An Untold Story: Steve Jobs made this Work, too
In 2003, a younger family member battled cancer in his Bay Area home. My son suggested: Let’s go to Calif., care for family and visit WWDC. Me: As a single parent, how to manage WWDC and travel? I’ll ask Apple. Son: I’m a developer if that helps. Me: You're just 13. Son: "Been programming since age 8 … on your Mac… ."
Fast forward: My son and I were “VIP” guests of Steve Jobs at WWDC 2003, who also saw to it that we had time to care for my family. Until now, our story’s gone unshared. Apple / Steve Jobs made it “just work.” I want his family to know this … and more. See conclusion.
So, I email Apple PR: “We live in Colo., younger family in Bay Area is fighting cancer, my son just had a birthday and an idea: Can he attend WWDC as a student to see Mr. Jobs’ Keynote? He may be Apple’s youngest developer. If so, we could both do a trip that combines my son’s technical passion with very real, private family needs. Cancer - chemo.”
Apple: “We checked. As a student/developer, your son can attend. He will be Mr. Jobs’ VIP guest.” Whoa! “Your son should check in at Moscone Center at (time / place).” Me: “He just turned 13. Can I escort him to the door?” Apple: “Are you a developer?” Me: “No. I blogged before there was a public Internet. I’ve used Macs since they were invented, and may’ve been the first to do a master’s thesis (communications and physics) at UNM on a Mac. We’re trying to combine care for family, experience our passion for Apple / Steve Jobs, and afford both.”
Apple email: “You and your son will both be VIP guests of Mr. Jobs. You’re all set.” Front and center. Below is a pic before the Keynote - son, Jake, already a programming / cyber security talent - now, out-of-the-park technical / leadership talent:
The Keynote .. innovation elegance. So many, "Why didn't I think of that(s)?!"
Confession: During the Keynote, I secretly snapped a picture. I had to. Thank goodness no flash!
After his Keynote, in that huge room, Mr. Jobs greeted, Jake, my son, and his guest: Jobs: "So, what did you think?” Son: “Neat!” Jobs: “NO, what do you REALLY think?!" The two chatted. Mr. Jobs sought out the kid in the room, first, before the reporters, etc. He gave us all iSight's - the cams. I still have mine, treasured.
Afterwards, chowder on the Wharf, combing through the press packet, reliving the moment over and over. A dad, a birthday boy, Apple, Mr. Jobs. The Jobs-Keynote glow was insanely magical. Then, a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to help my family face cancer. Very hard emotionally and physically, but we were there, thanks to Apple / Mr. Jobs. He helped us get to Calif. to help our family.
Key: This was before Mr. Jobs announced his own cancer. During our time in the Bay Area, we made a difference - my family moves on, raising two, healthy kids. Mr. Jobs' heart helped us provide support.
Big picture: Apple / Mr. Jobs knew about my family’s cancer ... allowed my son and me to see his Keynote ... and got us to SF to help my family. He understood.
Steve Jobs touched generations, and, until now, I’ve not told this story. But there's one more thing.
This summer, many years later, my son, Jake, physics degree in hand, computer science degree soon, too, worked at Apple, for Mr. Jobs! I don’t know on what, and would not say if I did. Apple magic, I’m sure. Once a guest ... he attended WWDC 2011 as an employee.
Jake outside Apple Mothership 2011, Cupertino
Jake just wrote:
“I first met the man years ago, and finally had the opportunity to work under his culture this year. I have really come to admire the vision, leadership, and impact that has been exhibited by no other man in history. Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.
Let us look forward to the next Big Innovator; time will tell if he will compare with the greatest innovator the world has ever known.”
Peace and love, Steve Jobs and Apple. You’ve touched my family. There is great beauty and comfort in the Circle of Life. #ThankYouSteve
Photo Caption: Jake and Jeff Schwartz, WWDC 2011
Author - Jeff: Outside Apple's Mothership Summer 2011, Cupertino
Disclosures: Jeff Schwartz is a Colorado-based communications consultant. He owned Apple common stock in the past as an individual. He uses Apple products. He does not market or review them. His son worked for Apple this summer. Jeff wished he could’ve. Apple is not and has not been a client of his directly or indirectly. Jeff has worked directly with Nobel Laureates, astronauts, Presidential appointees, etc. – but considers himself blessed to have met Steve Jobs and experienced his innovation.