Apple, Macintosh and Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs, well known beyond the technology industry, gave a speech at the graduation ceremony of Stanford University.

Link to the original speech--

You can watch the video clip of the speech.

Starting from my personal history--my family came to the US as my father was assigned to the branch office near Washington D.C. (northern part of Virtinia) It was 1993 when I began to take those general study courses in George Mason University. Most of the computers in those computer labs were Macintosh, so I wrote papers with those Macs, and I started using the internet, which had just become usable even for the computer novices. (Do you know Mosaic, the original web browser before Netscape) By the way, America Online was established in the neighbor city called Vienna, VA (where my university was) and we participated in the monitor program. My family decided to buy a computer also, and because the computers used at school were Macs, we decided to buy a Mac.

I remember that NEC and Canon showrooms were located in my father's company building in Tokyo, and I saw the showrooms as I visited my father once. That was the first encounter with a computer. At that time in Japan, Macintosh was imported by Canon to be sold in Japan--even the Japan-made NEC machines were very expensive, and of course the imported Apple products were astronomically expensive that the most expensive Mac was the same price with a car. Macintosh Classic, for example, had a completely different unique character and atmosphere from the other Japanese personal computers. I remembered Apple and Mac for its uniqueness and its price, even as a kid.

Anyway, the first computer came to my house was a Macintosh. It was called Centris 650, with 8MB of RAM, and 80MB (yes, MB, not GB) of hard disk, with no CD-ROM--very weak in today's standard, but it could do pretty many things that amazed and excited me--Mac was a magic box.

Since then, a computer means a Mac. I had to use windows machine sometime with Windows3.1 which became the trauma to use Windows. Once I bought another Mac for living in a dormitory, which was a machine called Centris 610. However, what I received was Quadra 610 with better configuration because the new one just came out as I ordered. I wasn't asked any additional charge. I think this incident made me believe in Apple as a good company.....

Later on I moved to New York and began studying at Parsons School of Design.
Most of the computers at the school were also Macintosh. It alloed me to stick with Mac once again. As I was in Parsons, the new, epoch-making iMac was introduced. Steve Jobs, who established Apple but got fired by his own company, just returned with the new wind. The computer labs at school were soon filled with those iMacs. (later with those colorful ones) It was when Apple began to change.

Around that time, Apple itself was at the bottom as a company. The computer market share had fallen along with the stock price. Which company will buy Apple, and when?--it was the popular rumor at that time. Windows 95 seemed to have catched up or surpassed Mac OS. How did Steve Jobs look at those dark age of Apple? Although iMac was revolutional and super popular, the image of Apple as a company did not improve. I remember those Apple bashing by media--it continued until iPod came and became a mega hit--the success of two revolutional products--iMac and iPod finally brew away those negative images, and they represented the recovered, successful image of Apple to a general public.

According to his speech, he received a new chance to start out from zero by getting fired from his own Apple even if he was devastated. He sprang back with a new computer company NeXT to produce his ideal combination of a computer and an operating software. He also bought an animation production company Pixar with its software to produce a content through his own computer platform.
As he was asked to come back to Apple, his condition of return was to buy NeXT and its operating software, to be further developed and to replace the existing Mac OS, which later becomes Mac OS X. The confusing condition of Apple was fixed by simplifying and producing attractive and appealing hardware and software combination. OS X became the succesful modern OS that works behind all the beautifully designed Apple hardware. Apple could sail off to the second stage--after all, Apple is Steve Jobs himself--Jobs is Apple itself.

He picked up several episodes in his speech.
American private colleges havae much higher tuition than those Japanese ones. Jobs was unhappy and frustrated that most of the savings of his parents had been taken for his college tuition. (He was adopted at his birth) He could not find something worth for that vast tuition. (well, he could say that because the speech was for graduation--not at the welcome celemony! ) It was contradicting to ask such money for himself as he was not sure what to do and study--of course those classes were not interesting at all.

