Reflecting on my father and Steve Jobs

Published by | Friday, October 7th, 2011
Lynda and her father, 1996.

My father and me, 1996.

My father passed in July 2011, and it was a time of great reflection for my family and me. Hearing of Steve Jobs‘ passing affected me intensely and has also spurred deep reflection—though of course different than that for a parent, but deeper than you might imagine for a person I have never met and only admired from afar. Like so many others who are writing their Steve Jobs stories, I feel compelled to share mine.

I know I’m not the first or last to write about Steve’s passing, but that’s not important. I had a similar experience with my father—I couldn’t stop thinking about his passing and what his influence had been on me and my family, but I needed to process it a bit before I could formalize my thoughts. Some of my reflections are personal, and some of them have to do with our company.

I have had so many people reach out to me to share their Steve stories. Many of them have referred to his Stanford commencement speech on YouTube as required viewing. In it, he talks about three things: dropping out of college, the importance of failure and being humble, and facing his own death.

In his dropping out of college section, he talks about how liberating it was to sit in on nonrequired classes that he really wanted to take that had no bearing on his degree. One of the classes was calligraphy and it inspired his life-long love for fonts and typography. A key aspect of the Macintosh that set it apart from other computers was its beautiful type and graphics capabilities. Had Steve not dropped out and taken the class he wanted to take, the course of computer history would have been less relevant or compelling to me, and legions of other design-conscious people.

Yesterday in the lynda.com executive team meeting, we shared a moment of silence in Steve’s honor, and then shared our Steve stories. Eric, our company’s President and CEO, said that the calligraphy story reminded him of lynda.com, because people could study anything they wanted with no restrictions. Eric wondered if perhaps we are inspiring someone of Steve’s talent with a special piece of knowledge that will change the world.

When it was my husband Bruce’s turn to talk, he spoke about how Steve wouldn’t settle for anything less than great. How “good enough” shouldn’t cut it, and how we could keep Steve in our thoughts when we are making decisions about our web site, our mission, and our future directions.

Lynda speaking on behalf of Apple on her work on Star Trek V.

I've been an Apple advocate since first using an Apple II in my late 20s—a computer that literally changed my life and career. Here I am circa 1985 speaking on behalf of Apple about using its computers in my animation work for Star Trek V.

I spoke about how Steve was committed to presenting technology to nontechnical people and how this same intention had been a guidepost for my entire career as a teacher. I also spoke of how I had been inspired by Steve to stick to my convictions about how to run a company in a different way, in an effort to be better, regardless of what others say or expect. I also talked about how Apple had forged their own brand pretty much alone, without making many partnerships and instead created a direct relationship with their customer—making their own software, hardware, and even retail channels. This tenet has also been a guidepost for our company, as we have resisted the temptations to take on investors, become the arm of another entity, or work with other brokers or systems to deliver our product. That hasn’t always been a popular position as we’ve turned down lots of big money and quick opportunities, but it has paid off in the long haul just like it did for Apple.

I had never attributed it directly to Steve before yesterday, but I know that our company would not exist if it were not for his brilliant innovations and inventions. I didn’t get my first computer, which was an Apple II+, until I was 28 years old, long after I had graduated from college. This first computer was the catalyst for what would become an obsession and addiction to learning and teaching software. When the Mac came out, I could not afford one but instead charged it to my May Company charge card and paid it off over three years. I am so happy that I was an early adopter; it changed the course of my life and career and was worth every penny of credit card interest.

Of those friends who have reached out to me in the past days since Steve’s passing, most have expressed that they are struck by his Stanford speech in terms of making every day count as if it were their last. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have found my passion around a technology that Steve created, and to live my passion on a daily basis.

Though I am sad, the more overwhelming feeling is gratitude that I walked the earth at the same time as both of these men in my life: my father and Steve Jobs. Their influence on me will last my lifetime, and will hopefully pay it forward to future generations as the fruits of Steve’s labor bear the fruits of our labor, and inspire the fruits of others.

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35 Responses to “Reflecting on my father and Steve Jobs”

  1. Timotei says:

    In reflecting on the life of the very directed Mr. Jobs, thanks for the reminder of important fatherly influences that also set a lovely example for us all why we follow my some of our passions on lynda.com. Also, I think, for the important lesson during times of great change in the world, of never never never giving up.

    Thank-you very much again Lynda Weinman for your unselfish sharing, caring and sensitivity to life lived well and with passion. You set an example that challenges us all.

  2. Laurie Burruss says:

    Beautiful sentiments! Thanks so much.

  3. charlie mcclure says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lynda, I saw someone sum up their feelings on Steve’s passing via Twitter with “iSad”
    Charlie
    btw StarTrek V animation very cool……

  4. Leonardo says:

    This post and the video has opened my eyes. Thanks

  5. Sarah Joost says:

    Lynda-

    Thank you so much for writing this. I was trying to explain to my friend how much Steve Jobs passing made me miss my father so profoundly — even after 10 years — yesterday, it felt like I lost my Dad all over again. Thank you for this insight and sharing a different side of yourself. From someone who has admired YOU from afar…please don’t go anywhere soon!

