Others have already said so much about Steve Jobs stepping down as the CEO of Apple that I had serious doubts about adding my voice to the existing cacophony. Others have written so much, and surely so much more will be over the next few days. I had doubts, but I have this to say:
Apple is a reflection of Steve Jobs, a reflection of his aesthetic taste, his preference for design, and his uncompromising demand for quality in everything bearing the Apple logo. This dedication to creating the best polarized the tech community into a group of a few who understood his passion, and a much larger group of detractors who love to point out each and every misstep Apple has taken. Steve Jobs is the best because he would accept nothing less. Not from himself, not from those he worked with, and not from the products his company created.
This is good.
To be uncompromising today means going against the tide, it means pushing boulders up hill. It means ignoring everyone else who says that what you are trying to do is impossible, that you ask too much, that you should simply not care. American industry outside of Apple seems perfectly content to punch a clock, make a paycheck, and watch the hours drone by till the weekend comes and they can drown their atrophied ambitions in alcohol. That is not my job. No skin off my back. Two tears in a bucket.
Mac OS X drew me to Apple because of its Unix core. Since then, I have studied psychology, design, typography, and am now earning a masters degree in the Human Computer Interaction. I do not think it hyperbole to say that Apple, in a way, affected my life. More than anything, what I have learned from watching Apple for the past decade is that not only is it OK to strive for excellence, it is in this striving that you find success.
Half-ass is not good enough.
Those who do not care will always surround you, those who will try to belittle you and find fault in anything you do. Do not let them drag you down. Stand out, believe, care, and bring a Mac to work.
So, thank you Steve. Thank you for making your life a story that we can look up to. Thank you for creating, building, failing, believing, and succeeding.