was the one word I would use to describe Jobs. I sure I’m not the only one.

    No one but the biggest fool could take away his contributions to the world. When he got booted from apple, it was like someone pulled the plug on the company’s life-support system. And the company he started, slowly began to suffocate.

    When he returned, he breathed new life back into Apple. He may have not been liked by everyone, especially when he borrowed money from Bill Gates. But Job’s was very good at seeing the big picture from the 10,000 foot view. He knew where he was and where he wanted to be and the steps in between he had to take to get there.

    I recently saw on CNN that Apple had grown to be the largest company in the world.

    Gary Bencivenga once told me that my father always swung for the fences. And that’s very rare for a CEO to do in a Corporation, but Steve Jobs did.

    Steve Jobs was brilliant at being able to give people what they didn’t know they wanted, didn’t know they could ask for, but ultimately couldn’t live without. Even if he didn’t invent the innovative products. Apple gave to the world, he could clearly see their value and would tirelessly turn them into a reality.

    His achievements have forever changed the world and there is no going back. I fear for the future because I feel it will come to us more slowly without him.

  • Don says:

    Ya Know John I feel the same way–It’s hitting me harder than I thought. Just today I friended a friend of mine on Facebook from my grade school & High School days. He sent the request back on his iPad. Now what so significant about that? Well, we both at the age of 17-18, watched them build Disneyland, were high school when they launched Sputnik, and saw ’57 Chevy’s new on the show room floor. Oh yeh! Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers was our student body president.
    I think your term “Stay Frosty” is a good wrapper for what Steve was trying project.
    So on that note–
    Stay Frosty

  • James Lavers says:

    Striking words John. Thanks.

    I’m still surprised at the number of folks (myself included) who are disproportionately upset by Steve Jobs’ passing when compared to how well they actually knew the man.

    Full of wild-eyed hope, I predict that even greater agents of creative evolution will stick their heads above the parapets and take the castle for their cause…and probably they will come from places we least expect.

    Evolution, after all, happens at the edge doesn’t it?

    Steve taught me about starting with the user-experience and working backwards to the technology.

    Steve taught me that it’s often harder to simplify than it is to create complexity.

    Steve taught me NOT to just give the market what they say they want (many IMers will blush at this one I’m sure) but to show your market something truly wonderful – that they can fall in love with.

    Shit man – the dude taught me lots – and if I continue act on just 0.1% of his creative thinking – it will reap me 100 times more than i ever could have wished for.

    I think this is why everyone is saying “THANKS” to Steve.

    Thanks Steve.

    And Thanks John 🙂

  • M says:

    The speech he delivered at Stanford Uni back in 2005 is my favourite.

    That video really hit me hard. I’m guilty of letting fear of failure/criticism prevent me from acting on what i need to do.

    His death and remembering that speech – it really gave me another slap in the face and woke me up. Life is too short to worry about such crap. You just gotta get out there and do it – and not let those people get you down.
    He failed, yet frm his failures – came his biggest successes. Him leaving Apple – lead him to open Pixar Animation studios which pioneered the whole computer animated movie industry.

    “Stay hungry – stay foolish”. I like that.
    I never expected his death to affect me this much – but from it i hope to push forward now.

    Thanks Steve- R.I.P

  • Peter Wright says:

    I have to echo earlier comments and say that yours is the best tribute I have read on the loss of Steve Jobs.

    Although certainly not an iHater, I have never used any of their products because they were not easily available in Africa where I spent most of my life.

    Despite not being an Apple convert I did follow Steve Job’s life and achievements with great interest and appreciation.

    We have certainly lost an extraordinary visionary, and the sad thing is, he was still young enough to have led the next wave of technological advances.

  • DK Fynn says:

    (John, I have a question at the end of this.)

    Yeah, I was surprised, and saddened, when I turned on Safari (which has it’s default home page set to, and saw it: Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011.

    For some odd reason, a few weeks ago, I had a feeling he was going to pass.

    But anyway, I’m glad you took the time to remember him.

    So, my question was: Do you plan on doing another one of your Simple Writing System courses soon?

    • Aftab says:

      Hi John.

      What I really liked about one of things that Steve believed in was – we are all going to why worry about the PRICKS around us (if I may say so). What a lot of people do not realise is that we are all BORN to DIE.

      I lost my father a few months. He was on a flight from Frankfurt to Dubai when he got a heart attack.

      He always told me…there are only 2 things which are certain in this world.

      1. DEATH is awaiting all of us.
      2. WHEN it will come NOBODY knows, but when you have to GO YOU HAVE TO GO.

      and there is a 3rd thing that I would like to add after my Dad passed away.

      3. GOD does not give a rat’s backside about your wealth or your properties. Besides what go it is anyways, once you are laid down anyways?

      In this regard John, I have always considered you to be a millionnaire amongst copywriters not so much for your copy but for the personality you are.

      While other copywriters have reached for my wallet (i do not know why as it is always empty) you have reached for my heart which has somehow from somewhere replaced that empty wallet temporarily and has allowed you to pick it.

      Getting back it DK Fynn’s question – are you having another Simple Writing System this year?


      • John Carlton says:

        There will be more coaching with the Simple Writing System. I’m not sure about exact dates, and it may not be with a vast single launch as in previous years.

        Stay riveted to this blog for more info…

        And this time, don’t dink around and miss out.

  • We would be lucky to see his like again in 50 years maybe 100.

    In the 30 years he’s was at this he changed the world as profoundly as Edison, Bell, Ford and the rest.

    The SIDE EFFECTS of what he’s done are powerful beyond belief:
    He wanted to make a computer for the rest of us. The Web was created on a Next computer, his second baby.

    He knew the power of a GUI and everything is GUI now.

    He wanted a lightweight laptop, they do amazing things with Aluminum.

    He wanted stronger glass for a lighter laptop, they can make a giant glass cube in NYC in only 15 panes instead of 40, and I bet they’ll do it in 5 in 5 years or less.

    He wanted a tablet that worked. It’s a slab of metal and glass that a BLIND person can use.
    That’s magic!

    He’s death hit me hard after I started connecting the dots and a lot of them lead back to him.

    They will name ships after him and they will be starships.

  • Lancair Ace says:

    I followed Steve Jobs career since high school. His arguments with Bill Gates. His hiring the man that fired him and almost destroyed his life work.

    I’ve listened to his advice. Live each day as your last. Life is short live it on your own terms. Don’t make a living, love your life.

    Woz said Steve was in a lot of pain and he was regretful in his last month. I’m sure he had so much more to give.

    Great article, John.

    Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

  • Helen Lee says:

    Wonderful article so beautifully presented. This may sound corny or melodramatic but when I discovered the Mac I found the part of me that was missing. I’m no spring chicken. My first computer experience was in 1990 at an office with DOS computers. My boss didn’t have that new fangled program called Windows and the arrow keys were the way we moved around on the screen. The boss’s graphic designer friend loaned him a computer. A little square box that had a gizmo attached to the keyboard. It quacked and had toasters flying on the screen. I found it undignified, very uncomputer like but was stuck having to use it. It was a Mac. In no time I got to like it and the artist in me came out.

    The next company I worked for was all Macs and I remember my very first color monitor. The hard drive was 500mg and a 8 mg ram chip costs $200. I got my very own first computer in 1995. I remember when Steve left Apple and they went bonkers making so many variations and allowing other manufacturers to clone. It got so crazy there was talk that Apple would no longer exist. This struck terror in me as I absolutely despise Windows computers. I don’t mean to ruffle feathers of you PC folks, it’s personal. Mac thinks like me, works like me, is me. Microsoft is very alien to my way of thinking and working. Steve came back to Apple and the rest is truly history. I learned multi media, software development and imaging on my Mac. I bought my house trough my Mac. I bought my car through my Mac. I found and lost love through my Mac. Adopted my cat through my Mac and make my living using my Mac. I’m now 61 years old and my 2nd religion will forever be Mac.

    • John Carlton says:

      In the long pantheon of things humans have used to write down our stories — from cuneiform clay tablets through pencils and typewriters — the PC and Mac may be the ultimate tool. (Especially when “speech to text” software becomes simple to use.)

      I know for a fact I would not one-tenth as prolific as I’ve been without Word and a decent computer… and the Mac is my weapon of choice now, and I’m delighted with it…

  • Mary Govero says:

    A heartwarming eulogy. You must feel blessed to have known Steve Jobs. Thank you for sharing.

    • DK Fynn says:

      Known Steve? Of course, John knew of Steve, but I don’t think John ever met Steve.

      • John Carlton says:

        Yeah, I never met him. I only “knew” him the same way most folks did — through his speeches, and through his products. And through the many articles written about him.

        I gave up trying to “know” even my own close friends long ago. I just enjoy the friendship while it’s available (and if you live long enough, you’ll have friends who come and go and come back again… and I do hope you have that kind of long life).

        My goal is to “know” myself, at some future point. I’ve been trying for decades… it’s freaking hard.

        Meantime, I try to understand the Big Dogs around me in this world as much as I can, with what’s available to me.

        It’s not Steve “the person” I’m writing about here, so much as what he did as a person.

  • Marco Del Busso says:

    I believe Steve’s death is a wakeup call for a lot of people to question their direction, cause and raison d’etre and “be the change you want to see in the world” as Ghandi said. Steve made us realize that we CAN AND MUST REBEL AGAINST DEAF AUTHORITY and change the world for the better…

  • Charles Corday says:

    I beg to differ. Steve Jobs was lucky, he was intelligent and that’s enough. Why do people always try to find a role model ? Even Alexander the Great was only a lucky & intelligent human being.
    I met Steve Jobs two times; once professionally, there was strictly nothing special to him. Only one thing. He “knew” he was right. Like every person who has, around them, an areopagus of yessayers, of people who were thinking only about money, or who feel “enlightened” by his presence. He was not different. He was not special. He was just lucky. I have met thousands of people who were intelligent, charismatic and well educated just like he was – and I know what I’m talking about, I went out of college just like he did- and some of them were not making a dime a day.
    Steve has changed the world. Come on guys ! When the Statue of Liberty was erected, who was to thank ? The mason who put the first stone in place, the French sculptor, or the hundred of thousands who gave as little as one dollar to help finance it ? All of them, of course. Steve Jobs was no different. The idea of the mouse was in the air, the idea of personal computer was in the air, the idea of a good interface was in the air. Just watch Hollywood movies from the 80″s and you’ll see plenty of GUI that are pre-iPhones, and even better.
    I’m really irritated at how people think Jobs was a God. Seriously, Bill Gates who is trying to eradicate Malaria in Africa, deserves twice as much rounds of applause. Ask the mother of a 3-months old baby who did not die, in Senegal or Kenya.
    Besides, the macintosh is a good product, but my Asus also is a good product; the iPad is a good product, but there will be competitors. I was an owner of the first mac, the 128kb; and I was also owned an IBM PC. And an Apple II. And a ZX81… Aha, I remember how Lord Sinclair was considered as the “Renaissance man”, or the “new leonardo da vinci” of the time. He made mistakes, too, but his small machine helped pave the way.
    So I’m not thanking Steve specifically. I’m thanking everyone, the humnan mind, an evolved ape who managed to launch rockets and go see on the moon what it’s like. Like you and me, Steve was also just an evolved ape.

    • John Carlton says:

      Interesting post, Charles. Thanks.

      I disagree about “luck”, however. And maybe you and I will never agree on that… but I’ve been around the block at least as much as you have, and I can tell you that “luck” has played ZERO role in my life, or in any of the lives of the great men and women I’ve been honored to hang out with.

      You do a great disservice to your own dreams by believing in “luck”. And while I think you have a point about “all the little people” being a part of any innovation or breakthrough, you miss a larger point: They need a leader, with a vision. You can collect the best stone masons on the planet, and give them the finest materials and space to work…

      … and nothing will come of it without leadership.

      Yes, the “concept” of the mouse was “out there” already. But only Jobs championed it, and made it part of the digital Zeitgeist. Would it have happened “anyway”? That’s the argument of the cynics. And I think it’s bullshit. The marketing graveyard is crammed with superior products that died untimely deaths…

      … because no one ever figured how to SELL them.

      Alexander’s army wouldn’t have just “naturally” conquered the known world on their own.

      And the mouse could still very easily still be a novelty item among geeks, unknown to the rest of us…

  • Excellent post John! Thanks for taking the time to post. I cam to the Apple side just last year when I bought my first MacBook and every day I wonder, why did I take so long? Everything Apple is the epitome of “Enchantment” as put it in a recent interview. Steve Jobs understood how easy it was to be enchanting when your product is first rate and your evangelist are anxiously awaiting your next product. We will all miss his special brilliance and I for one hope he has picked his successor well.

  • Whoops please delete the previous post. I made a mistake with the URL
    Thanks then I will repost

  • You are spot on John. This is a great post and puts into words what I’ve been feeling for the past couple days better than I ever could have.

    I also feel like this is a turning point for all of us that are the “Crazy Ones” who believe we can change the world.

    The torch has been passed…it’s our time to change this world of ours…not in the way we see fit…in the way that we know is right and just and that is an absolute necessity.

