When Steve stepped down as CEO, I wrote to let him know what effect he and his company had on a ten year old kid:
When I was in the fourth grade my parents bought an Apple ][+ when 48K was a lot of RAM and disk drives were uncommon. I discovered in that computer a world which I could play in, learn in, and experiment in. I was ten years old and I’d found something incredible in the machine you’d helped create.
My parents kept a book - in each grade, I’d write what I wanted to be when I grew up and many years I had the usual astronaut dreams. When I was in the sixth grade and having learned to program a bit, I wrote that I wanted to work at Apple.
I played and worked with computers of one sort or another for the next twenty years. I learned to program the Macintosh and NeXT machines when I was in college. I studied computer science. I contracted and wrote software to help people do things with computers in a better way than they could do those things without computers.
I watched as Apple bought NeXT and you turned a beleaguered company once again into something which inspired dreams. Twenty years after that first Apple ][, I started working at Apple. I’ve been here for ten years.
I’m proud to have been a part of Apple’s resurgence working first on Mac OS X and then on iOS. There are times every day when the giddy ten year old in me is amazed at his good fortune in helping to create products that people want to use rather than have to use.
Your leadership enabled me to live a childhood dream, but even more than that it’s taught me how to reach for something more; to improve myself and everything around me and to follow what I passionately believe in. I hope that something I’ve worked on in my time here will help inspire another ten year old to experiment and ask “What if…?”
It’s completely inadequate, but it’s the only thing I can say:
Those of us working at Apple have inherited a dream. It’s a dream we already believed in, but now it’s completely ours to realize.