The world lost a great visionary last night.
And the autism community lost a hero.
Mr Steve Jobs
Dear Mr Jobs,
My name is Jess and I have something that I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while now.
I think I love you.
Now, I know you probably get a lot of this – crazed fans writing in to tell you that you’ve altered the world through technology. I can’t argue with them. What you have done to shove us all headlong into the information age has been nothing short of revolutionary. Your leadership and innovation have changed the way we view – well, just about everything we do. Guttenberg had nothing on you, sir.
Oh, and taking just $1 in yearly compensation EVERY YEAR since your return to the company in ’97? Classy move, my friend. Classy move. And handing well over 3,000 percent return to investors during your tenure without selling a share of stock? Be still my heart.
You’re my husband’s hero. As such, you’d think this letter would have come from him. He’s Mac-obsessed. If it has a little ‘i’ in front of it he either has it, wants it, or is waiting for the next generation of it. I’ve caught him caressing his iPhone when he thinks no one’s looking. OK, I made that up – but Steve – is it OK if I call you Steve? I mean, it just kind of seems right to call a guy in a turtle-neck and jeans Steve – it wouldn’t be far-fetched. Hell, the guy gets MacWorld Magazine. And READS it. Not for nothing, but you know you’ve made it when there’s a MAGAZINE dedicated to your products. I mean seriously, that’s cool.
But, Steve, much as I like the MacBook that I’m typing on right now, as happy as I am with my iPhone and as much as I love browsing through iTunes for music, there’s one thing and one thing alone that sets my heart a-flutter for you.
You, sir have given my daughter freedom.
You see Steve, my daughter has autism. And for her, the world can get pretty damned overwhelming. For a long time, my girl couldn’t really go anywhere comfortably – certainly not to a restaurant. It was hard, Steve. Sometimes it was really hard.
But last night, we went to our local sushi joint for dinner with friends. We were later than we’d hoped to be and the place was pretty full. Full means loud, Steve. And loud can mean disaster. But we didn’t have to leave. Not once. Nope, my girl sat at the table with everyone else and ate her dinner.
Because now – thanks to you, she has a powerful tool to mitigate the madness. When it gets to be too much, she can reach into her dad’s pocket and say, “I will listen to my music now.” No matter where we are, she can slip on her headphones, plug into her iPod and retreat into a world that’s much more inviting and hospitable than the one around her. The nerve-wracking clang and clatter of her surroundings melts away into Godspell, Dora the Explorer , JoJo and The Beatles.
She’s even (mostly) learned not to sing along in public. Trust me, Steve, that’s bigger than you think.
And so, I wanted you to know that you have one more thing to add to your already mind-boggling resume. Pixar may have changed special effects for all time. Wonderful – I like a good flick as much as the next girl. The iMac no doubt dramatically altered home computing. My home movies thank you. And the iPhone certainly radically shifted the face of mobility. All great.
But it was a tiny green iPod that unlocked the world for one little girl.
And her mama is forever in your debt.
Keep up the good work, Steve.