In 1984, my dad took me to a computer store to see the brand new Macintosh. The salesman opened MacPaint and helped me paint a tree. (I marveled at how the spray paint brush could be used to paint clumps of leaves.) The salesman printed it out for me to take home, and I held on to that picture for some time. I was 13 and unable to appreciate how significant those 15 minutes would be for my life. I think I’m only now recognizing it.
I was fortunate enough to have lots of exposure to computers in those years. Being one of the smart kids in my junior high meant an independent study class that gave me extra access to the few computers in our library. An Apple ][e when I got there first, or an Apple ][+ on the days I was a little slower. But that visit to the computer store was a peek at possibilities. It was the first time I had touched a mouse.
Most of the next 20 years were spent in the world of Windows and Intel both at home and later in my professional life. These computers were tools to be used. The shift started with my first iPod in 2002. I began eyeing a switch to Mac in 2004 which led to my first iMac in 2005 for our home computer. In 2006, I went full-time to the Mac, replacing a work supplied Dell Inspirion with my own MacBoook.
It’s not a coincidence that 2005 was also the year I labeled myself as a “Content creator”. I realized that what I liked to do best was make stuff, to form ideas into sharable artifacts, whether through writing, speaking, or making websites. Apple products felt less like tools and more like extensions of my self. They served as molds to capture and form my ideas.
Steve Jobs merged arts and technology, and his vision helped me to do the same. This post began as an idea of how I would like to tell him that. I was drafting a list of things I would have said to him if I had the chance. But as I was composing the list, the items all started with the same two words…