Wednesday, October 5, 2011

how steve jobs revolutionized family

The world lost a visionary leader today. When we think about Steve Jobs' legacy to the world, we think about how he revolutionized computing, business, creativity, accessibility...

We don't necessarily think family. Seems like an oxymoron for the man who disclosed relatively little about his personal life. But take a second. Think about how your family works.

Even if you don't own a single Apple product, chances are Jobs' profoundly influenced how you keep your family spinning. Here are a few ways he influenced mine:

1. My personal computer. The fact that I can search the net for advice on my toddler's erratic sleep behavior or design my holiday greeting card -- from my own home computing device -- is a tribute to Jobs. Jobs and his business partner Steve Wozniak are credited with revolutionizing the computer industry by democratizing the technology and making the machines smaller, cheaper, intuitive, and accessible to everyday consumers. Even if you own a PC, Jobs and Wozniak changed the marketplace.

2. Toy Story. The Toy Story movie that seems to play on repeat every day? Love it or hate it, I can give credit to Jobs. He bought Pixar, paved the way to enhance their their animation technologies and was executive producer of Toy Story 

3. My all-in-one mobile device. Remember carrying a cell phone, beeper, and your MP3 player? Jobs is credited with shaking up the cellular industry when Apple first introduced the iPhone and combined all of these devices into one. The great convergence. Saves a ton of room in my purse. And makes me accessible anywhere.

4. My personal soundtrack. The whole notion that anyone can create their own individualized playlists on their own personal device is a credit to Jobs. I have playlists for work, for working out, for when we have guests over -- even the Bug's bedtime routine.  The iPod, and it's companion iTunes, forever changed how we consume music.

5. HD video anytime, anywhere, with anyone. I captured the Bug's latest playground adventure in HD. On the fly. Just because I had my iPhone and the moment seemed to call for it. Then I shared it with her Grandma in Chicago and her father who was on a job site 45 miles away. With two clicks. It was like they were there.

6. Visual Voicemail. Honestly, not having to dial a phone number and enter a code to retrieve my voicemail is a huge time saver. When my husband or daycare calls, I can immediately jump to that message instead of wading through others that might not be so important. 

7. Touchscreen = Toddler Love. I can't even tell you the number of times I've whipped out my iPhone to prevent toddler PDT (public displays of tantrum). Why is the iPhone such a great toddler tool? Because of the touch screen. Jobs got rid of the stylus and let users navigate the iPhone (and then iPad) with their very own finger.

Jobs once said he wanted to "put a ding in the universe." He did. The universe as a whole. The business universe. The economic universe. The little universe that is my home and family.

Mission accomplished.


MorethanMommy said...

This is so true. It's really amazing, once you think about it, how much one person's vision of something we didn't even know we wanted, could revolutionize our lives.

Anonymous said...

So, I think I've put about half a dozen tributes to Steve on my FB page today. I've liked the guy and his products for 31 years now; I wrote my first program on an Apple II Plus.

And all you say above is true. But what I also like about Jobs is that his real story is messy and that's cool because creative movers and shakers usually have messy lives that aren't susceptible to shallow hagiography.


"However, it took two years before Jobs would acknowledge that Lisa was his child, going so far as to swear in a court document that he was 'sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child.' While Jobs reaped the rewards of owning a burgeoning technology company, his baby and her artist mother subsisted on welfare."

By her teen years, Jobs had become a decent parent. He sent Lisa to Harvard and opened his home to her. But he was no saint. In the times we're in, I think it's important to be thankful for geniuses like Jobs while simultaneously acknowledging their sometimes significant shortcomings.

Cool Progeny Baltimore said...

Absolutely agree with your comments. His personal life was messy. Choices were made and we will never know the real story behind his choices -- personal or professional. It would be unfair of me to place any judgment (good or bad) there. I don't think it's fair to color his technology contributions by his personal life choices, which is why I left discussion of that out of this particular piece. There's a time and a place for all of that -- who knows what or how historians will interpret all of that into the story that becomes his legacy in the next weeks, months, years, decades. This was just a piece about how his technology contributions impacted my individual family. And for those inventions I am grateful.