As you all know Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. His passing inspired me to write a few words about the effect he has had on my life, career and Snackbox.
It’s interesting that a man I’ve never met or spoken with has had such a profound impact on my life. My first encounter with Apple was in the early 80’s with an Apple II. Before the Apple II existed, computers were great hulking things with an interface only an engineer could understand. Steve (and Woz) transformed computing as we know it, making computers more approachable, accessible and easier to understand. Whether you loved or hated Steve, you can’t escape the influence he has had over the way we create and consume digital media today. Even if you use a product from an Apple competitor, they only exist because Steve paved the way.
My career has been defined by Steve; his computers led to a seismic shift in the way advertising and design is created and produced. And because of his forward thinking, I had opportunity.
After college I had a film degree with no design experience and wanted desperately to get into advertising. I spent a year just looking for an internship… with no luck. Working on a Mac using Macpaint, I was able to create some simple illustrations I submitted to Portfolio Center, one of the best advertising schools in the country. They took a chance on me and accepted me into their program. At school I cut amberlith for mechanicals and learned that producing advertising and design the old way was terribly limiting. Now, what we can produce is limited only by our imagination.
Going to Portfolio Center and Creative Circus transformed me into an art director that was able to find work at advertising agencies around the country. Along with the fundamental tools of pencil and paper I use a Mac every single day. Ultimately, this led to the launch of my own agency, Snackbox. Starting this business has only been possible because of Apple’s computers.
Steve’s and Apple’s influence cannot be overstated. It’s easy to forget now, but 30 years ago there really was no such thing as a personal computer. Now, we can’t imagine a world without (and not just a personal computer, but smartphones, iPods and the like). His computers have helped ordinary people to create amazing works of art. His iPods have completely changed the way we interact with music. His phones have allowed people such as Jenna and I to be smarter and more effective with our customers, helping us be independent, competitive and responsive.
Without Steve Jobs, I can safely say: I wouldn’t be a designer today and Snackbox wouldn’t exist. For that I owe him my life’s work. He will be sorely missed.