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Steve Jobs dead at 56

About 6 weeks ago, someone asked me what Steve Jobs stepping down from the CEO position meant.

I told him, “It means that he is near death.”

Journalists knew it too. Every news article looked like an obituary.

How near to death, we found out today. The main page of the Apple site says simply, “Steve Jobs 1955-2011” near his photo, in black and white.

Other people will write his epitaph. I never met the man face to face, but I have stood within 50 yards of him on several occasions, usually in the Apple Café, while I was a Netscape employee based on site at Valley Green #5 and #6, as “>.Mac->mobile me” first rolled out with Netscape Messaging Server for email. It was my best year of employment in high tech, even though I had a less-than-stellar :-) (See? I can be kind.) manager at the time. Fortunately, I had a great director!

Although I never met Jobs personally, I worked in Apple’s Internet Services, VP Eddy Cue’s domain. I never had ANY doubt whatsoever that Steve Jobs was aware of anything important that I did there, especially given the amount of money that they spent to have me there. Jobs was a micromanager. If he were not a Myers-Briggs ENTJ, then he played one in real life. :-) Jobs was one of those people who, if he did not set an appointment to speak with you, it meant that you were doing your job well.

A few years after I left the Netscape ESAM (Enterprise Services Account Manager) position based at Apple, I was informed that a particularly “deserving” :-) manager in Internet Services was “let go.” As I said, Steve had his finger on the pulse of Apple’s areas, most probably, ALL or them.

I used to watch EVERY keynote address that Steve Jobs presented via the QuickTime movies on Apple’s site. Why? …because he was the best presenter I have ever seen. His presentation skills resulted from repeated and continued practice. He no doubt had to “cultivate” humility during his presentations, but he did so SUCCESSFULLY. Significantly, that humble tone was also adopted by his co-presenters in keynotes, and probably they were under orders to do so. Somehow, they never looked as sincere as Jobs managed to look.

I extend my personal sympathies to the friends and family of Steve Jobs and to Apple employees everywhere. We will not know another man like him in our lifetimes.

To those people who work slavishly in high tech, ignoring their families and friends, I say, “Get a life.” Death comes to us all.

In listening to a special about Steve Jobs as I write this, I found another nugget of wisdom that he left for us, after his death:

” The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

-Bill at

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