The Soul of Our New Machines
We’ve been earning a living on Macs for twenty years, but we don’t have any iconic Steve Jobs or Apple stories to share. From System 6 to Lion, from a Mac LC to a MacBook Pro, from the iPod to the iPad we’re writing this with, Apple gadgets have simply been a happy part of our life.
Instead, we’ve been thinking about part of the Steve Jobs legacy that hasn’t received as much attention since yesterday’s news broke. The lower priority is understandable, since unlike Apple, he didn’t play a creative role. He merely took a small computer-graphics operation off George Lucas’s hands for $10 million, and nurtured the dreams of its staff.
It would have been 1986 or 1987 when we first saw this short film at an animation festival. We didn’t know anything about it, or the company behind it, or that it would, over time, become the symbol of a creative renaissance. All we knew was that it blew us the fuck away. It wasn’t just cool digital graphics. It was human. It had heart.
Steve Jobs never wrote a line of code. He wasn’t an industrial designer. He was, instead, a Great Enabler: He enabled Apple, he enabled Pixar, and he enabled millions of people he never met to do things they could only imagine before he gave them the tools to fulfill their own visions.