Steve Jobs: 'Oh, Wow'




I'm a third way in to Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. It's a compelling read, due in no small amount to the no-holds-barred detailing of Jobs many personal failings - which is particularly remarkable considering it's the authorised biography. Some of the early Apple product presentations described in the book are available to watch online. A few clicks later and I was reading the poignant eulogy by his sister, Mona Simpson - the sibling who hadn't been given up for adoption, whom he had tracked down and re-united with in the mid-80s. It was dusk when I read it and I had to go for a long walk by the river afterwards. I hadn't noticed how much I'd forgotten about death. That surprised me.

I came back and had some fresh bread and a cup of tea and read a few more chapters of the book. Only stopping when I got to something on page 284. Jobs had invested in the computerised animation division of Lucasfilms, rebranding it Pixar. Jobs was so excited with their first short, Luxo Jr. - that he went along to SIGGRAPH, the annual computer graphics conference beng held in a baking hot Dallas. Upon screening it was met with a standing ovation and was named best film.

"Oh, Wow!" Jobs exclaimed at the end. "I really get this. I get what it's all about."

It made me think again on his sister's description of his last hours, and especially his last words:

"His breath indicated an arduous journey, some steep path, altitude.
He seemed to be climbing.
But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later.
Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.
Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.
Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW."




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