I was the farthest thing from a fan of Apple. I even went intentionally out of my way to buy an mp3 player that WASN’T an iPod. To me, a PC was fine. It was a tool… A utility that I needed to use.
Then came the trip to the Daytona 500 in 2007. My friend, Dan had purchased a MacBook a few months prior. I borrowed it to do a quick check of my e-mail. It was the first time since high school in the mid-80′s that I had ever touched a Mac. I instantly fell in love. The shiny black case… The illuminated Apple logo on the top… The sheer beauty of OSX Tiger. How did I ever forsake the functionality and simpleness of Apple?
Within days of returning home from Florida, I went to the Apple Store at the Danbury Fair Mall, slapped my credit card down, and walked out with my very first Apple product. My own shiny black MacBook! I’ve never been the same.
I started following Apple and Steve Jobs. I watched every Keynote he gave and read every book I could find. I’ve always been a marketing person, and Steve sort of became my role model. He was fascinating to watch. I know he was a tough person to work for. He demanded perfection. I remember reading stories about how product teams would spend weeks putting together presentations for him only to have him cut them off within a minute and tell them to redesign. But he KNEW what was needed.
The only times I ever felt a connection with an inanimate object was with guitars. My new computer was a life-changer for me. Not only could I not put it down, I also found myself wanting to learn everything I could about technology. I have developed a fascination with computers, applications, start-up tech companies, and Apple itself that I still have to this day. I had never been a “techy” person, but now I have almost become an evangelist!
Soon after that purchase, I bought my first iPod… The 160gb Classic. The iRiver that I had way overspent on eBay about 8 months earlier was now collecting dust.
I had just lost my job the month before the original iPhone came out. My friends were buying them, but it was an expense I couldn’t afford. Remember, the original price was $600. For fun, I decided to go wait on line at the Apple Store with them. I was blown away by the crowd that had gathered!
In eventually decided that even though I wasn’t working and couldn’t really afford it, I HAD to have an iPhone. I wound up purchasing a refurbished model on Apple’s website. The next day I had buyer’s remorse and was going to cancel the order. My best friends told me not to cancel it and gifted it to me!
Last year I was able to sell my original iPhone to Gazelle and with the help of some gift cards was able to purchase a new iPhone 4. The cost of my calling plan actually DROPPED!
And then a few months ago, while I was laid up in a rehab hospital for 2 months after what call my “big, scary surgery”, my cousin championed a fundraising drive of my family and friends to surprise me with an iPad 2! The iPad was something I had long before decided I couldn’t buy in my state of unemployment, and really didn’t need anyway. After all, I had my MacBook and my iPhone. Jaimie, however, knew my love for Apple and wanted to get me something that I wanted, rather than needed.
I am writing this post on that iPad, sitting outside of the Apple Store at the Danbury Fair Mall. When I learned last night that Steve Jobs passed away, I really became numb. I kept thinking how ridiculous it was that I felt so emotional over someone I had never even met. I realized that it was because in a lot of ways, he became sort of a marketing mentor to me. And of course, the fact that I am a cancer survivor, myself. Steve Jobs has given me my love of technology. He has given me the tools to allow me to express my creativity. He has rekindled my passion for marketing.
And of course, he reminds me that cancer doesn’t discriminate.
Thank you for everything Steve.