It started in a small way. I was living in a hotel on Sunset Boulevard that had a hot pool scene, sushi and Cuban food available in the lobby. I met a girl who was considerably younger, loved Hip Hop, old movies and Asian cuisine. I was an A&R executive at a hybrid record and internet company, and she was an undergrad at a west coast college. We both had taste, and a penchant for slick design.
She transferred east to one of the Ivies. The company that I’d been with went out of business (at least my division did), and I had a summer to hang out. Since she was in New York, I was able to see her and spend time on my home turf. She grew up with a mouse in her hand; laptops are standard gear for her generation. Turntables, amplifiers and televisions were the electronic accessories of choice for mine. When I met her, she was a struggling coed who ate a lot of ramen noodles, but she had a Macbook.
She’d lace me with an iPod for my birthday. Throughout the Spring, it’d stayed in the box that it came in because I hadn’t known what to do with it. Out of frustration with my ignorance, she insisted that I bring it with me on my next visit. Young folks are so impatient with those of us who are technologically challenged. She wanted to put me in the game, and expand my digital get down. I was storing mad CDs at her crib, and she showed me how to upload them onto her iTunes, and my iPod; that was it: I was a part of the revolution, and has it had, on many an occasion before, music lit the spark
She didn’t stop there. She inadvertently put me up on social networking, when she used to escape from time to time to someplace called MySpace. Curiosity led me to follow her there; first, on her Macbook, later, clumsily on my old Compaq PC and a dial-up connection. Previously, the internet, and personal computing were kept sexy by giving me access to out-of-town newspapers, e-mails with old friends, clients, collaborators and an underground website that would eventually have a lot of legal problems called Napster.
I went on tour with friends and came back a blogger. My passion inspired a friend to put me in the Macbook Pro game. I’d been hitchhiking on the information superhighway, and now I had a Ferrari. Coupled with a high-speed connection, I was now equipped to explore every known corner of the digital world. International Skype chats were made and received. I opened an iTunes account, I stored iPhotos and e-mailed them to friends, iPods and iPhone proficiency followed. Twitter and Facebook became tools to promote this blog. An iPad offered more flexibility and mobility. I met hundreds of new people, and reconnected with friends from the past. I became more fluent in the ways of the web, appreciative of the culture of Apple, and the genius of its co-founder, Steve Jobs.
Very few Americans have had the sweeping impact on society that Steve Jobs has had. Through his collection of elegantly designed and easily operated gizmos, he did the only thing that really matters: he brought people closer together. Along the way to that goal, he became the world’s largest music retailer, changed the way we shop with his ubiquitous Apple Stores, altered the film landscape with his acquisition of Pixar and brought the world to my fingertips. I consider myself fortunate to have lived in the era that gave rise to his innovative vision. My life has been greatly improved because of it. RIP.