Back in the late 1970s to early ‘80s when I was a young man, I owned a small ad agency. One of my accounts was the Stonehenge Computer store in Summit, NJ, and I fell in love with the Apple computers they sold.
I ended up bartering ad services for my first Apple II, and wrote a handful of books about the impending “computer revolution” as I called it. One of them, long since out of print, was The Computers Are Coming, The Computers Are Coming.
Luckily, I saved everything from that period in my life and came across a copy of that book and a flyer I did for the computer store. The book was filled with illustrations that I had framed and still have. Thanks, Steve Jobs, for impacting my life in the early days.
NBC heard about my book and as a result I was on The Today Show for three consecutive days, demonstrating the Apple, live before tens of millions of people, with Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel. It was the era of floppy disks, shoebox-sized hard drives, and computers that really didn’t do very much when compared to today’s machines.
And during one of the demonstrations, the computer froze and I had to reboot it—all the while talking about how the computer was “doing its thing” to complete a task. It was quite a trip. Thanks, Steve Jobs—if not for you I’d never have been on TV.
For over a decade I had a thriving postal mailing list business. I had built mailing lists of computer owners by brand of computer they owned, and rented them to magazines like Byte and Apple Cider and dozens of others.
I remember the days of shoe boxes filled with 5” floppy disks, filled with names and addresses of Apple, TRS-80, IBM PC Jr. and Commodore owners. Wow, talk about memory lane! Thanks, Steve, for so many memories!
Today I’m a partner in Acquirgy, a multichannel customer acquisition company that generates customers for our clients using online tactics as well as direct response TV. Of course, everyone in our company has a computer, both Macs and PCs. I wonder how many companies would not exist today if it wasn’t for Steve Jobs.
With the invention of the personal computer, Steve basically spawned thousands of industries, and one could easily argue that all computers, regardless of brand, are descendants of those original Apples. I’m now probably on my 20th computer and our household has a slew of Apple products (Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod) and other brands. So thanks, Steve, for making our lives better in so many ways, both at work, at home, and on the go, and for directly and indirectly building huge businesses and transforming the way we work, study and entertain ourselves.
Pretty much my entire business career has been around Internet marketing and advertising, and without Steve, who knows where I’d be today and what I’d be doing. So when I see people walking around with iPhones and iPads, and when I see my daughter using a Mac and iPad in tandem for her schoolwork, I smile and say to myself “I was there at the beginning, and it’s been quite a ride.”
Thanks for everything Steve, and may you rest in peace.
Irv Brechner is executive vice president, corporate communications for Acquirgy, a multichannel customer acquisition company.