“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs has died. The news hit me like a punch from Mike Tyson in his prime as I left the office Wednesday night. I never had the chance to meet him, but he was a mentor of mine. When I first started with the branding, imagery, and marketing of AllHipHop, I looked at the work Steve Jobs had done at Apple as the chief model for how we would present our company to the world.
Sure, we weren’t dealing with computers, but I knew that I wanted AllHipHop’s core to be a very identifiable, classic, and durable brand that would be able to survive the rough waters of business. This is what I felt Jobs had created in Apple.
At the time of AllHipHop’s inception, there were countless mighty brands, but within Hip-Hop, there were very few. Growing up, my parents bought the family an Apple IIE computer. This was when I first fell in love with Apple, likely because it was my first computer. At the time, I didn’t know, but that computer didn’t fare so well, and Steve Jobs was at the helm of the company. He’d soon leave the very company he’d founded in the 70s.
I used Apple during the 90s, but it wasn’t until the late 90s that I really gravitated to Steve Jobs and Apple as a brand. Little did I know, the company was struggling, and Jobs was the only one that could bring it back. What an understatement!
At the time, I was so impressed with Apple that I bought one as my first computer out of college, a spin off from my days at the University of Delaware’s infamous Mac Lab. Steve Raze and I used to “live” in there, but now we were in real life creating what would eventually become AllHipHop. At the time, Apple crafted the unforgettable campaign “Think Different.” In turn, I created, “When Did You Realize You Were Different?” using pictures of iconic Hip-Hop figures like Tupac Shakur. It was imitation, but it went unnoticed from our core.
And the inspiration continued. I was even privileged to host a few special events at Apple stores in New York and beyond, spotlighting heroes of mine like Chuck D during Black History Month. It was a testament to the fact that Apple, and Steve Jobs, understood their audiences.
I can’t lie. I shed a few tears when Steve Jobs passed. The first thing I thought about was his life. He spent the bulk of his life transforming lives, and mentally, I envisioned him innovating lives in some other way, that wouldn’t be as stressful as running Apple. Then, I realized just how much his legacy has shaped ours and that he left us when the work was done.
What did we do before iTunes? How did we manage to transport all those CDs before the iPod? The iPhone, the iPad, the Macbooks…the list goes on and on. We have a saying: “And, while Steve Jobs is no longer with us in the physical form, the energy he leaves with us will be continue to influence us for generations to come. I never met you, Steve, but I want to thank you for being a visionary, a mentor, and an influencer of the influencers.”
#MACisthegang and #AppleistheArmy
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005