    You may ask how we could possibly know if this is the case? We know because the burning desire and passion it takes to make this type of change is something that you feel deeper than anything you’ve ever felt and that you are certain has been placed in you for a distinct purpose…you are meant to make this change and you are obligated to because if you don’t, no one will. It’s what you are on this Earth for and it’s urgent that you make it a reality because today may be your last day here.

    I think this is exactly what allowed Steve to keep pressing on through all of the adversity that he faced in his life. He knew that the love that he had for what he did was in him for a reason and that it meant he absolutely must press on and overcome the Man.

    Now that he’s gone we have to be the ones to step up…

    Be Audacious. Be Relentless. Be Exactly Who YOU Are Meant To Be.

  • Robert Antwi says:

    Great Read John…

    It hit me hard as well.

    I’ve never owned an apple product, the first time I was in a friends studio it took me 30 minutes to find the power button, the iphone I can barely work one…

    Its just I don’t currently need any of his products in my life at the moment.

    Steve Jobs touched me when I read his 12 roads to success which I posted on my blog back in November 2010 and strangely enough my friend advised that Steve was ill sometime last week.

    His 12 roads to success was about the mindset of any entrepreneur – not giving a f about failure, having the will to see things through, striving to out do yourself and standing firm.

    In its self I think the man was a Genius just like the late Gary Halbert

    Time waits for no one.

  • Thinking of Steve Jobs I have determined that I don’t encourage people to pay tribute to me after I die…your support and accolades won’t make a difference to me then. Tell me now what my life means to you now, while it still can make a difference…

    • John Carlton says:

      I agree, Anthony. And that’s why I hug those I love when I see them, every single time. And tell them, frequently, how much they mean to me and why they matter to me.

      The default setting for most humans (who aren’t sociopaths) is low self-esteem. One insult cancels out a thousand huzzahs, and we doubt ourselves constantly.

      If anyone reading this owes anyone else a call… and you know exactly who I’m talking about… then do it. Swallow your pride if you must, face your fears even if you fail, but let people know they’re important to you if they are.

      Nice sentiment, Anthony…

  • Mark Meador says:

    Not since the passing of John Lennon had I the “hole in the universe” feeling … until yesterday.

    Born a few days before Jobs and growing up in the Bay Area I had a front-row seat to the wunderkind’s magic ride.

    Jobs was my anti-hero … the guy who spurned the suits, battled adversity and failure, and delivered a vision — the gold standard, if you will — for how we interact with our environment.

    Job’s legacy? Lennon said it best,

    “You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one.”

  • Craig Woolven says:

    I happened to hit a news site the minute the announcement came. One of those life moments of thought and emotion that will be frozen in time.

    Truly an original in life, the amount of energy created by his passing and the product of that energy, closet thinkers driven to speak up, entrepreneurs driven to find a spotlight and so much more, will, I think, be Steve Job’s lasting legacy.

    Great job capturing the essence John.

  • Hi John,

    Really nice post.

    I would have given anything to be up north in the late 70’s in the bubbling cauldron that was about to explode into what we all now know as Silicon Valley.

    I was talked out of buying a Mac for my first “real” computer back in 86′, by a guy running a computer store, which specialized in putting together systems for writers. I didn’t really have the cash for a Mac anyhow and a customized version of Word they had seemed a fine choice for banging out screenplays.

    But when I had an opportunity to discover the Mac a few years later, it was love at first sight. That love quickly turned into an obsession and it was lucky, because the craft I practice, film editing, was about to enter an industry changing conversion to digital technology.

    So I became an expert about pretty much everything Apple.

    The irony is, it wasn’t that easy back then. IBM PC’s and Microsoft ruled the market and the world. I would constantly get hassled about “wasting” so much money on Macs when I could get the same thing out of a Windows PC. (Yea, right!) Another often heard comment back then was “Macs are just toys.” (hee hee) But it was the only game in town at that time on which to do my job and I proudly testify to the statement, “once on a Mac you’ll never go back…”

    Steve provided the creative people of the world with tremendous gifts. The Mac and the software it ran were tailor-made for the creative personality. The graphical user interface “spoke” to people like myself who not only learn visually, but also so often communicate in this way. And the list goes on: musicians, graphic artists, photographers, writers and filmmakers have all benefitted by Steve’s vision of making creative computing colorful, easy and frankly, a blast.

    But the world at large didn’t really catch on until Steve came back to Apple and created the now ubiquitous “iProducts,” in 97′. And as crazy as it might sound to heap so much praise on material objects (gadgets to some) we are all so much better off because of them.

    Yes, Steve Jobs was an amazing human being, a messenger from some other plane of existence sent to make us aware of the joy of computing and bring simplicity to our increasingly complex world. How long will it be before we see another is a great question, I have no idea but as history tells us, it could be a long while.

    I’m just really grateful to have been here during his run. I too will miss him, his work, his spirit of innovation and his inspiration, tremendously.

  • John,

    wonderful insight on Steve Jobs – my hero since launching my computer art career in 1996 on a MacIntosh 8600 – if specked up to today’s iMac would have cost me $913,000 back then for the $2,000 price tag buying power of today.

    I am an entrepreneur in “been fired by…phase” – GFC has left my house, cars, savings – shredded – vaporised and the prospect of a job seems unlikely at the tender age of 49.

    I have more failures than successes to my name, you can Google me on many fronts – illustrator, 3D animator, abstract artist, software designer, to see more, but I have found great comfort in the Apple way, thanks to Steve – “Think Different” Jobs – been doing that all my life – also an inventor – Rapcord – Logosafe – HappyCustomers – and have nothing in the bank except potential and a dream that takes my short life and see’s me through this and these difficulties to a greater end.

    I am not prepared to lay down and die until I am dying. Steve got it right when he said, “Live each day as if it was your last, because one day you will wake up and be right”.

    Actually I think that living that way, with the last day attitude, would be going a long way towards being “right” each and every day because of the impact that thinking would have on what you choose to do.

    Yes you are right we are strangely inter-twinned with Steve Jobs and the impact of his Apple and the butterfly effect goes out to produce tomorrows greatness of which I intend to be part of.

    Thank you Steve.

    Thank you John.


