I am not the biggest fan of Apple products. I refuse to purchase the iPod, the iPhone or the iPad (but debating spending so much on a MacBook). I am the biggest fan of Steve Jobs. Why? Simply because he was to a great extent a business mogul, something I aspire to be one day.
Jobs will forever be remembered as the powerhouse behind Apple, the inventor of many life changing technologies and the reason many of today’s biggest tech companies are even in existence. He will be remembered for his failures before his successes.
I personally remember him for being able to smoothly rise up after each failure. Remember when Apple Computers dropped him in 1985? He rose up, dusted himself off and started all over. He launched NeXT Computers and later Pixar Animation Studios before returning again to Apple Computers in 1996 after the acquisition of NeXT Computers. Apple Computers then simply became Apple Inc. thanks to Jobs innovation and creativity beyond just computer design, including having his name on over 300 patents for the company.
The rest is history.
Seeing that everyone is discussing it on Facebook and Twitter, I wanted to be clear that as a Muslim Arab American, I don’t pride or care that Jobs biological father was a Muslim Arab. Why? It’s because I’m a firm believer that parents are those who raised, not those who birthed! Had Jobs unwed parents not given him up for adoption soon after his birth, would he have become the person he was? Would Apple have existed? Would any of these innovative technologies existed? I personally doubt it as I know Jobs had always been grateful to his family for their love and support.
I have to say, I’m blessed to have the love and support of my family, especially my mother. She’s the reason that I fell head over heals in love with computers. When I was in 5th grade, she signed me up for an after school computer class to learn how to type and navigate a computer. That class was in a small room of IBM PCs. Then when I was in 6th grade, my mother made sure that one of the classes I was taking was a computer class. It was there that I typed and sent my first email to a pen-pal. That class was in a small room of Apple MacIntoshes.
It was those simple courses that got me to type up to 65 wpm by the time I was a freshman at Abraham Lincoln High School. Most of my time in high school, I was using Apple Mac computers while using PCs at home. It was my experience using both Macs and PCs that got me some decent office jobs while other teens my age were working at fastfood restaurants. By the time I went to college, I had decided to be a computer science major, being in love with computers whilst inspired by the work of many innovators, including Steve Jobs.
Every time I started work on a project, hit a bump in the road and failed, I remember Jobs. I took my time to get up, go over what just happened, discuss with close people in my life, learn from them and be inspired as I planned my next steps. In 2003, Jobs talked about how great things in business were not done by one person, but were done by a team. That inspired me when I started freelancing two years later. I tackled a couple of projects with a team of like minded individuals rather then on my own. Honestly, it was much easier to get up after tripping over a bump in the road when a someone was there with their hand reached out to me.
As the world looks back at Jobs life, I realize how much in awe I was of him all these years. I started writing this post because I wanted to point out that as someone who is in awe of Jobs, there is one thing I dislike about his business. I’m sure you all know that the headquarters of Apple is in Cupertino, California but that doesn’t mean that’s where all the great gadgets are made. AlJazeera recently brought to light that most of Apple’s products such as the iPhone and the iPad are made in Foxconn manufacturing plants in China. Foxconn is secretly known as a sweatshop; with bad working environments, terrible treatment of employees and a company with an extensive record of employee suicides!
I’m sure it’s not all Jobs doing alone, but being the CEO of Apple, I’m sure he has some kind of hand in it. As much as I agree with his message that one is to do something that will change the lives of others, I don’t agree that that should be done at the expense of others. As I was writing this post, Micheal Moore tweeted, “Devices made in sweatshops. We all use them. We use them at times for the greater good. Don’t think about where they come from.”
I do hope that the massive publicity of Jobs death today will bring awareness and much needed change to how Apple makes your next generation iPod, iPhone and iPad. I also hope that it continues to put us in awe of his determination, creativity and vision.
Rest in Peace Steve Jobs.