Here’s To The Crazy Ones…

7 10 2011

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

A rather famous quote that although not written by him, is most commonly credited to Steve Jobs and the Apple ‘Think Different’ Ad Campaign.

Having been a few days since his passing now I thought I’d put my thoughts down as so many other people.

His death came as a little bit of a surprise, although I think everyone assumed something was up when he stepped down from CEO earlier this year but it’s still shocking. Poignantly I found out about his death on one of the very devices he helped create and then spending the next hour on said device following the steady stream of tributes and mentions from some of the worlds most famous.

So I’d like to tell you all about my experience of what he created.

If I really think back to it, my first experience of Apple would have been back between the ages of 8 to 11. I recall memories of doing graph drawings on an Apple II I think. At the time, also the first time I had ever used a computer at all so all in all a rather prophetic time almost. After that a few years went by until I got to my college days. Having chosen to do a BTEC in Graphic Design, Macs were par for the course pretty much. They had of course advanced hugely by this point and we were now onto the ages of the G4 Tower and the eMac. And so began a 2 year love affair through college as I toiled away on those machines over the course of my time at college. During this time I took on a part-time job with a small design firm in my town and the affair continued outside of college.

The summer I left college I had decided to pursue my educational career into filmmaking. There was no doubt in my mind that for this, a mac was necessary. I had been preempting this thought for a few months before that, by saving and scrimping together all my wages and gifts and knick knacks I could sell and then finally, in the 3 weeks before I was due to start university, I places that fable call to the Apple sales line. 2 weeks later I was the proud owner of a Powerbook G4 with all the bells and whistles and an iPod for a treat to myself. Prior to this I had been using an Archos Jukebox. A lump of a thing that used 4 AA batteries to work and weighed the same as a small child! Nevertheless, I had now become totally and utterly one of the ‘crowd’ so to speak. That iPod and mac went with me everywhere. That kid you see in the Apple brochures sitting against a tree and tinkering about on his laptop was me! The thing that amazed me about it was how easy it was to use and how I ever managed to get anything done with my old windows machine. I must have had that Mac for almost a year before I discovered iPhoto on it, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t have a digital camera. All that changed the first christmas at Uni when I got a little Sony point-and-shoot camera. That “Penny dropping” moment as it were. Here was a way to treasure some of my fondest memories in a really simple and straight forward fashion. The Mac did get used for a little film editing too but alas, difficulties between transferring files from Final Cut Pro on the uni computers to Final Cut Express on my Mac just didn’t seem to have much joy so it ended up being my everyday computer.

Moving forward a few years and you’ll find me working at Odeon after a stint as John Lewis’s Mac expert on the weekends purely because along with another 3 members of staff, I had and used one on a regular basis. But I digress. I’m at Odeon, and word comes out in a small and subtle way. Apple is coming to Southampton. This began with one of the longest application periods I have ever experienced and it went as follows. I applied in June 2006, didn’t hear anything till October 2006, had an interview in November 2006, finally got offered the job in December 2006 and then started in the final weekend of January 2007. By this point, I was aware of who Steve Jobs was and his following. The Cult of Jobs so to speak!

During my 2 and half years I worked for Apple, I had found a place where the closest thing I can say is it felt like home and that’s no small thing for me. I’ve felt like an outsider for a large majority of my life but here was a place that accepted me warts an all, the friends that I made there became family, some to this day I still have close contact with. Others fell by the wayside and became forgotten but such is the way of life. I think you could evidence the fact that I was happy there by noting to date it’s still the longest job I’ve ever held. I have a lot of respect for that place and who knows, someday I may work for them again.

This is a very nutshell version of what my own experience was, the place and ethos that Steve set for the stores was really why I felt so comfortable there.

I’m not sure why, but this has been a difficult article for me to write. I’m saddened by the loss of a great man but also puzzled as to why it’s saddened me to the extent that is has. I thought to myself at first, it’s just my environment, being isolated from my friends and in a less than ideal environment but at the same time there’s plenty of other things related to that that could upset me but don’t. I’ve never really had anyone in my life to look up to and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say I saw Jobs as a father figure there’s no doubt he did have a profound effect on what I do today. A while before I started working for Apple I had seen the Stanford Commencement Speech, and I’m sure like many people it changed the way they look at things. It was at that point when I really started to believe in myself. Like I could actually achieve something.

I can’t really think of anything else to say so I’ll end with a simple goodbye and the conveyance of my deepest respect to one of the greatest men that I never had the opportunity to meet.

Kal

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