  • paul haslam says:

    Hi John, You’re one of only very few americans that i totally respect,despite all the hype and bullshit that comes from your side of the pond(but not from you i hastily add),but please don’t talk about Tesla & Edison in the same breath.Tesla has the patents for A C electricity and for radio transmission,not Edison or Marconi! Warmly,Paul Haslam(UK)

    • John Carlton says:

      Ha! I was wondering when a Tesla fan would arrive here. I put them together just to stir up things…

      That period of invention was incredibly chaotic and hyper… and some went for the money, some went for the glory, and others just went for results. I respect them all, because capitalism requires vision, chops AND cojones (as I’ve written multiple times here in the comments section)… and often, they gotta arrive in the guise of different people. Who argue with each other, stab each other in the back, steal, lie, cheat and game the system.

      In other words, they engage with life with Major League attitude. I like to give credit where credit’s due, just like you. But I’m also a realist, and I know that bad things happen to good people, and being a nice guy won’t save you in a dark alley attack (which is a great metaphor for the business world).

      This may be part of Steve’s best legacy — he had vision, he had chops, he knew how to lead (and when to back off and let the geeks create)… and he was a brutally-good capitalist.

      Thanks for the kind words, and for (finally) exposing my blatant attempt to prod the Tesla crowd for feedback.

  • Cyrille says:

    Great article John, thank you.

    Stay hungry, stay foolish!

  • […] 30 minutes following his death, and which say everything I really have to say about him too, and better– I figured this sort of post would be more useful to you, the reader, and hopefully serve as […]

  • Adil Amarsi says:

    I couldn’t actually believe he had died until this morning.

    He was always a silent hero for me because like many entrepreneurs, we share a similar path and the hard times he fell on only reminded me to push forward.

    Though initially an apple hater I fell in love with my macbook almost the same day I got it (I had to really justify it to myself to spend $1400) and I’m glad i got it.

    It saved me a total of 10 hours a month in wait time to get work loaded and done.

    But to say what Steve’s impression was personally to me… it has to be… inspiration and courage.

    Inspiration in the laws of marketing.
    And courage because he went through life’s hells and hit the sweet spot.

    That’s my two cents but we still love ya Steve!

  • Hi John
    He made a real difference to the world. I said to a friend yesterday, “If Steve Jobs hadn’t been around, would someone else have invented the same things? Would there have been a logical path to the next invention?” I agree with your comment. He was a real visionary with the ability to communicate his visions.

  • arthur taubo says:

    It was late at night when I got the news about Steve her in Norway, and must admit; I was sad. It’s a bit surrealistic, being sad about a person I have never met. But the news got to me – in the middle of the night on a Mac. In a split of a second, all the years since I got my first computer passed on my personal movie theater. Upstairs in my closet – they are all ligned up; the Apple evolution, and right now on my lap, the latest version. I do remember thinking: What’s up next? How would the new thing bring my life further and into not yet discovered terriories. Steve was Santa – bringing Christmas to children of all ages. I remember the first live show, delivered around the globe in a stamp-sized fuzzy video. He was inspiring. He solved problems we did not know that we had until we was exposed to them. The sudden turn. The shift. The unexpected extra. Wow, is it possible, but wait…more. Steve was like IKEA, beople became creative entering into the world. We could do it. I could actually create stuff.

    Thanks for sharing John, and thanks for being an inspiring person as well;-)
    Steve is over the rainbow. We are her, and I guess he would be happy if we all took our talent and voice and got it out there – making the day a bit better for all those around.

  • Bill says:

    The Journey Is The Reward, was a great read. I’ll have to go back and read it again. I wonder how many barefoot unwashed visionaries are out there today who are different and have great potential. I didn’t know Steve Jobs, I knew of him. His death makes me think about what Aynn Rand wrote about, how much opportunity has been and will be lost by the tyrants who want to confine and control free people. Steve Jobs is a great example of what one man who was unafraid of being different could accomplish in a free country where capitalism provided the opportunity to pursue his dreams. Today, it seems that very freedom and appreciation is being threatened by too many who take it for granted. God bless you Steve Jobs, and thank you for being different and inspirational. Thanks, John for a cool conversation. Peace.

  • John, what a great, thoughtful, and provocative post.

    The Palo Alto where you were in the late 70s may have been a Petri dish and birthplace of ideas and trends that changed the world more even than San Francisco itself, though the city so often gets all the credit.

    I was not as affected by Jobs’ death as you were, but I was plenty affected anyway.

    I have this eerie feeling that he was the last of ’em; John Lennon’s death being the first of ’em. In all of his cruelty and legendary abuse of employees, which was probably overstated, there was a kindness and a far-seeing quality of being responsible for humankind that seems to be rapidly receding as a viable way to be on this planet.

    Not a sweet, appeasing kindness. A deep and responsible caring for the people who used his products and the people affected by those people, which would be… everybody.

    I’m quite serious.

    The New Meanness seems widespread beyond anything I could have ever expected, and I can’t think of a single person still living who hasn’t succumbed to it or at least gone neutral to avoid social decapitation.

    I’m talking about the big, public people out in front of the millions.

    I think with Jobs gone an era is over, and yet, the new one is just as much here.

    New things are possible, but the emotional landscape will be much more rugged and, hmmm, unforgiving.

    Finally, I agree with you 100% about Jobs’ unique ability to communicate his vision. He understood the importance of words AND that words were just the starting place.

    Interesting days ahead…

  • Anthony B says:

    As I sit and type my comment in Perth, Australia on my iPhone, also positively affected by the vision and guts of the pioneering entrepeneur that was Steve Jobs, I have taken a moment to just lie in bed, read your fantastic post and marvel at just how profoundly my own life has been affected by this man.

    I think about mortality quite a bit. Perhaps a touch through fear, mostly because there is so much for us all to achieve while on this planet

    What a great post….I better go start your easy writing system course so I too can share my thoughts with others as eloquently as you have


  • Brian McLeod says:


    I’m right there with you. Not necessarily in terms of being unexpectedly introspective about Jobs passing. Because my days long brain fog was totally predictable there…

    But more in terms of how much bigger the realms of possibility become when we see life through a lens like Steve Jobs – because with Jobs “anything” didn’t just seem possible, it WAS possible.

    Ignite the personal computer revolution? Check.

    Blast right through the incalculable obstacles to getting people to pay to download music – and get the record companies to let them instead of suing them? Check.

    Ask “why does everyone hate their cell phone?” and create one people will line up a 1/4 mile a day early to buy? Check.

    Transition the world into a “Post-PC” era of tablets and mobile devices plugged into the cloud? In progress – halfway checked at this point.

    Many have called it Steve’s “Reality Distortion Field” where Jobs was able to by his sheer presence persuade the unpersuadable to do the undoable.

    Steve Jobs taught me to demand the unreasonable from life, because you just might get it.

    Steve Jobs taught me the immense profitablity of creating buyer and end-user experiences that DELIGHT the customer.

