Tribute to Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

We all recognize that this moment was inevitable, yet its sudden occurrence has taken us by surprise. Today is challenging for millions who own Apple devices, as well as for those who are employed by Apple. Steven Paul Jobs, popularly known as Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, passed away on the 5th of October, 2011.

He was instrumental in bringing real innovation to the world. Jobs transformed the way we interact with gadgets and computers. His departure leaves behind a profound legacy of transformation and innovation. He truly changed the world.

Through this post, we wish to honor Steve Jobs, a pioneer who significantly influenced the tech industry for many years. Let’s delve into the remarkable life of this visionary and draw inspiration from his incredible journey.

The Early Years: Born in 1955 and Adopted by Paul Jobs

Steve Jobs was born to a young, unwed college graduate who decided to give him up for adoption.

Abdulfattah John Jandali
Steve Jobs’ biological father, Abdulfattah John Jandali, was a Syrian-born executive at a gaming establishment in Reno, Nevada. Source: iPhone5news

Jobs’ biological mother later discovered that his adoptive mother had not graduated from college, and his adoptive father had not even finished high school. She hesitated to finalize the adoption but eventually agreed a few months later when she received a promise that Jobs would attend college.

1972: The College Dilemma and Perseverance

After graduating from high school, Steve Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. At the time, he was uncertain about his future and felt the financial burden of college tuition, which was consuming his parents’ life savings. Consequently, he decided to drop out after just one semester.

Young Steve Jobs at 14
A 14-year-old Steve Jobs. Source: Edibleapple

Despite financial challenges, Jobs’ enthusiasm remained undiminished. He continued auditing classes at Reed College and found creative ways to support himself, such as collecting and returning Coke bottles for cash and taking advantage of free meals at the local Hare Krishna temple.

Steve Jobs' High School Portrait
Steve Jobs’ high school senior portrait. Source: Edibleapple

1972: Stepping Stones to Apple – Jobs’ Early Career

Steve Jobs’ first employment opportunity was a summer job at Hewlett-Packard. Later, he joined Atari, a well-known video game manufacturer, as a technician. Here, he was tasked with developing a circuit board for the game “Breakout.” During this period, he collaborated with Steve Wozniak, who would later co-found Apple with him.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Source: Wired

1974: The Spiritual Quest and Becoming a Buddhist

While at Reed College, Jobs developed a keen interest in philosophy. In the same year he started working at Atari, he embarked on a journey to India with Dan Kottke in search of spiritual enlightenment.

Upon returning from India, Jobs embraced Buddhism. He shaved his head and adopted traditional Indian attire.

1976: The Genesis of Apple Computer, Inc.

It is widely believed that Steve Jobs was inspired by Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell. At the age of 21, Jobs teamed up with his former colleague from his summer job at Hewlett-Packard, Steve Wozniak, to found Apple Computer. Jobs and Wozniak thus became the first and second employees of Apple.

The fledgling company received a significant boost when angel investor Armas Clifford “Mike” Markkula invested USD $250,000.

Apple Computer Logo

1983: The Turnaround Year and an Iconic Question

This was a transformative year for Apple. Initially, the company hired Mike Scott from National Semiconductor as its CEO. Later, Jobs managed to recruit John Sculley, then the CEO of Pepsi-Cola, with an unforgettable pitch:

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Steve Jobs, John Sculley, and Steve Wozniak
Steve Jobs, John Sculley, and Steve Wozniak. Source: BusinessInsider

During his tenure, Sculley spearheaded Apple’s growth, taking the company’s sales from $800 million to a staggering $8 billion. By 1987, he was the highest-paid executive in Silicon Valley, earning USD $2.2 million annually.

1984: The Dawn of the Macintosh Era

This year marked a significant milestone in Steve Jobs’ legacy of innovation. He introduced the Macintosh, the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a Graphical User Interface (GUI). Though initially led by other team members, Jobs eventually took over the Mac’s development.

While the company appeared to be on a path of success, an undercurrent of tension was subtly brewing among the founders.

The First Macintosh
The first Macintosh computer. Source: Worldculturepictorial

1985: Steve Jobs’ Departure from Apple

This year marked a pivotal moment for both Apple and Steve Jobs. Amid an internal power struggle and the announcement of significant layoffs due to disappointing sales, Jobs was removed from his role as the head of the Macintosh division by John Sculley. Ultimately, Jobs was ousted from Apple, the company he had co-founded.