He finally made a decision to leave the college although he was fearful for the uncertain future of himself. But quiting school made him learn to save money--he mentioned several episode, that he saved nickels by returning a juice bottle, or he walked to a temple 6 miles away during weekend to have an decent meal only for the week. He said those were not the painful experiences but the wonderful opportunities to learn, which planted those valuable seeds for his future life.

The first thing that captured his interest after quiting college was a calligraphy. He had seen those beautiful letters used in those posters and bulletin boards on campus, so he took the calligraphy classes, which later became his insistence on using beautiful fonts in Mac OS, or to display nicely and cleanly wih balance of letters (this produced the idea of desktop publishing later on) This episode tells that when he does something, he doesn't want to do it as a boring desk work, but in a smart, elegant, enjoyable ways--the ethos of today's Apple products.

Even though he got fired from Apple, it did not make him abandon his faith to his those ideas, so that he could start out again for his idal. It is not possible to recive true gratification without persueing your own truth. If you haven't found that truth and idal, you should keep seeking for it and never compromise--that is his own method of life by facing various stumbling blocks and learning from those experiences.

He continues. Last year he was once told from a doctor that he would have only three months as he got a pancreatic cancer. He prepared for death by saying farewell to his family and close friends. Luckily, his cancer was a rare case that was curable with the operation. (Pancreatic cancer is normally a cancer hard to remove by an operation) After the operation and several months' rest, he came back to his office. He described this experience in the following insightful words.

”death was a useful but purely intellectual concept...death is very likely the single best invention of life."

He continued to mention that death is the indication of that the time is passing, it is the final point to reach, and it enables to provide the new place for giving birth to new by erasing the old. In front of death, any external ideas untrue to yourself, any pride, any fear of making mistake, would loose its meaning. For the trap to stop moving ahead for the fear of loosing something, the idea of death is a useful to overcome such fear. Because there is nothing to loose, you have to find yourself, and something that you believe in. And doing so by yourself--you can believe in yourself.
His positive boldness and attractiveness may come from such willingness knowing the point to reach.

For me, his words are real as I also got cancer at 28 and its treatment, operation did not hold the reccurence of the second tumor--the fear for another reccurence can not be erased. Seeing the shadow of death behind the life, and it is an ievitable truth of life. OK, I learned it through this experience. Then after that, what should I do, and what is the important thing to myself--I need to think about that. I believe it is a good opportunity for myself, to position it as a positive space in my mind.

As an Apple follower, I was always helped and inspired by its products, as more than just tools but the source of inspiration. I think it will not change soon. Apple products are the only computer and software that are "personal."

Recently Jobs made a huge decision to shift its CPU from IBM's to Intel's, but the presentation was very much the same, Jobs like one.

"We will be very excited to keep pushing the frontiers, and tell you about Leopard, (the next OS) the next time we meet next year.

Because more than even the processors, more than even the hardware innovation that we bring to the market, the soul of Mac is its operating system. And we are not standing still...."

The attitude not to sit on the today's success, but to produce newer and better things--it is not just the ideal image of a CEO of a computer company, but the image of a person living in this world.



突然ですが私はさそり座の女です 笑。


こんにちは。チームTシャツの制作会社original order(オリジナルオーダー)と申します。

original orderさん:


はじめまして。"delirious new york"を頼もうとweb searchをしたらこちらにたどり着きました。今月masterを卒業したばかり(landscapeです)です。portofolioをまとめながら「で、私はこれからどうしたいのかな..」といろいろ疑問を抱えている最中だったので、このお話、とても心にしみました(若干いろんなことでも打ちのめされているときでもありまして)。私の場合は自分で死に近づいたのではないのですが、最近近しい人の死で、今生きていること、これから何ができるのか、とても考えさせられもしました。自分にとって何ができるのか、何がしたいのか、何を求めるのか。これからもまたおうかがいしますね。
それにしても。家の実家にはほこりのかぶったmac classicがいまだに眠っているはずです..最初に使ってからほんとにどれくらい時間がたったことか。



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