Without Steve Jobs, Virtual Programming wouldn’t exist, at least not in its current form. Sure, we’d be doing something to make money, like everyone else, but the Mac and iOS platforms wouldn’t exist: the former would have faded away had Steve not returned to Apple, and the latter would have never come into being.
The same holds true of so many other businesses, whether they’re selling iPhone cases and iOS apps or simply running a web site devoted to all things Apple. I was a contractor at Apple between 2000 and 2002, and I remember chatting with an Apple employee after Steve had introduced a new Power Mac and its SuperDrive capable of burning DVDs. “We just created a bunch of new businesses today,” he said.
He was right: the innovation that Steve drove at Apple helped build an increasingly complex ecosystem that benefited not only consumers but entrepreneurs too. Steve gave them the tools they needed to succeed. A rising tide lifts all boats, as the old cliche goes, and as Steve drove Apple’s fortunes ever higher, he pulled many people outside the company with him.
Even before Apple stopped participating in Macworld, WWDC, which used to be a conference that only engineers cared about, suddenly became a topic of discussion as people wondered what Steve would choose to unveil there. What other company has so much attention laser-focused on its product cycles? Many companies wish someone would create a rumor site about their activities, or that their customers would show up at dawn for the opening of a new store.
Sadly, Steve’s family, friends, and colleagues no longer have him with them, and that has left my heart heavy this week. But Apple will continue to thrive, thanks to the hand-picked executive team he left behind, and all of us who have benefited from its innovation will get the chance to do so for many years to come. Thanks, Steve, for making the world a better place in so many ways.