Steve Jobs & Putting a Ding
Junk Food Nation, Steve Jobs, founder and creator of Apple, died yesterday. I was in the middle of writing my daily review when the news came out, and my Twitter exploded. Thus, I was compelled to save my review for tomorrow; I needed to comment on this.
Jobs’ death will be repeated and memorialized in thousands of articles by every writer out there, each trying to put into their own words why Steve Jobs was so important/special/influential (like this blog post). Millions of people will put his quotes on Facebook (“I want to put a ding in the universe” is my favorite). Millions of people will post the video of his 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford, and millions of people will tweet RIP Steve Jobs (I already did).
Typically, I could care less when public figures die or do something that causes a buzz. When Kanye West stole the spotlight from Taylor Swift, all I could think was, “Who cares? It’s the MTV Video Music Awards, people.” When Michael Jackson, King of Pop, died, I listened to Thriller in tribute like eight times straight through, and then moved on. I remember telling a co-worker, “It’s not like MJ was mowing my lawn every day. How does his death change my life one bit?” I was promptly called heartless.
For me, I (like most) care more about people actually in my own life than people I idolize in the news, see on TV, or hear on the radio. So if an athlete commits a crime, movie star cheats on her husband, or a political figure send spics of his dong to a rando – interesting news, but I’ll forget it in a half hour. So why does Steve Jobs dying make me feel noticeably sad? For me, for many of us, Steve Jobs WAS a part of my life. No, Steve Jobs wasn’t mowing my lawn. But his life affected me.
Was it just the products? Maybe. Was it his constant call for innovation? Maybe. I don’t completely know. His death definitely feels different, as my friend Joe noted, because Steve Jobs was the face of his company. We all knew what he looked like, and were familiar with his signature black turtlenecks and blue jeans. Joe: “I don’t know what Michael Dell looks like, and I barely know what Mark Zuckerberg looks like because I keep seeing Jesse Eisenberg. But I know what Steve Jobs looks like.” True that. Whether you felt that Jobs liked the spotlight, he wanted to make sure you knew who he was. He was Apple, and now he’s gone. This isn’t a trick. There’s a strange finality to this.
Did everyone know who Steve Jobs was? Maybe, maybe not (if you’re Michael Oher of Baltimore Ravens and Blind Side fame, apparently not). But his work touched all societal circles and classes. Everyone in the world knows what an iPod is, whether you’re white, black, asian, rich, poor, live in Alaska, live in China, live in Denmark, have a low paying job, work at a Fortune 500 company. Only a few things can bind people like that – sports, politics, and Harry Potter come to mind. But a PRODUCT? It’s rare that technology, something that costs MONEY, is able to put everyone on the same page. Blu-Ray ain’t uniting people, folks.
Jobs was a trendsetter, a fad starter, a trailblazer, creating and providing technology that didn’t give access to just one socioeconomic class. Even hipsters bought into it, with their long boards covered in Apple stickers.
So that’s the end of my rambles. The face we associated with innovation is gone. We’ll miss you, Mr. Jobs. You definitely put a ding in the universe.
Sincerely, Junk Food Guy