By Veronika Treit
When Steven Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, nobody knew that he would be the one to rewrite the history of computing. When he died on October 6, 2011, the whole world mourned.
He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs, two hard-working, loving parents, who did their best to give Steve the upbringing his biological mother (Joanne Simpson) wanted him to have. He grew up in Silicon Valley and it is there met his future “partner in crime”: Stephen Wozniak. They both shared the fascination for electronic devices and quickly became friends.
Steve was admitted to Reed College, and expensive liberal arts college that his parents paid for with great difficulty – at his 2005 speech in Stanford he described that he just couldn’t see the value of going to such an expensive school, “So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay.” And so it did. He returned to Silicon Valley, and with Stephen Wozniak, created the first Apple computer board. In the early years, they assembled the computer boards in Steve’s garage and tried to sell them to local vendors. Wozniak’s Apple II computer was finished in 1977, and Steve found venture capitalists to sponsor the expansion of Apple. The Apple II was such a breakthrough that it beat all the competition, and after four years of the creation of Apple, 25 year-old Steve’s net worth passed $200 million.
Soon after the first success, Steve was fired by Apple’s board, and he went on to create NeXT and Pixar animation studios – he loved his job so much that he would never give it up, no matter what kind of obstacles he had to face. NeXT was bought by Apple eventually and he was back in charge: he uplifted the company with the slogan “Think Different.”
From then on, the sky was the limit: more and more fascinating products (iMac, iPod etc.) were released, and Steve became CEO of Apple in 2000. This meant that he was the CEO of two major companies now: Pixar and Apple.
We all know that usually, successful people have a tendency of becoming more and more harsh on people, and Steve Jobs also had this characteristic: Jef Raskin, founder of the Macintosh project complained that Mr. Jobs was often irresponsible and inconsiderate, that he did not give credit to people even when they did something right and that he interrupted people and didn’t keep promises. Rumor has it that Steve Jobs terrorized his workers and many people were afraid of him. Although these accusations proved to be true through many of his ex-workers, the fact remains that he was a mastermind who put up a great fight to be the successful man he became.
However, towards the end of his life, he had to fight a different battle in the war against cancer. He was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2003 and doctors said he only had a couple of months, a year tops, to live. A year later the cancer turned out to be surgically treatable, and from then on, the public received no information about whether his cancer had returned or not, the official statement was that he is thinner because he has a hormonal imbalance. He withdrew from giving his annual speech at the Macworld conference (the speech which he had given each year for 11 consecutive years) and in January 2009, he handed over the direction of Apple’s daily operations to Mr. Cook temporarily for the first of three absences due to illness. After all these actions, it was not a real shock when in June, it was confirmed that Steve Jobs had had a liver transplant. Being the trooper he was, he returned to Apple, promoting the new iPod in San Francisco. In October, 2010 he even introduces the new MacBook Air and the operational system Lion. His sickness, however, made him reconsider his position as CEO of Apple Inc. and he handed the position over to Tim Cook in August this year. Steve Jobs took his last medical leave in January.
Despite his great success in business life, he stayed humble in his private life: he had three children and a wife, Laurene, who he loved a lot. No scandals, just an honest man who loved his job and became a legend due to his extraordinary insight.
If you want to see how passionate he was for his job, look at one of his speeches introducing his products:
His Stanford Commencement Speech of 2005 is an inspiration to all of us: