The Thank You I Never Got To Say

In the event you were not aware, Apple is accepting “thoughts, memories, and condolences” about the loss of Steve Jobs from anyone: fans, friends, Apple employees, literally, anyone. If you read last night’s update, you’ve already seen this first part, but I thought I’d share the email I sent in. Here it is in its entirety:

I never had the honor nor privilege to meet Steve Jobs, but I do consider him a mentor who had a great impact on my life. Last night, I posted the following regarding Steve on my personal website:

As you have likely heard by now, moments ago Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away. I never had the honor of meeting him personally. I’ve never even seen him in person. But despite that, I considered Steve Jobs a mentor – the greatest mentor I was never able to thank in person. To me, he was an inspiration, a mentor, and perhaps one of the smartest people to have ever lived. I live by the words “dreams can happen”, but that wasn’t always the case. Two years ago I watched Steve Jobs’ Standford Commencement Address. If you do the simple math, you’ll know that it obviously wasn’t in person, but watching it has changed the way I think about life. I now firmly believe that no matter how crazy an idea or goal may be, if you put the time and effort in to it, and I mean really put it in, it can happen. And when it finally does, well, I can’t even begin to put in to words how it feels. It’s not a feeling of accomplishment. It’s something much more powerful. If it weren’t for the advice Jobs gave on life in that address, there is a very good chance I wouldn’t have gotten to feel that feeling.

Around the same time I watched the address, I was almost ready to give up on an idea that I had been working on for a couple of years. It wasn’t making any progress and it looked like it would never see the light of day. While it still hasn’t publicly, I decided to “finish” that idea. I say “finish” because I’ve now gone back and have started adding on to it. I won’t say what it is nor when it might go live to the public. That isn’t the purpose of this post. But I will say that that address from Jobs’ is the sole reason it still lives in semi-active development today. And now, I’ll never have the chance to thank him for that.

So here’s to you Steve, where ever you may now be. Thank you for all you’ve done for the world. You’re no doubt tired from all of it. You’ve certainly convinced me to never settle. May you forever rest in peace.

However, I don’t think those words alone are enough. As a result, I would like to elaborate on them.

While I wish I could say I’ve been a fan of Apple and Steve Jobs since the beginning with the Apple I, that is something I cannot do. While the first Apple product I owned was the original iPod Shuffle, I didn’t touch a Mac until about 2006, an iBook G3. I admit that my first thought about it was “Wow. This is the weirdest looking computer I’ve ever seen.” But then I turned it on. Being used to the design of Windows, the first thing I noticed was that just as it was on the outside, what appeared on screen was drastically different from anything I had ever seen before. And I fell in love with it. While at the time I considered it a design that threw out the rule book, I also thought it made a lot of sense. It was beautiful. It wasn’t for another couple of months that I learned more about Apple and why its design was so different. But, in just that short hour I had with it, my thoughts on computer design changed. I was sold and replaced my PC with a 2006 Mac Pro, a hand-me-down from my uncle and my first Mac.

As I slowly began to learn more about the Mac, I began to learn more about the company behind them, Apple, and later the genius behind the company, Steve Jobs. As I began to learn more about Steve and the history of Apple, everything that I saw in regards to product design made sense. I quickly learned just what Apple meant by “Think Different”. That became especially apparent two years ago when I watched Steve’s 2005 Stanford Commencement Address for the first time.

Before watching his address, I had seen some Apple keynotes, so I already had high expectations. I never expected it to be the most inspiring speech I had ever heard in my life. Steve’s keynotes I have always regarded as the best around, but this speech was different. It was advice on life. It was another way of thinking. And it got me thinking. A lot. It made me ask questions I never before thought of asking. The most important of all was, of course, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” That is now the first thing I think about when I wake up. I actually programmed Automator to automatically ask me it when I log into my Mac each morning.

The most important piece of advice, at least to me, was perhaps Steve’s simplest: never settle. From those two words, I’ve put together three words I now live by: dreams can happen. I don’t think I would’ve ever realized that if I hadn’t watched Steve’s address. As I previously mentioned, Steve’s address is what made me keep working on an idea and complete a version 1.0. But, again, I’m still working on it. So far, every update has been in some way inspired by either Steve or Apple. They’re not copies, but they do have very subtle nods. Version 2.0, whenever that may be, I plan to dedicate to Steve.

In closing, one of my greatest regrets in life will now likely be that I never got to personally thank Steve for everything he’s indirectly done for me, and for everything he has done for the world. If I ever met Steve in person, all I would have needed was three seconds to simply say “Thank You”. Of course, I would’ve liked to have had the chance to talk with him longer than that, but of not possible, I would be satisfied with just those three seconds.

So, while I wish I could have said this in person:

To Steven Paul Jobs,

Thank you for being a mentor to me. Thank you for being an inspiration. Thank you for never settling. Thank you for being crazy enough to think you could change the world. You did, perhaps more than you’ll ever know. You may be gone, but your legacy, I hope, will always live on. You will never be forgotten. May you forever rest in peace.

Stephen James Weber

Stephen J. Weber
Sent from my iPad