In his passing we've all lost something. I'd prefer to focus on what we all gained from his life.
The first thing I ever wanted to be was an illustrator. The first place I ever really practiced illustration was on my Apple IIc. It was the early '80s, and even though my mother owned a small ad agency it wasn't clear to me that an illustrator was something I could be, so I moved on.
I tried to find other outlet for my creative desires. I thought I wanted to be an architect, and design buildings. But I was dissuaded from this too. Someone told me 'many architects spend their careers creating plumbing diagrams for offices'. That wasn't what I wanted to do.
So I decided to try and be a doctor. They're always in high regard. Surely this choice was unassailable! And off I went to college, with my Macintosh.
My freshman year, everything changed. I got my first email address and downloaded the Mosaic browser. I learned what a hyperlink was, and went to many strange new destinations. On my Mac, I opened my consciousness to an entire world of media and those pioneers who were making it.
Soon, I thought back to pre-teen hours spent with MacPaint and Print Shop. The Sunday mornings filled with the incessant screeeeeeeech, whir, screeeeeech, whir of our dot matrix printer howling out a massive banner: Happy Mother's Day!
But things had changed. My free time was spent writing and editing the school newspaper's opinion section, laying it out in Quark and Photoshop on the school's new Macs long into each Tuesday night before the printer pick-up early the next day. But it was never a struggle. The computers made the tasks fun.
Slowly, as I completed all of the requirements for a pre-med degree, I realized I didn't need to take tests, or become a doctor. I realized being a creative professional was not just a possibility, but it had been happening all along.
On top of that, people with just a few years more experience than me were graduating and doing it. This feeling was strong enough to penetrate the thoroughly pre-med, pre-law and pre-corporate ramparts of my college, so I knew it was real.
All of these realizations happened largely because of the power of Apple computers. And my entire career in digital media has followed. And I am not alone.
Some version of this story can surely be told by any one of my colleagues. We are not masters of the universe, we are pious citizens of the creative class. We are aesthetes and nitpickers, masochists and technophiles, organizers and disorganizers, pixel-pushers and stubborn brats, nerds and artists, oversharers and brilliant hermits, scientists and authors, gamblers and brigands, drawers and dreamers.
We are different.
We are different because of Steve Jobs.Dave Skaff is a co-founder of The Science Project, a digital studio that creates web sites, mobile applications, interactive installations and motion content for campaigns, brands and retail experiences. Skaff developed The Webby Awards and worked at ATTIK, visual effects firm Radium and launched the New York office of Digital Kitchen. What's your fondest remembrance of Steve Jobs' legacy, or your earliest encounter with the power of Macintosh? Share it with us below in the comments.