    Steve Jobs taught me to believe in ME in business, fully and unapologetically… and if need be, to bend the fucking universe to my will in the pursuit of something outstanding.

    As I alluded to on Garf’s blog earlier, it makes me smile knowing that Steve Jobs went out absolutely ON TOP. The ultimate act of rebellion and fuckyou-dom to the establishment at large. He didn’t just join ’em – he beat ’em. All of em.

    Life well lived.

    All my best,

    Brian McLeod

    • John Carlton says:

      I remember being in a cab with Frank Kern the day he got his iPhone… and Stan and I just fed him stuff to look up on Google, and we bought a bunch of hilarious URLs via GoDaddy, and checked out people’s websites, and watched strange video… all from this tiny, weird little phone. In a cab, hurtling through LA (we were on our way to a party that JaMo set us up with, over at our buddy’s Neil Strauss’s home)… (how’s that for name-dropping?).

      It was FUN. Breakthrough, being easy and accessible and not needing a Hot Spot, and having great graphics…

      … and it was FUN. I bought my iPhone a week after that, having made my decision to do so in that cab.

      I had a batch of tunes I’d grabbed on Napster on my old PC, and that was cool in a primitive “should I really be doing this?” kinda way…

      … but it wasn’t fun like sitting down in front of my iMac is. Music, video, every corner of the Web, photos, Garage Band wonders, multiple windows… heck, Notepad, for crying out loud…

      … I love it all. And Jobs made ’em happen…

      Thanks for the post, Brian… gave me a smile…

  • steve m says:

    I think most of us who are involved with tech -even in the smallest way have feelings about Steve. He’s attained (massive) success-something we all want in some degree, so we can identify with him. Also to some degree, we see ourselves in each other.
    CNET had a live feed yesterday in tribute to Steve. One of the speakers was Jay Elliot who worked with Steve at Apple and whose book “The Steve Jobs Way” has just been released. Jay spoke intimately about Steve-how he lived in the future and how during his product keynotes Steve was the product-he loved these products. Steves’ vision was to release simple, usable products-not forgetting art in the design. Steve didn’t invent the laptop,the portable music player or the cell phone. What he released were his vision of what they should be and by their massive success many agreed.
    One last thing-check out Steves’ Stanford Commencement speach- it’s what we’re constantly told-find something you love to do (and the money will come).

  • Bonnie Kane says:

    Hi John, Steve’s passing is just so sad. A bright intelligent light in the universe has gone out and the world is somewhat darker. I’ve been on the Mac since the beginning – went to High School with some of the original development team. I heard Steve speak alot at computer meetings, etc. I consider myself part of the generation saved from a plethora of dead end jobs – because this was the only way that creative weirdos were able to interface with the straight world and actually make some money in the 1980s and 90s. His work enabled my life to thrive. It’s so extra sad too, because this planet needs effective genius, and there is just such an acute shortage. But the tools that he left behind will help. Thanks for writing.

  • Simon says:

    A marketing genius. He was the one who created the demand for these products (even thought he may or may not have invented them) and therefore should take the credit for creating the desire in other companies to improve on those products.

    Put simply, he made the technology economically viable through his marketing and salesmanship.

    The best technology in the world isn’t going anywhere without a good salesman behind it.

    The protocols for the WWW were created on his line of NeXT computers, despite the brand itself not doing too well. He can take a massive part of the credit for the internet as well.

    I never owned a mac product (bought one for my sister as a present) but am sad at Jobs’ death.


  • om mame says:

    had nothing more to say…

    jobs is one of the most amazing world wonders..

    jobs gone…..

    damned.. i don’t know him, but i felt so sad 🙁

    reminds me the hard time when kurt cobain gone.. 🙁


  • rob says:

    Saturday 8th October
    2011: 4:06pm
    Dear John,

    …another killer post and you have certainly stuck number of valid points we all share….(in thought)…

    I’d like to share a story bout Carl Galetti who once told story of how he and his biz partner rubbed shoulders with Bill gates back in the day…at a P.C. convention(this is before gates made it BIG time)…

    ….however the thing they did not understand was the pure genius of Bill Gates, like Steve Jobs (R.I.P) no one really ‘knew’ either of two nor did they understand the genius of both men (and still don’t)…

    Steve Jobs to me is the ‘Henry Ford’ of modern era-which is what you also mentioned…no-other guru of any industry…

    I know of has impacted so much of human population like Steve Jobs…for someone to be at his level (of thinking) is something very few of us could or may ever experience…and even if we did get to ‘that’…

    level…how would we know we are there at all?

    …what interest me is who will be next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or that dude who started Facebook…more important what is the psychological ‘make up’ of these geniuses who create so much change it changes people’s behaviour across the world…

    …with ONE simple idea with so much insight (in human behaviour) into how to improve or simply increase peoples ability to communicate…

    I think this is by far most interesting time with threats from regulatory and alphabet agencies about trying to shackle the web…

    I’d like to know if someone is already
    ‘hatching’ new way for us to communicate maybe hybrid of the web in another ‘new’ format…

    …new way that will be something that those who try to control the ‘flow’ of information will never do in millions years…

    …despite all their bullshit threats…

    I’m as excited as anyone to see what unfolds next and what happens to the web…

    P.S. John, I hate to ask however after listening to your cassette interview labelled “The-go-to-guy”…

    I’m inspired to ask and keep asking until I get the answer I’m dying to read…

    …have you had any more time in being able to leak out copy of ‘freelancer course’ ?

    My buying urge could not be any higher (like meth addict x’s billion), on my ‘appeal-o-meter’ ™ is all the way over to magic and I’m happy to deposit the funds…

    I’ve waited since July this year since you said it’ll be back soon (month or so) which it has been little over that…I want to break into professional ranks…

    I want to engorge myself into your learning materials…

    I’m so sick of being fleeced…

    I want to experience that gushing river of desperate clients…

    I want you to teach me how to become that ‘alpha-D.O.G’ …

    I’ll forego the money back offer…

    I wont need as much mentoring from you…if the course is set out in simple terms with audio…

    I’ll be pretty much able to rock and roll right away…I want to be able to never second guess myself with any pitch I put together…same way grease monkey fine tunes a NASCAR…

    I desperately crave for the same wealth and independence as you, Joe Karbo, late Halbert (R.I.P) Halberts son Bond, Clyde Bedell, Robert Collier, Jay, Brett Mcfall, Albert lasker, Claude Hopkins, David Ogilvy, Farifax M Cone, Max Sackheim, Rosser Reeves…Dan Kennedy…late Corey Rudl…

    I’m happy to stand before you and repeatedly ask just like you said in ‘the-guy-to-guy’ interview the ‘guy who will do what ever it takes to do the job NO excuses…’my only caveat is after I post this I’m offline because biggest motor race in Australia is being held called the ‘Bathusrt-1000’ this is where GM and Ford go toe to toe…

    ….circuit race that is second to Le-mans, Daytona 500…I’m not sure if ur gonna see any of it…(on cable)

    I grab siz pack fire up BBQ and watch 10 hours of motor racing (have done since I was kid)…

    …so that being case…I’ll be taking action if ur ready to jam…come first thing Monday…later man!

