When I opened the browser today, it simply said:
When he stole a mouse and a few graphical boxes from Xerox, he actually stole a dream. A dream, because Steven Paul Jobs was born a dreamer. A dream that the whizkids at Xerox thought was beyond the comprehension of the present day man. But a dream that actually belonged to the humanity, like flying. And a dream, that was to become a way of life, thanks to this college dropout.
The college dropout was also a family dropout. His parents abandoned him as soon as he was born.
He found shelter in the family of Clara and Paul Jobs. He quickly imbibed the passion of his adopted father for electronics and machines. He could rip apart and reassemble commonly available gadgets at an early age. A restless genius at school, his teachers had their hands more than full keeping checks on him. He was so fast he had to skip his 5th grade. In fact, there were some who seriously believed his damned skull be taken straight to the High School!
During his High School days, he spent intense years in the vicinity of Silicon Valley where the very air reeked of electronics. He earned himself a summer job at HP by directly calling up Bill Hewlett, its co-founder. Soon he ran into Stephen Wozniak, another computer nerd. Together they worked passionately on a ‘cream soda computer’. Few years down the line they devised a “blue box” that allowed free long distance calls by fooling the mighty AT&T apparatus. In keeping with his hardcore entrepreneurial spirits, Steve successfully marketed and sold a few pieces. Yes, the guy was an outlaw too!
College couldn’t retain his restless spirit for long. He called it quits in six months of all but kept dabbling in creative classes for the next year and a half. Later, he tried to put his wild heart into video game designing with Atari in 1974.
His overworked brains were dangerously close to a burnout when he set out for India in search of enlightenment. Eventually, he burnt his fingers rather than his brains when he ran into phony spiritualists in search of “Neem Kairolie Baba” ! Needless to say, he quickly retraced his steps back to what he was best at: writing poetry in electronics.
Wozniak, meanwhile, had started work on a processor chip privately based on an existing structure. Jobs coaxed him into launching a company “of their own” which they called ‘Apple’ for want of a better name. It was the April Fool’s Day of 1976.
Soon, Apple computers started making their impact felt. Late in 1979, Jobs famously visited the Xerox PARC where he was shown a Graphic User Interface based, mouse driven computer. He was quick to decide that it was the next best thing after Edison’s light bulb and that, he wanted it in all of his computers thereafter. He hired some of the brains involved in developing the interface at Xerox and there was no stopping him unleashing the mouse on a gleeful world! The ‘Mouse’ has since liberated an entire race of humans from memorising endless, complex commands for performing ordinary tasks.
There came a time, however, when Steve Jobs was booted out of Apple, the very company he had founded. These were turbulent years when he went through amazing troughs and peaks of his life. He toyed with Pixar which launched the memorable animation film, ‘The Toy Story’. He tried hard with a company called ‘Next’ involved in manufacturing high end computers for research in universities.
Come 1996, Steve was to return to Apple in a homecoming of sorts. He quickly settled in working harder than the proverbial elves in the shoemaker’s workshop. A volley of stunning products like PowerMac, PowerBook, iMac and iBook followed soon. Mac OS X made its presence felt as a milestone in the world of operating systems. And all this was small change to the revolution that would ensue with Steve’s offer of “1000 songs in your pocket”! We are, of course, talking of the redoubtable iPod with its loveable ‘clickwheel’ interface.
The year 2007 saw the birth of the iPhone, a mobile communication device “light-years ahead of anything else”. Notwithstanding the outcome of various lawsuits filed across the world by and against Apple for infringement of patents, the iPhone remains the mother and father of all smartphones that float in the markets today.
Similarly, 2010 saw the launch of the iPad and trust Steve to have picked up an amazingly uninspiring name like that and have gotten away with it. iPad’s latest avtar, the iPad-2, which is ‘not a tablet but is an iPad-2’, has continued the traditional Apple feat of stopping you dead in your tracks.
But some day, that universal truth of life is going to stop everything good and everything living dead in its tracks. So, yesterday, God stole the man from the world who stole the mouse for it.
Note (Oct 09, 2011): I have changed a sentence above to infer that Steve Jobs did not meet “Neem Kairolie Baba” himself. I pray to be forgiven.