Reflecting on the experience, Jobs said it was one of the best things that ever happened to him: “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

John Sculley and Steve Jobs
Jobs and John Sculley, CEO of Apple. Source: Ezinemark

1985: The Birth of NeXT

Not one to be deterred, Jobs continued his journey of innovation by founding NeXT Computer. Although the computers were technologically advanced, they struggled to gain market traction primarily due to their high cost. Jobs’ obsession with aesthetic perfection remained, but only 50,000 units were sold.

Due to production constraints, NeXT eventually pivoted entirely to software development, culminating in the release of NeXTSTEP/Intel.

NeXT Computer
Jobs at the launch of the NeXT computer in San Francisco. Source: Cedmagic

1986: Steve Jobs Founds Pixar

Jobs acquired The Graphics Group for $10 million, a venture that would later become Pixar. Initially focused on high-end graphics hardware, the business struggled. However, a contract with Disney to produce computer-animated films turned its fortunes around, with ‘Toy Story’ being a notable success.

Steve Jobs at Pixar
Source: Macstories

In 2006, Pixar was acquired by Disney, making Jobs the largest individual shareholder with a 7% stake and granting him a seat on Disney’s board.

1996: Jobs Returns to Apple

Facing a series of business and innovation setbacks, Apple acquired NeXT with the primary aim of bringing Jobs back into the fold. Jobs was subsequently appointed as the interim chief executive. Upon his return, he swiftly terminated numerous projects he deemed irrelevant to Apple’s future success.

Interestingly, Apple employees at the time were apprehensive about sharing an elevator ride with Jobs, fearing they might be the next ones to be let go.

2004 (Mid-Year): Jobs Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer

Jobs faced a grave health crisis when he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his pancreas. Doctors advised him to get his affairs in order, predicting a life expectancy of only 3-6 months. Despite the grim outlook, Jobs announced that he had a rare, less aggressive type of tumor and opted for alternative treatment methods, which proved to be effective in removing the tumor.

2004 (End of Year): Jobs Takes First Medical Leave

Following his successful surgery, Jobs informed Apple’s employees via email that he would take the month of August off for recuperation. He expected to recover from his cancer and return to work in September. Tim Cook, who was then the head of worldwide sales and operations – and is the current CEO – assumed leadership of Apple during Jobs’ absence.

2005: Jobs Delivers Stanford Commencement Address

Steve Jobs gave an inspiring commencement speech to Stanford University graduates. The address was divided into three major themes: his early life, his exit from and return to Apple, and his reflections on mortality.

Steve Jobs at Stanford

The speech concluded with timeless advice from Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

2007: Jobs Introduces the iPhone

Just six months after criticizing ESPN’s George Bodenheimer about a lackluster phone project, Jobs dramatically shifted the mobile industry with the introduction of the iPhone. The device not only dominated the U.S. market but also revolutionized mobile phone use, pushing industry leaders like Nokia to innovate extensively.

First iPhone
Jobs unveiling the first iPhone in 2007. Source: FoxNews

2009: Jobs Undergoes Liver Transplant

In January 2009, Jobs announced in an internal Apple memo that his health issues were more complex than initially believed, leading him to take a six-month leave of absence until the end of June 2009. Tim Cook, who had previously served as acting CEO in 2004, assumed the role again, although Jobs remained involved in major strategic decisions. In April, Jobs underwent a liver transplant at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee, with an “excellent” prognosis.

2010: Jobs Introduces the iPad

Building on the monumental success of the iPhone, Jobs took another audacious step by unveiling the iPad in 2010. The device defied traditional tech categories but vindicated Jobs’ vision as it became another runaway success.

First iPad
Despite initial skepticism about tablet computing, Jobs launched Apple’s first iPad in 2010. Source:

2011 (June): Jobs’ Final Keynote

This would turn out to be Steve Jobs’ last public presentation. He introduced iOS 5 and iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage service. Though Jobs allowed other key Apple employees to take the stage for much of the presentation, his limited appearance was a subtle yet poignant indicator of his declining health.

WWDC 2011
Jobs introducing iCloud at WWDC 2011. Source: Apple Event

2011 (August): Tim Cook Becomes Jobs’ Successor

Recognizing that his health was deteriorating and he could no longer fulfill his role as CEO, Steve Jobs announced his resignation. In his resignation letter, he stated, “I can no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO“. He designated Tim Cook as his successor and expressed his gratitude to Apple’s employees for their years of collaboration.

Tim Cook and Steve Jobs

October 5, 2011: The World Loses Steve Jobs

The inevitable finally happened, yet it felt all too sudden. Apple announced the passing of Steve Jobs by displaying his portrait on its website. This marked the end of the journey for one of technology’s most legendary visionaries. His family released a statement saying Jobs “died peacefully today surrounded by his family.”

Steve Jobs Memorial