06 October 2011


What can be written that hasn't been written already?

I met Steve twice and consider myself very fortunate to have done so. The first time was when I was headhunted for the potential role of head of IT for Next Computer and had passed the first interview with the CFO - Susan Kelly Barnes who I was really impressed with. It was early days in the company and no one outside knew what was going to come out. I was fascinated of course, though I was mostly set on returning to the UK. My interview with 4 different people went ok, but not brilliantly. With Steve I felt I probably had a C grade - when he only does A++. It was an intense experience where he demonstrated (as has been said by many others) a truly unbelievable breadth of knowledge about everything from MRP systems to corporate IT decision making etc. He was intrigued that I had been behind my employer at the time buying around 300 Macs. However, I'm not sure he thought I was clever for that or a fool. (My employer had been the leading VC behind Apple and the company that brought it public though by then it was in the distant past). However, the ideas we had at that time contributed to innovations in software on Unix workstations that went on to change the way Wall Street looked at information. The Mac was my personal inspiration for that - the first computer that really allowed visualisation of information and ideas.

Later on I met Steve again when he was the keynote speaker for our company (Tibco) at our annual client conference and he remembered me positively from the interview (so maybe it was a B-). A few years later he was to return to Apple.

When I see my daughter use an iPad - which she was able to do at 13 months - the day we got one, and my mum too make a Facetime call and work on her family tree, it is a joy for me - as indeed has been my experience of just about all of Apple's products (even with some rough times in the middle). I cannot believe we no longer have him here shaping the future, but every single day I appreciate the impact he's had on my life and that of people around me. He eventually succeeded in creating the world's best business, but more than that, he's achieved that while making profound and undeniably positive changes to the way the whole world uses accesses information and content and collaborates with each other. What an incredible and astonishing achievement. RIP.