    • John Carlton says:

      My projected time for finishing the updates is 3 weeks, Rob. I’ve got a bonus that includes most of the top freelancers I know sharing their best secrets for success. It’s worth waiting for as they smooth out their entries.

      Patience. It’s a virtue. Hang tight… won’t be long…

      • rob says:

        Thanks John, sorry to bust ya balls dude…feel bad for askin…I’ll wait the 3 weeks…I’m soooo keen to get into the ‘loop’…late man!

  • John, I learned of Steve’s passing on my iPhone 4. Immediately, I shed tears… I knew what it meant. Steve, for me, represented an important figure through my ENTIRE CAREER. John, I sold the first NeXT sold in Sacramento to a stock broker. Why? That broker knew that NeXT could help him program cool charts for his clients. He once told me “I only hire musicians to do my programming.” Oddly, Steve Jobs also once said “I don’t think it is a co-incidence that half of the world’s top 10 programmers are musicians.” That’s why I am creating an education program as a component for SLO Jazz Festival. Steve Jobs loved music.

    Out of college, I sold computers using first a Mac SE and later an early Mac notebook. I once carried that Mac notebook into IBM when I worked for Lexmark and the IBMers said “you’re bringing a MAC in here?!” I said, you betcha, it does stuff your computers can’t.” (smile)

    I love my iPhone, too! And, the iPad is a tool for musicians, speakers, writers, and so many people that is only starting to be exploited to potential. I believe we are still at the tip of the iceberg for “pad” computing.

    All current smart phones are competing with the standard the iPhone set and continues to set, Droid aside.

    You’re right about Jobs being a honcho who had the stones to take on the corporate types who normally squelch good ideas. It was his uncanny vision and simple way to get his vision across that truly mattered. But you think about other so-called “geniuses” of the recent era… the Google guys, Bill Gates, and more recently Mark Zuckerberg, okay, maybe those guys are geniuses, but you know what? They aren’t COOL.

    I’m never once WANTED to watch Bill Gates give a speech. It was like a bad dream of Kermit the Frog in human form. And, a couple of weeks ago, while studying the video about “timelines” for Facebook I wanted to advise people in my upcoming “How 2 Social” program for Newbies (want to affiliate? hint hint) and learning how all the new changes matter, yet, while watching Zuckerberg, I couldn’t get past just how much of a social misfit he seems to be. Zuckerberg was joking about still owning his first t-shirt or something. He was the only one laughing. It was that way with pretty much all of at his jokes.

    See, none of those guys GET cool. Steve Jobs got cool. Maybe because he did LSD or became a Buddhist Zen artist of technology. It’s like comparing Don Nelson or any other NBA coach to Phil Jackson. Phil always wins because he’s the zen artist of the NBA. Steve was zen for tech.

    Steve got cool. I’ll never forget watching Steve pull the new iBook out of a manilla envelope to demonstrate just how thin the computer was. Brilliant! And cool.

    Not only that, but his vision of music and television is only just not starting to really fully be realized.

    I believe we have yet to see the full impact of Steve Jobs, and hope to channel as much of his ability to innovate with whatever I launch in the future. He inspired me. Thanks for the article – well done! Thanks for letting me share on your wall – I appreciate your interactive open-forum.

    • John Carlton says:

      A whole slew of the top marketers and writers I know are also musicians.

      There is a definite link. And I urge everyone, of all ages, to learn an instrument NOW. And make sure your kids get a good (not a boring) musical education.

      Important point. Not clearly understood, but the empirical support is beyond doubt. Thanks for reminding us, Scott.

      • Thea Westra says:

        Thank you John. Wholeheartedly agree. 🙂 My partner is a piano teacher and each day I appreciate the great way that he connects with his students. I learned piano for several years in my youth too. Next to learning another language, or two (which I also have), a music education is a must have. 🙂
        Got my first Mac last year. The news of Steve’s passing is one of those, “Where were you when you learned about Steve Jobs’ death?” moments. Thank you Steve & thank you John. A short tribute song… I Hope You Dance
        Cheers, Thea

  • Great Post John. It really made me think about the benefits of the new wired world because and the debt we owe special people like Steve Jobs.
    When I was kid computers were unheard of. Now I would be lost without my PC, Laptop and smart phone.
    Thanks for making me appreciate how lucky I am. And thank you Steve Jobs.

  • Catherine says:

    Thanks John, I too have been feeling strangely touched by a stranger’s passing. Last week I bought my first Mac, and 2 months ago my first iphone and I was instantly hooked. I understood what Steve meant when he talks about people ‘getting it’. Apple just ‘gets it’ and that’s not always something you can describe in words. Death is no respecter of genius, money, contribution or worth – it simply takes us all. On the other hand, some of us mould the time and talent we have into something that surpasses our death, and that is what Steve did. I envy his vision, his drive and capacity to make a difference – would that I could do a tenth as much. I’m grateful to have been alive to enjoy the benefits. Vale Steve!

  • gary says:

    Great man and too short of time on this earth. He and his idea factory will be forever missed. I am sure all the talented minds he sought to join him in his mission are at a great loss too. WE can only hope his vision was burned into their brains and they can continue to carry on.

  • Joe Bulger says:

    It’s remarkable how SJ’s life follows the classic hero’s storyline:

    Act I – The rise of the brash young prodigy
    Act II – The hubris and fall from grace
    Act III – The redemption and return to glory

    Can you think of anyone who pulled off an Act III as spectacular as his? I can’t.

    His legend will endure.

    Here’s a terrific video on from Bloomberg’s Game-Changers series.

  • Eric Nygren says:

    I built all my business around Mac starting with the Apple II. Early ’80s trying to get it to talk to DOS machines. Ouch.

    In those days I heard a story about his recruiting a big wig from Pepsi or Coke to join him (was it Woz) and closing the deal with this question:
    Do you want to spend your life changing the world, or pushing sugar water?

  • A great post, John. I admire your honest expression of what’s up. Thanks for the opportunity to say what’s up on my end:

    How do we “know” a person?

    Through what they did or what they thought that somehow left a mark on us.

