One Person’s Influence

I’ve only been using Apple products for 11 years. The journalism department at my alma mater was all Mac, and I came from a PC home. So, freshman year, the fall of 2000, waiting for a journalism class to start, I turned on an Apple product for the first time. It wasn’t an easy transition – all the buttons were in the wrong place, and where the heck was the “Start” button??

It’s an incredible testament to the influence of a single person that less than a year later, he would begin the amazingly short, 10-year process of revolutionizing how we listen to music, communicate with others and essentially live our lives – albeit our very first-world, luxury-oriented lives.

I haven’t gone back. I bought my first Mac – an iMac, the kind with the powdery blue, translucent plastic bubble housing – in the fall of 2001, the same year Jobs introduced the world to the iPod. At the time, the big names in the music world were Winamp and Napster. Everyday life in the developed world has changed immensely in the 10 years since, and Steve Jobs is responsible for quite a lot of that.

Oh, and the man created Pixar, too. Crazy.

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4 comments on “One Person’s Influence

  1. I think it’s an overstatement to say that Jobs “created” Pixar. Obviously, the magic that followed him everywhere was a huge part of the company’s development. There were probably times when Jobs was the most important person there. But it wasn’t a situation like Disney, Apple or Microsoft, where one or two people had an idea for a project and as it grew surrounded themselves with the people who could help them accomplish it. Pixar had a much more organic, less entrepreneurial origin than that. For examlpe, I’d say that Ed Catmull and John Lasseter both had as much to do with Pixar’s origins as did Jobs.

    Although again, it’s no question that without Job’s business leadership Pixar could not have survived.

  2. Paul says:

    I’ll defer to your extensive knowledge on the subject, but I inferred Jobs’ preeminence at Pixar from this paragraph in the New York Times obit:

    “During his years outside Apple, he bought a tiny computer graphics spinoff from the director George Lucas and built a team of computer scientists, artists and animators that became Pixar Animation Studios.”

  3. Well, I admit it really was just nitpicking, and I reiterate that Jobs was quiet essential – before he bought them they really had no purpose at all, and nobody could figure out what to do with them.

    I just find the whole Pixar story so interesting that I thought it was worth the comment. Sometime, you might find a documentary called The Pixar Story interesting. I think you can get it streaming on Netflix or I can let you borrow a copy on DVD.

    …or maybe you’re not an insufferable nerd for that kind of thing. Either way.

  4. “The Pixar Story” is a solid doc. Watch that and “Waking Sleeping Beauty,” and you’ll basically know how your childhood was created.

    As for Macs: I’m with you. Came from a total PC household, and I lugged a Gateway off to ACU when I moved to Abilene in the fall of 2000. (That PC had a 14GB hard drive that felt luxurious at the time. The fact that my *phone* now packs more than twice that is kind of staggering.) I didn’t use a Mac until I joined the JMC department, but I really took to the OS and design. Got my first MacBook not long after college ended, along with a first-gen video iPod that blew me away. That thing still works, too. Great products.

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