Steve Jobs' death was a shock, even though his recent resignation from Apple was obviously health related. Having absorbed the shock, I've spent a lot of time reading the stories about his life and impact. Here are some of the cool things about Jobs I didn't know:
* He and Steve Wozniak started Apple in 1976 with $1,300. The company's current market value: $351 billion. I'd say that was a wise investment.
* Jobs bought Pixar for $10 million. The Walt Disney Company later acquired it for $7.4 billion. Another wise investment.
* Ella Fitzgerald sang at his 30th birthday party, in 1985. Ella was still going strong at that time. I can say this becaise I was lucky enough to see her in concert in 1983. She tore the roof off, brought the house down, and smiled sweetly throughout.
* Jobs told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the most important things he'd done in his life. Only a child of the 70s could say such a thing and get away with it.
* No market research went into the iPad. Said Jobs: "It's not the consumers' job to know what they want." This is the equivalent of Henry Ford saying that if he had asked consumers what they wanted in transportation, they would have said "a faster horse." In this era of focus groups and market research, it takes enormous insight, a deep well of confidence, and I'll just say it: big cojones, to forge ahead with your vision.
* Speaking of cojones: In the eighth grade, Jobs needed a particular part to finish the frequency counter he was making, so he called William Hewlett, the co-founder of HP. Hewlett had no idea who Jobs was but talked to him for 20 minutes, gathered the parts Jobs needed, and offered him a summer intern job. This is one of my favorite Steve Jobs stories, ever.
* Jobs and Wozniak built and sold blue boxes that made it possible for people to make free, and illegal, long-distance calls, back in the days of Ma Bell's monopoly. How ironic that, decades later, Apple's iPhone was so closely aligned with AT&T for what seemed like an eternity.
* His motto came from "The Whole Earth Catalog," which was: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."
* Many people quoted in the obits have compared Steve Jobs to Walt Disney. Taking that comparison to the extreme, can you imagine what a Jobs World or a Jobs Land might have looked like? Everything would be beautifully, tastefully designed and minimalist, like an Apple Store with rides, and everyone breaking out into dance routines in front of webcams. That's one theme park I'd gladly visit.