    Ideas–they come from people like Aristotle. Or Deepak Chopra. They resonate with us through their simple honesty. Things–like the light bulb, the car, the telephone, the personal computer.

    Ideas become something we can subscribe to, hang our hat on. And the things that we now realize we can’t live without or just make life easier, they’re memorable because they responded to a need.

    As the world becomes more impersonal, I pray Steve Jobs left a notepad somewhere with cryptic remarks about how to re-personalize it. He did such an extraordinary job so far, and with his passing, I hope there’s someone trying to slip into those shoes.

    Because we’re going to need a continuation of his spirit to always make it user friendly. To humanize it.

    God Bless you Steve. And thanks for all the great stuff.

    Peter Aristedes

  • Hi John,
    I went to three MacWorld events in San Francisco in the 1990’s. Steve Jobs stalked the stage with elegant command and spoke to the faithful. (It was mostly publishers and graphic designers back in those days!)
    I’m forever glad I was there to see him live.

    Steve Job’s passing hit me hard. His vision and brilliance motivated me to enter the digital space through Apple computers.

    I was an “old school” illustrator, muralist and motorcycle customer for a long time. Pens, brushes and airbrushes were my tools.

    Jobs and Woz were the “good guys” who made the machines you could hook up drawing pads to…and translate your “old world” illustration skills into the new digital environments. Amazing!!

    I was in Silicon Valley the same time JC was hangin there. His roommates were WAY cool genius level Stanford computer geeks.

    Around the same time, my college roommate’s wife was Bill Gate’s personal assistant when he was at Intel. BG was a different breed of cat–take-no-prisoners biz man and hard-ass.

    Steve Jobs and Apple, on the other hand, built the first MACs for creativity and ease-of-use. MACS weren’t going to be glorified word processors.
    My old college roommate Kim showed me the first MAC in 1985. I grabbed the mouse and drew a cartoon in PhotoShop 1.0. Now this was FUN!

    The MAC was my best buddy through the 90’s.
    While my friends’ PCs crashed and MS Dos created constant havoc, my MAC was reliable, plus the bad guys didn’t create trojans, malware and killer bugs for it.

    I always thought it was strange…for years when I said I worked on a MAC, my fellow marketers would tell me to “get rid of the toy and buy a REAL PC computer!”

    Well, I did because of all of my clients were on PC’s. Five PC confusers have died on me and you sure as hell better back them up.

    I now work on both PC and MAC platforms, but Steve Jobs and Apple changed my life.

    Bless you…and thank you, Steve!

    “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”
    Steve Jobs – 1993

    • John Carlton says:

      Great post, Markie. Fact is, it was only through your urging that I moved to Silicon Valley in the first place. Palo Alto was (and still is) a strangely dreamlike and wonderful joint to live and play in — one of the most intriguing and best-situated towns on the planet. I lived in a communal house, next door to mansions on one side, modest blue-collar homes on the other… all with that thriving downtown scene where punk rockers shared the sidewalk with venture capitalists and weird geeks and families and entrepreneurs and old-school California die-hards…

      Good times.

      It’s startling at how many guys like us can rattle off all these connections to Jobs and Apple, citing products and releases that coincide with big changes in our lives. It’s been a wild ride, full of tidal changes in the culture due to technology shifts, and while it may be funny to kids today to hear us talk about how strange it was…

      … the fact is, we wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t gone through all that upheaval. I, for one, am very happy to have been on the ride.

      Thanks for the post.

  • I’ve never replied to one of your blogs John so bear with me here.

    I had an ‘accidental’ encounter with Steve Jobs back 20 plus years ago when I was color processing manager at, of all places, The New York Times.

    For those with a short memory, The Times was a “black ‘n white” (physically and philosophically) publication at that “Time(s)”. I was recruited from USA TODAY (the ‘premier’ color newspaper at the time) to lead the effort to modernize The Times for the 21st century.

    It was a summer Friday afternoon in 1990. I was running maintenance processes on, for those who remember color printing/publishing at that time, a Scitex color prepress system. The Times had installed this system even though they weren’t printing 4-color at that time and I was counting the minutes for the backup/maintenance to finish so I could get the ‘heck outa there’.

    I was at a workstation and I heard the door to the area open but, by the way the room was laid out, couldn’t see who came in. I thought ‘what idiot is coming in on a summer Friday afternoon at quarter to five?’ Well, I hauled myself out of the chair and who did I see? Steve Jobs, and quite a surprise it was. He was at The Times for a meeting/chat/tour of The Times with Arthur Sulzberger Jr., then Deputy Publisher and now Publisher of The Times. Arthur was giving Steve a tour of The Times and had gotten side-tracked speaking with some folks in another department. So Steve walked ahead into the “color processing department”,as it was called at that time.

    Arthur was delayed so I gave Steve a tour of all the ‘modern’ equipment The Times had installed at the time, to the tune of about $1.5 million. Steve blasted off questions at me like a machine gun, asking me about this and that. I answered as best I could. After about 5 minutes, which seemed an eternity, Arthur came into the area and joined us. Steve didn’t let up. He asked ‘why’ we did this – or in the case of what we hadn’t done yet, why did we follow that path? It was if the ultimate consultant had come in and questioned why the heck are you doing that? And at that time, Steve was running ‘Next’ between his stints at Apple.

    I never forgot that and, I have to say, that brief encounter lead me to always ‘question everything.’

    Steve, I only met you for about 10 minutes but I have to say, you made a big impact. I have, in one way or another, ‘questioned everything.’ In the corporate world, that was not always a good thing. But since I was a ‘fan from the sidelines’ from that day forward, I always said ‘way to go Steve’ whenever he undertook a new endeavor. Steve may have had his detractors and probably pissed off a lot of people. They’ll have to get over it if they haven’t already.

    Steve’s impact to our world was far deeper than we’ve seen so far AND, due to Newton’s Second Law, will impact us for many years to come.

    Lastly and then I’ll shut up. The morning after Steve passed away I heard some damned idiot at work say, again, that ‘time is money.’ Well maybe because I was mourning a little after reading some articles about Steve in the newspaper or maybe I was loaded for bear and in a pissed off mood, I let him have it. I asked him if he knew if he had any idea of how much Steve Jobs net worth was? Being the moron that he was, he had no clue, which surprised me to no end. I said I read last month that it was about $7 billion. And I asked him, do you think, Steve would have gladly traded some or all of that $7 billion for a little more time here on earth? The idiot was speechless and I think I got through but I’m not very optimistic. Anyway we both went about our ways.

    To conclude I’ll say, thanks Steve. You left this joint a lot better off with what you did for us than we will probably appreciate. God rest your soul.

