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Steve Jobs - The Visionary
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Steve Jobs  -  The Visionary

It’s hard to imagine that the man who brought us the personal computer and so many other electronic wonders died October 5, 2011 at an early age.

My first contact with Steve Jobs’ creations was circa 1980-1981 at Eastman Kodak Co. It was my first Apple computer, and it wowed us with its amazing 56K memory. But the thing was called a computer, even though it sat on my desk.

My first contact with computers was years before at a bank in Portland OR, and you had to enter an air conditioned room called “The Computer Room,” where we entered in awe to work on these huge and powerful computers.

And now I had a computer sitting on my desk? The idea was mind boggling! But the little device worked, and it did some amazing numbers crunching in a flash. I was in awe, and so were my coworkers.

It didn’t have word processing. If somebody had asked about word processing, I wouldn’t have known what they were talking about.

Kodak was IBM country. I heard it said back in the early 1980’s that Kodak was one of IBM’s top customers because of the worldwide use of IBM computers by Kodak.

When I got my first Apple computer sitting on my desk there was no such thing as a PC. I understand that IBM looked with disdain at these funny little machines. They weren’t computers. If you wanted to see a real computer you had to go a couple of floors down at Kodak, and have a special pass to enter the inner sanctum and see the real thing.

A few years later I heard that IBM had a special project, down south in Florida I believe, where they were frantically working on what was to be the first Personal Computer.

Meanwhile, Steve Jobs and his buddies in the Bay Area of California were hard at work on the next generation of Apple computers.

Eventually, I heard that Steve Jobs had a surprise announcement about this great chick, called The Lisa. A few months later they came out, and in my little group at Kodak, we each got a Lisa.

The reason we were getting these Apple computers so early on was that my supervisor, who was a PhD in Applied Mathematics, was doing some consulting work for Apple, and in those early days, I am sure he was directly supporting Steve Jobs team.

Therefore, my supervisor was an avid supporter of Apple computers, and he managed to introduce them in our department, with the full blessing of the powers that be at Kodak.

The Lisa was truly an awesome computer for its day. It could do some functions that only became possible and popular in personal computers years later. Unfortunately, the Lisa did not have enough memory to do all the fancy stuff efficiently, so it was woefully slow.

Next we were treated to this funny looking computer called the Macintosh with this tiny screen. We really resisted it because “nobody will be able to work” with this tiny black and white screen. But amazingly, after a few days you got used to it, and it was fast as lightening compared to the Lisa. Poor Lisa. She was with us a relatively short time until the Mac came out.

All of this reminiscing is a tribute to the visionary Steve Jobs that created not just a few products, but created a whole industry; the Macs, and personal computers when IBM finally made its debut in this industry.

But Steve Jobs was not just a hardware inventor. He was a marketing genius. I don’t know what part he had in this strategy, but a few years ago, whenever I got an email from my daughter, it would say, “Sent from my iPhone.”

At first I thought she was trying to be cute and brag about her new fancy iPhone. Finally I asked her, and she said that the function was built into her iPhone. I thought to myself, that’s powerful marketing.

Millions of times a week, or may be a day, people using PCs, receive this slogan in many of their email messages “Sent from my iPhone.”

That’s brilliant marketing, and I've got to believe that it was Steve Jobs who came up with that inspiration, or at least he was wholly supportive of it.

I for one will sorely miss the wonderful innovations that came from the brain and imagination of Steve Jobs.

Street Talk

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