There’s been a lot of reflection this week on the Internet about Steve Job’s passing. It’s funny, I’ve never been a big Apple fan until recently and yet I see the influence that Steve had on my life.
It all started in 1983 when a friend of mine received an Apple II computer and also bought Ultima III. That was my first big exposure to computer video games. We had all played the Atari 2600 back then, but Ultima was different. It was more complex. It was more interesting than the twitch experience you got with the Atari. This was the spark that lead me down the video game path that eventually I made my career.
Recently, Steve’s ability to have a vision and have his team or company execute on that vision is what I paid attention to more. His carisma. His presentation style. His presence.
One of my favorite stories about Steve was told on the Triumph of the Nerds documentary. One of the engineers on the original Macintosh team said that Steve came to the team demanding that the Macintosh boot five seconds faster. “Do you know how many people are going to buy this computer? Millions. If you can get it to boot five seconds faster times a million people. That’s 50 lives. If you can get it booting five seconds faster that’s like saving 50 lives.” It was something that stuck with me over the years and I ended up using it several times on the load times for our games. I would always attribute it back to Steve Jobs and the original Macintosh, but it was always a great story to tell.
Steve Jobs was an amazing visionary. I was amazed how much his death affected me this week. Maybe it was that his passing reminds us all that our time on this Earth is limited and we need to live each day to our fullest.