“The post-Cold War kids laid claim to AIM, LOL, OMG, yo, BRB, Space, colon, dash, closed parentheses. We sat at our laptops and typed away, and found that we each had something to say. Web-logged our fears, our hopes, and dreams. Individuated by digital means.“-from “iGeneration” by MC Lars
Steve Jobs and his products defined a generation. More than the old labels that said some age group or another was “Generation X” or “Generation Y”, Steve Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak, made us all, to borrow a phrase from sarcastic rapper McLars, the iGeneration. News coverage of his passing has been ubiquitous this week. I’ve heard a variety of reactions ranging from sadness to “why is everyone upset? He was just a guy that ran a company.”
Steve Jobs was more than “just a guy who ran a company.” He was our real life Willy Wonka, creating wonders in his chocolate factory that we never imagined but suddenly couldn’t live without. A quiet recluse who fiercely guarded his private life, but then when he had a new Wonka Bar or Everlasting Gobstopper to introduce he would emerge from his castle in his loafers, jeans and black turtle neck to show us how his new, wonderful creation worked, kind of how as a kid your Dad would take you down to his workshop to show you his new gadget or shiny power tool. The secrecy that surrounded the new inventions coming from Apple offices and factories kept all the other tech companies’ Mr. Gates Slugworth just one step behind. I wonder if the workers at Apple all look like Oompa Loompas….And damn it, wouldn’t we all love to have been his Charlie Bucket? But alas, who but a man with the imagination of a child could create the wonders he did?
Steve Jobs may not have created the internet, but he gave us the internet in a multitude of ways from the first Mac to iPods to the iPhone4S. His inventions gave us the world in ways we never thought possible. And his Pixar Animation Studios gave us Woody and Buzz Lightyear whose motto “To infinity and beyond!” seems to perfectly capture what Steve Jobs thought possible. In my whimsical imagination I like to fantasize that before his physical body succumbed to cancer Steve somehow created one last amazing gadget that allowed him to upload his consciousness, his electrical brain wave patterns, to “the cloud” and that somewhere Steve Jobs is flowing through the information superhighway and able to see all the joy his creations brought to the world.
As a related aside you can download the song “iGeneration” by MC Lars from of course the iTunes store. And if you enjoy my nonsense you can use your Wonka Bar to subscribe to The Phil Factor on your Amazon Kindle or follow me on Twitter @ThePhilFactor.