Seeing Steve Jobs Everyday for 26 Years

I am more emotional about Steve Jobs’ death than I thought I would be. My first instinct was to quash those emotions because it seemed unnatural to be so moved by the death of someone I did not personally know. But then I realized that his vision, passion, charisma, tenacity, perfectionism and ambition have been present for over two-thirds of my life in the very products I used to discover those very same attributes and desires in myself.

I knew Steve because he put so much of himself in the very machines I used to capture my deepest, scariest, saddest, most ambitious, craziest, looniest, cleverest, funniest, ham-handed-est, ridiculest (yes, I know it’s not a word), dreamiest thoughts, fears, ambitions, goals, concepts, drawings, visions and ideas.

I have owned or had assigned to me somewhere near 20 Macs since the first one arrived at my house on a Friday night in 1985. With those Macs as markers and if referenced by name, I can tell you where I was living, what music I liked, the software I used and owned, the friends and crushes I had, who I was talking to online (or if the Internet even existed) and the things that were going on in my life. That I can do this with a product easily dismissed as “consumer technology” is amazing. I mean, who can do this with a VCR?

That Steve taught me to respect polish and perfection, to look outside of “what everybody else is doing,” to amplify that little voice in my head and to respect how humans interact with technology all through the design and presentation of his products is nothing short of astonishing.

I do not idolize people. I think doing so is unfair to them. But I very much model my business and my professional behavior after Steve. He saw both the value of and opportunity in the personal computer and he knew that if he made the most perfect product possible, then he would truly achieve something.

While I know I am no Steve Jobs, I suspect that he would say, “good, you shouldn’t be. You should be Brett Bearce. And you should work to make insanely great things.”

‘The Big Web Show’ and Todd Dominey

I recently discovered a podcast for web design nerds like me: The Big Web Show. It’s both an audio and a video podcast hosted by Web Standards protagonist, author and professional hero Jeffrey Zeldman and tech entrepreneur and generally-brilliant tech guy Dan Benjamin. A tweet by Todd Dominey–creator of the amazing SlideshowPro–led me to the podcast and to several hours of high nerdery watching the Dominey episode and the Kristina Halvorson episode (another professional hero).

Brettro has been using SlideshowPro for slightly over a year and finds the product to be incredibly polished and incredibly easy for both his clients and him to use. Getting to hear Dominey’s backstory and the genesis of SlideshowPro was incredibly interesting and even a little inspiring. Anyone willing to quit a day job with a solid company to go it on his own has my respect.

If you like people with entrepreneurial spirit, take note of Dominey, Zeldman, Benjamin and Halvorson. Not only are they the embodiment of such a spirit, they are each passionate advocates for best-practice-based, responsible technical and content development for the web.