  • Ovidiu says:

    Hi John,

    Amazing insight about a man who took marketing an transformed it into an art.

    I was just browsing the apple website looking in the ipad section… One thing got my attention:

    On the second (I think slide) it says “It’s hard to believe it’s packed with so many FEATURES”.

    My initial thought was “why didn’t they say BENEFITS?” I rushed over to ask the question but it just hit me: when selling gadgets, features is an important word.

    Any thoughts on the “should I tell my customer about features or benefits”? I know the benefit is the end result but I’m really curious what do you think about the way Apple sells its stuff.

  • darth says:

    Very insightful Such inviduals are rare who can implement their vision into the world’s stream of consciousness

    Yet it seems the price to be such a Talent is very high.

    It is indeed fast & scary times . Glad to see you have hope for the next Visionary who will bring postive change to the masses

    Personally feel you are an icon as your writing never goes old.

  • Mona says:

    Awesome gadgets. Awesome entrapreneur. Thanks for sharing your write up, John. His passing will not be forgotten.

  • Paul Touranjoe says:

    I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said.

    I just read the post above and I don’t see any new “visionary” coming along any time soon, if ever, that will fill his shoes.

    Apple will go on of course but wouldn’t you would have loved to be a fly on the wall in that garage back in 1976?

  • Stephen says:

    I have been an Apple fanboy since 1993. I have my fifth and sixth Mac computers sitting in my home office. 3 ipods as well but as yet no ipod or ipad.

    Jobs no doubt was a visionary who inspired brilliance on the part of his design team and broke Apple back from the brink. His death however should not blind us to the shortcomings of its current corporate culture.

    Perhaps Tim Cook may now wish to focus on a culture of ethical behaviour for Apple as well as design genius. Other technology companies need to do likewise but Apple especially as it charges premium prices for its products.

  • Stephen says:

    Meant to say no iphone or ipad yet.

  • Mor says:

    very relevant for Yom Kippur as well.

  • Pete Moring says:

    That was a very fitting write-up there John. Not too gushing and showing a genuine appreciation for a man we should all be privelaged to be able to say “We knew ‘of’ Steve Jobs in our own lifetime”.

    I don’t have any ‘i-products’ but I’m absolutely in AWE of the man who brought (what in my eyes) what seemed like Pure Magic to our world with the technology which just seems impossible if you assess it objectively.

    I’m sure his Journey is not finished and that the next part will be just as fruitful.

    Most people will be left now with that Empty-Gut feeling for quite a while.

    RIP Steve Jobs.

  • Andy Golay says:

    Thanks John sweet post… i remember reading in a book called “The Davinci Method” a commencement speech Steve Jobs gave, in which he explicitly reminded the audience that we all are going to die soon, to be swept away to make room for the next generation, so it is important to live now… appreciating the reminder. Always enjoy your “weblogs.” 😛 best, ABG

  • Chris Haddad says:

    Great stuff, John

  • I must be a Luddite or a complete media stooge, but I don’t get what the big commotion is about. I mean, did we all fall apart when the inventor of the harmonica, Eugene Fitzgerald Abercrombie Hohner, kicked? I think not.

    And how many campfires has someone played the iPhone around? And really got everyone singing … you know, a killer song like, Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore.

    See. Made ya’ think. Now go blow your iPhone for a few bars. Bet you wake up ten minutes later on the floor with the dog licking your face.

    • John Carlton says:

      Actually, there’s an app that works by blowing into the mouthpiece of your iPhone, and it sounds just like a flute. Seriously. Small thing, but indicative of the unrelenting change that current tech hath wrought in our lives at every level…

      I even have a full-on Hammond B-3 organ on my iPad, complete with a Leslie, slide-bars that work and keys that work just like the real organ. The sound is exquisite, too. Once you get your mind around the idea that anything that CAN be re-created digitally, HAS now been re-created… you begin to get a weak, tentative sense of just how profound everything has been turned around in the world.

      The Luddites don’t even know where to begin, or how to phrase their opposition…

  • Dana Houser says:

    I don’t know why it is, maybe because we take so much for granted. But unfortunately, more times than not, it’s takes someone’s passing for us to realize how much someone has contributed to and helped shaped our lives.

    Death causes us to reflect on life(it should anyway), and take an inventory of our own. Steve Jobs and the other Uber Entrepreneur’s you mentioned changed the world… forever. It’s likely we’re not all going to make contributions on such a grand scale. But if we take the positives away from this loss, or any loss/lesson, and take action doing something we love, we will contribute to bettering someone’s life AND live a satisfied life.

    Like you said, you doubt Steve had any regrets. He was always moving forward or searching for a way to do so.

    Great post John.


  • Bernie says:


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  • rob says:

    1:20pm Friday
    From RJ

    Dear JC…

    Dude…are you like any closer with tha….

    …re-release of freelancer course?…

    I ready to ‘pop-up-& pounce’ on this like a samartran tiger…

    later man.


    • John Carlton says:

      I’m editing the final release version now… I have a sizzling bonus crammed with input by all the hot freelancers I know, on how they keep their careers cooking on high heat in modern markets.

      Definitely worth the slightly longer wait (it took me a little extra time to cajole, threaten and browbeat some of these top writers to contribute to this bonus… and the results are simply mind-boggling)…

      • rob says:

        Southern Australia



        I here ya dog…

        …I’m still tingling with anticipation….

        I’ve come waaaaay too far to turn back…

        I mean it man…second you got your thing together…

        …I’m gonna be like friggin pit ball…all over it…

        I know it’s gonna be totally off the chain…

        I’m stalking this daily…(man worse than waitin to get to first base with my first girl back in the day…hahahah I’m joking man…)

        You can count me in NO matter how LONG it takes…


        RJ :O)

  • drhowell says:

    One hundred and forty nine comments later…
    I agree with you Steve. We owe the other Steve for what he did and believed.

    He wanted to put a dent in the universe. And I can’t see a dent right now but his passing left a big hole in all of us.

  • custom items says:

    Hi John! I’m not saying that Steve Jobs passing is not tragic or that his life is a tribute to how we see computers today. It’s that we need to also be recognizing the death of an equally important person. That person is Dennis Ritchie. If this person didn’t do what he has done with this life then your Apple product or your Microsoft product or even your router that brings you to this comment wouldn’t even work. Ritchie is the creator of the language C and Linux. He created the gears that run technology now

  • logo items says:

    I dreamed that Steve Jobs talked to me. We discussed my Dell hackintosh and i asked him about his opinion about my frankenMac computer. He told me that i should stop pairing his OS to Michael Dell’s creation. Oh, it was just a dream.

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