My college education is from UC Berkeley, and normally people think of their education in college. But, I have always treated my jobs as education, a place of learning. When I was in college I aspired to work at IBM, Xerox PARC, or HP. After 5 years at HP, i went to Apple for an interview to check out this small computer manufacturer (compared to HP) in 1984. Apple made me a job offer, but I was too busy working on a project at HP to leave. Luckily 6 months later after i finished the project, Apple called me back and wanted to see if I was still interested. The Macintosh had shipped, and I was ready to move to a new place of learning.
At Apple, I changed jobs every year, learning new things, solving tough problems, and understanding a different way to think about product development. At Apple there was a passion to change the world. Be Different. How much of corporate life is the opposite? Fit in. Do as your told. Hit your metrics. Defend the status quo.
How many companies have in their DNA, we are going to create products no one else has.
I left Apple back in 1992, during the dark years when Steve was not at the company. When Steve returned, I would tell people Steve came back because there was no stage like Apple for Steve to perform his magic. He had been busy at Next and Pixar, but Apple was his brand.
Steve will go down in history as one of the great innovators. But, unlike his predecessors, he last left a company that teaches people to change the world by creating great products. People will remember Steve for the products he created and the list is long.
But, I think Steve's greatest achievement is creating one of the best companies to learn how to change the world.
(Below is my last business card at Apple on top of my latest purchase, a MacBook Air.)