Lifting Us Up – Remembering My Friend Steve Jobs
- Andrew Stone Oct 6, 2011 Erov Kol Nidre, 5772
I had just put the finishing touches on and had submitted our new iPhone Twitter client, Twittelator Neue, when the news of Steve Jobs' passing reached me – through Twitter, of course. My software partner and I had spent the last 4 months working non-stop to get our app ready for the iOS 5 launch. And that need for speed had arisen from the last time I saw Steve at the Apple Developer conference in June.
I have been working as an independent software developer for Steve Jobs for the last 23 years, through thick and thin, and have come to know, love and respect this whirlwind-in-a-man. He lived an intensely private life, with the exception of one sphere, the sphere of technology which I shared with him.
Every year at the conference, he comes on stage, the software developers go wild with cheers. After about 3 seconds, he holds up his hand, people quiet down, and he says "I've got a lot to show you today, let's get started". He neither wanted nor needed anyone's approbation. He's a man on a mission.
But it was palpably different this year. Emaciated and almost wraithlike, he comes on stage, and of course, we go wild with cheers and a standing ovation.
And he just stands there, basking in the love, and it goes on and on and on. In 0 words, he let us know, this was it, the end was near, thank you for helping me create this new world. I am very grateful for his telegraphing this to us, because it allowed us to take the steps needed why he was still with us, so we could let him part in peace.
The crazy quilt tapestry of my life owes an immense debt of gratitude to this man, who thought nothing of merging mysticism and capitalism, and attracted so many bright minds of my generation and the two which have followed, to the work which I call "The Project".
What is this Project? Tikkun Olam through technology, raising up people by creating something from nothing, and it started with just two guys in a garage.
And he had this great gift of never being happy with what you have accomplished, and always wondering how it can be made better. That's the fire of passion that uplifts us while maintaining our humility.
And his final gift to the world? With the iPhone and iPad, he gave the opportunity to millions of software programmers and designers world wide, in their own garages, on their own terms, to participate in the Project, earning a right livelihood, while maintaining their own personal dignity and freedom as independent developers.
I think the tweet I shakily typed out when I heard the news sums up my feelings:
Steve Jobs, I have loved and worked for you 23 years. Thank you for such a bright campfire! We carry what we learned from you, no worries...’
I leave you with these words by the poet Kabir to chew on:
To tonsured monks and dreadlocked Rastas
To idol worshippers and idol smashers,
To fasting Jains and feasting Shaivites,
To Vedic pundits and Faber poets,
The weaver Kabir sends one message:
The noose of death hangs over all.
Only HaShem can save you.
Say it NOW.