July 20, 2024
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Guest op-eds: Tech execs remember Steve Jobs


Editor’s Note: The Business Times asked technology executives in the region to share their thoughts on the death of Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder who died Oct. 5 at age 56. To contribute, email newsroom@pacbiztimes.com. We’ll post more remembrances as they become available. Click here to read a column by Technology Editor Stephen Nellis on Jobs.

Tom Adamski, president and CEO, Level Studios, San Luis Obispo

Yesterday we lost a friend, who also happened to be one of the most innovative leaders of our generation. I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on the life and accomplishments of Steve Jobs and the impact he’s had on our world, specifically the way that we all interact with technology and media today. While it is astounding to think about the changes we’ve experienced in these areas through Apple in the last decade, it is even more impressive to consider the blueprint that Steve has established for the next generation of human-computer interface. Although this future will be realized without him, it is far brighter (and more exciting) because of our past with him.

Over the past fifteen years, I’ve watched Apple shift paradigms, change behaviors and take over complete industries. Their combination of market innovation and quality execution is unprecedented, and it has everything to do with the unique characteristics of their leader. Steve mastered the art of making the complex simple and had a passion for disruption that had him teetering on the brinks of tyranny and genius on regular occasion. From his brilliant ideas to his scathing criticisms, he made everyone around him better by teaching us about the uncompromised quality of the branded experience. And although so much of him lives on in so many ways, he will be greatly missed.

Thank you, Steve. Godspeed.

[Update, Oct. 7: The op-ed submitted by Level Studios was revised at Level’s request.]

Rick Stollmeyer, CEO, Mindbody, San Luis Obispo

In the early days, Mindbody was a desktop solution that only worked on Windows PCs.  This was a problem, because so many of our health and wellness clients loved their Macs. At first, I could not understand why they were so passionate.  I never “loved” my PC. That would be like loving a crescent wrench. To people like me, a computer was a tool, nothing more, nothing less.

But to these people, their Mac was a relationship. It was something right in world full of wrong.

What creates that kind of customer engagement and passion? I finally “got it” when I held my first iPhone in my hand: Beauty. Elegance. Simplicity. Delightful user experience. A philosophy that dares to believe technology should anticipate how we think, rather than the other way around.

And that is what Steve Jobs gave us all.

And with that mentality, he resurrected Apple in the 1990s and took it from near failure to the most valuable company in history. All on the basis of five products that all work together in one beautiful symphony: Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad. It’s like Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

I stand in awe.

Alex Minicucci, CEO, SMS Masterminds, San Luis Obispo

It has been engaging to see so many commentaries on Steve Jobs the last couple days. As a business leader and inspiration behind so many useful products, you can’t help but be impacted in some way by his passing. His ability to make money is impressive, but that is not why I feel compelled to comment today. I am inspired by Steve Jobs because he was driven by passion. His instincts guided his path. This was a man immersed in what he believed, right or wrong, and left everlasting footprints as he walked his path. We should all be so brave.

Mick Guinn, owner, Mick’s Macs, Santa Barbara

One of my favorite lines from Steve Jobs was his fondness of quoting hockey great Wayne Gretsky: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is.. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

Somehow Steve always knew where the puck was going to be, and Apple was always ahead of the game. Steve was the greatest player in this game. I’m not sure there’ll ever be another one, and that’s why I’ve still got this lump stuck in my throat.

And now he’s really gone. Just gone.

I feel a deep sense of loss. I never knew him, never met him, but he was at the top of my list for that dream dinner party along with Ghandi, Jesus, the Buddha, Einstein and other fascinating people. I wrote a couple of emails to him in hopes that he might actually reply, as he’d been known to do randomly. But he didn’t, and that’s OK.

I hope new visionaries will step into his place and make the evolution of technology as fun, interesting and intuitive as Steve did. I’m not sure that will or can happen, but without that creative force, technology will become a lot duller for sure.

The thing is that I would not be involved with computers at all if it weren’t for Steve Jobs and Apple. I loathed computers before my first Mac. I owe a large part of my life and livelihood to Steve Jobs and he never knew it. I never even got to thank him. So that’s what I want to do here. Thank you, Steve!

Michael Holliday, chairman of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce

Steve Jobs was like an icon to many of us in the business world. We have all been fortunate to grow up as part of the Apple Generation. My first computer was a Mac, my first iPod was a music revolution, and my MacBook Pro is the most valuable piece of equipment I own, bar none. Steve Jobs made all of these amazing digital devices possible, and for that I will forever be grateful to him. I feel like part of me died with Steve.