I’m not surprised at the outpouring of emotions from people over the death of Steve Jobs. After seeing the reactions to high profile deaths of Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, etc. any community that loses such a high profile and leading member will have a strong emotional reaction, even a community as little known for its emotional response as the tech. community. No, what has surprised me is how much emotion Jobs’ death has stirred in me.
Yes, I am probably what many people would consider an Apple fanboy. I’ve always been a proponent of Apple products since back in the Apple II days. I learned to program on an Apple II+ like so many others. I used Macs through college, my first job was developing software for Macs, and yes I owned a Newton and thought the vision for the device was better than the Palm although I will admit the execution was lacking. However, I’ve never been a Steve Jobs apologist. I remember hearing all the stories of how he mistreated and manipulated people. I believe he was a great visionary but the way he got people to execute on that vision was not something I could get behind. That’s part of the reason I’ve never considered applying for a job at Apple. I had this fear that I’d be working there and he’d drop by, take a look at what I was doing and say, “that sucks,” and move on. I understand that is the way he gets people to push themselves, that’s just not a culture that I’d want to work in. Yes, I believe I need to be pushed to do more, excellent work, but that method for getting there would leave me angry and headed for a heart attack.
So, while I am a huge fan of the products that his company produces I’m was not a big fan of Steve Jobs and when I heard yesterday that he had died I was saddened because such a wonderful, creative mind was no longer around, but I didn’t give it a whole lot thought. But today I couldn’t stop spinning on the fact that he wasn’t around anymore. The man whose vision brought about so many products that I have and still use everyday. Tools that I and others have used to effectively proclaim the gospel. Aside from my family and Pr. Todd Wilken, nobody has had a larger effect on my day-to-day life than Steve Jobs. I think this realization is what got to me. I was really struck by the impact he had on my life.
One thing I had forgotten about Steve Jobs was that he was adopted. This really got me thinking about how if he had been conceived 18 years later he probably would have been aborted. It really amazes me that people ignore these types of stories in the whole abortion debate. I think people want to discount the adoption option because that would lead people to consider the unborn as a human rather than an unviable tissue mass.
Finally, I was reminded of Jobs’ Lutheran roots. Of course, in his later years he seemed to have more Buddhist than Christian leanings so we don’t know if he clung to the promises of Christ at the end though we can pray that he did. What this brought to mind was how this path could have easily been my path. Being a Christian in the tech. industry just isn’t a well traveled road and leaving it for Buddhism, atheism, or what not is a lot easier. Ironically, it was Apple technology that kicked podcasting into high gear and connected me back to my Lutheran roots through Issues, Etc. God truly takes care of His own through the vocation of both believers and unbelievers.