Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Inspiration Just Lost a Hero

In 1984, my mother brought home a computer the Physics department at the University of Texas at Austin had purchased for her to try out. She knew that technology and computers interested me, so Mother called me to come look at this new Macintosh computer. I told her I would, but that as far as I knew the Mac was not a real computer.

On her breakfast table stood a beige box with a small screen, no hard drive, a matching color keyboard and something I had never seen in person before: a mouse. With only 128 kilobytes of RAM, and the standard included programs of Claris Write and Draw, I began exploring the Mac. Like so many others, I realized in short order (I think it took about 10 minutes) that this computer would change everything.

For the past almost 30 years, I have been a serious Apple fan. I was one of the first to run a completely digital advertising agency in Austin, Texas. I have convinced reluctant relatives and clients to buy Macs over the years, which, I’m happy to say, they have come to appreciate.

I’ve been this way for one simple reason: Apple products inspire me.

I’m also inspired by nature, religion, love, conflict, politics and art. But in my work, I’m inspired each and every day by my Mac, my iPhone and my iPad.

I’m inspired because I don’t have to spend time thinking about how it all works. I don’t fret over viruses and hackers, or computer crashes, or incompatibilities. Instead, I get to spend time writing, programming, designing and, of course, selling online.

For our work, I’m inspired to make everything work seamlessly, effortlessly and elegantly. Just like my Mac. I want our clients to concentrate on their businesses, not how their website works (or doesn’t). What Apple taught me is that to make products great, it takes a lot of work. A LOT of work. The complexity of the innards of a great website is hundreds of times more complex than a mediocre website. Just as the complexity of the Mac is immense so that you and I only have to turn it on and get to work.

Of course, Apple is the inspiration of Steve Jobs. His inspiration for how technology could change our lives has shaped my thinking over the years. With every website, every e-commerce business, every book I create, I ask one question: “have I made it better for the user?” The “user” includes our client, the online customer, and our developers and designers. Am I improving things or just doing the same as any others?

Today is a sad day for us here at novusweb, because while we never met Steve Jobs, we feel we understand him. We share his passion for excellence. And we will always be inspired by him.

While it’s true that owning an iPod doesn’t bring peace to the world or end starvation, if we all approached the challenges of business, life and politics as Steve did, these things might be a bit closer at hand.

We will miss you, Mr. Jobs.

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Bret Williams

Bret is the a co-founder and the Managing Partner of novusweb®. He is also author of several books on Magento and e-commerce and is sought as a speaker and trainer. Bret has been crafting internet innovations since 1995.