Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's a Great Job, Steve Jobs!

UPDATE: This blog post was published in the October 10, 2011 issue of the Philippine Star Entertainment section.

When I was young, my eyes would light up whenever I hear the word “apple.”

It’s my favorite fruit that I only get to taste every New Year’s eve after I asked my Tatay to get it from the mouth of the roasted pig on our table (actually, it’s only roasted head of a pig).  It’s also a pasalubong from my Auntie Fe who works overseas every time he takes a vacation in our home in Pasig City.  That’s how rare a bite of apple then.

Today, apples are every where. From the market to grocery stores to sidewalks and restaurants, you’ll see them in various sizes and packaging.  But I am into another kind of “apple” these days.  It’s not something that I can bite and chew but it sure does satisfy my cravings for fun, information, entertainment and more.

I am talking about Apple Inc., a multinational corporation that makes consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.     

I am not rich but due to persistence and the urge of want, I was able to own an iPod shuffle and an iPad2 courtesy of online contests where I manage to win.  Amazing is an understatement to describe my experience using these gadgets.  I need not to discuss what these stuff can do since I am sure many of us already had a hand on an Apple product, whether owned personally or by someone we know.

That’s why I look up the man who have invited the innovative line of creation that have provided not only joy and convenience to users but the priceless experience as well.  I am talking about Steve Jobs, the American computer entrepreneur and inventor who was the co-founder, chairman, and ex-CEO of Apple Inc.  Jobs also previously served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, following the acquisition of Pixar by Disney. He was credited in Toy Story (1995) as an executive producer.  

I am one of the millions who were shocked and saddened by his sudden death which was reported due to pancreatic cancer.  He was just 56.

Now, I feel like watching the made for TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, a 1999 film based on the book Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. It documents the rise of the home computer (personal computer) through the rivalry between Apple Computer and Microsoft. The film stars Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club) as Bill Gates and Noah Wyle (TV's ER) as Steve Jobs.

The movie begins with Steve Jobs (Wyle) speaking to director Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator), who was in the process of creating the first-ever commercial for Apple Computer to launch the Macintosh personal computer to US consumers in 1984. Jobs wants the TV ad to be a poetic, consciousness-raising statement but Scott is more concerned its technical aspects.  At this point, viewers are introduced to the kind of personality Jobs is.

The movie segues to a flash forward to 1997 where Jobs was announcing a new deal with Microsoft at the Macworld Expo. His partner, Steve Wozniak, played by actor Joey Slotnick, is introduced as one of the two central narrators of the story. Wozniak notes to the audience the resemblance between "Big Brother" and the image of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates (Hall) on the screen behind Jobs during this announcement. Asking how they "got from there to here," the film turns to flashbacks of his youth with Jobs, prior to the forming of Apple.

This is where the great stuff of the film starts to unravel.  Imagine, we will be taken back to the time how and where Apple and Microsoft started.  Jobs and Gates were just like any ordinary guys then who also experienced being caught on the campus during a riot between students and police, spending sleepless night with home works and other life’s ups and downs.  It just happened that the so called Pirates of Silicon Valleys have visions and innovative minds that would shake the world after a few decades.  And it all started in the garage of their home, of all places.

One eyebrow raising moment in the film, which I actually find cute happened at a San Francisco computer fair where the Apple II computer was introduced, Gates (the then-unknown Microsoft CEO), attempts to introduce himself to Jobs, who snubs him.  Now, that’s what you call clash of the titans.

Through the years, we have been witnesses to the “rivalry” between Jobs and Gates or Apples and Microsoft which was actually sort of a good thing for consumers because both companies strived to be on top in the industry thus producing the best products they can.

The movie ended with a scene during Steve Jobs’s birthday in 1985 where he was given a toast and then he was fired by CEO John Sculley from Apple Computer.   Of course, having of one of the greatest minds of the century, Jobs got his job back 12 years later and conquered the tech world for the next decade before his death.

Jobs maybe gone now but his legacy will continue to live on.  To this I say, great job, Steve Jobs!   

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