  6. Christine Okon says:

    Dear Lynda, I am so sorry you lost your dad. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about what you learned from him..and Steve Jobs. What a privilege to be living in a world made so much more accessible..and fun..because of the persistence of vision of Steve Jobs.
    Take care

  7. Joe Oviedo says:

    Lynda-

    I hear you and I feel you. The past days, all this words, now your words it is a huge opportunity to re evaluate or make a stop and look at our actions and decisions. lynda.com indeed for me is one of the greatest blessings of this internet age, I can learn things in days, not months, and go ahead and impact my life and others. Thanking for this thoughts, and for sharing the on going commitment to guide lynda.com threw this examples. Saludos desde Mexico.

  8. Stacy Fowler says:

    Lynda,
    It makes me sad to hear your pain through your words for the loss of your Father. I am so sorry Lynda.

    Stacy

  9. Jan Kabili says:

    So well said Lynda. Like you, I was hit harder than expected by Steve’s passing. One of my favorite quotes is from his Stanford speech. It reminds me of one of the many things I admire about you:

    “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.”

  10. Holly Gef says:

    Although I’ve worked through several crying sessions in the past 48 hours, I can only imagine the double-clutched grief you are experiencing. The struggle to endure was Steve’s biggest legacy as far as I’m concerned. If he didn’t believe in his vision, and uncompromising commitment to perfection, our entire generation would have never known the chapters of his extraordinary life that followed after his mid-eighties departure from Apple.

    lynda.com allows me to get a little closer to perfection. My thirst for knowledge is routinely quenched, unless my boss cuts me off my weekend access privileges because I’m online studying until 4:00 a.m. As a self-made multimedia developer, you make it possible for me to take my dreams from theory to tangible projects/products. Without lynda.com, I could never achieve the ultra-”wow” factor in my projects.

    Thank you Ms. Weinman and may your heart lighten ever so gently every day from your recent losses.

    Long live Steve in our hearts, our minds and our creativity.

    Holly

  11. Margaret Campbell says:

    On October 6, when the early morning radio commentators (NPR) started speaking about Steve Jobs, there was such a sense of joy in their voices, that I didn’t realize that there had been a death until it was explicitly stated later in the interview with Peter Rojas.

    The delight in technological products and processes that Mr. Jobs left as his legacy is a testament to the lack of power that death has over the great contributors to our world, and Steve Jobs is certainly among the deathless in our planet’s history.

  12. Gail Katagiri says:

    Dear lynda,

    Heartfelt gratitude and kudos for sticking to your convictions on how to run your excellent company. Your passion for nurturing and informing the creative spark in so many people is every bit as laudable as Steve Jobs’ passion for purity and excellence in design. And you’re a lot nicer, besides!

  13. Thank you …. Thank you for changing my life:)

  14. Don says:

    Dear Lynda,

    Simply want to say thank you for your post about both your father and Steve Jobs. It resonated greatly with me on both fronts. Steve’s thinking and his genius also have impacted my life positively in enormous ways. So has my father’s!

    Regards, Don

  15. Rob Nield says:

    As a relatively young father I appreciate knowing what an impact I have on my daughter’s life. I will act accordingly…

  16. Steph Clements says:

    Without Mr. Jobs, I wouldn’t have a job. I wouldn’t be able to create. My Dad passed two years ago, and you’re right, Lynda. There’s just a tender, raw nerve that revisits pain again and again about that loss. I saw somewhere the notion that we never really grow up until we lose our father. Ouch. Growing pains. I’d like to think my Dad told Steve Jobs thanks for me. (Dad bought me my first Apple.) Blessings to all for teaching us how to create beautifully.
    Steph

  17. I. Jacobs says:

    Dear Ms. Weinman,

    My condolences on the recent loss of your dad. Thank you so much for sharing with us how you were inspired by your father and by Steve Jobs. I love to both learn and share with others daily, and your post is more inspiration to keep doing this. I subscribed to your site this summer and it is without a doubt one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Thanks again.

    Warm regards,
    Ms. Jacobs

  18. Beeka says:

    Dear Lynda…I saw Steve’s speech couple of days ago and as your CEO mentioned lynda.com is giving me an oppertunity for excellent learning opportunity for what I need Vs what a certain curriculum might think I need

    your website is so simple and neat…to the point with excellent quality in substance and presentations of its videos.

    thanks you for giving me this opportunity…it inspired me to keep looking for online video classes on academic subjects and theories too..thanks :)

  19. Manoj Patel says:

    Dear Lynda,

    I am very sorry to hear about recent loss of your dad and the world have lost Steve Jobs. I was one of customer who had bought early Apple Plus computer. To day I am still using Apple computer.

    We have to be philosophical, that Steve Jobs soul is alive in apple gadgets. His invention will never die. The world will always remember him as a good humble human being who took first step to change the world we live in.

    Kind regards

    Manoj Patel

  20. Luis says:

    I saw Steve’s speech a year ago, and it always is an inspiration for me.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  21. I too had an Apple Plus computer when I was 3 or 4. I was exposed very early to computers and the story of two guys in a garage who would change the world. My parents later bought an Apple IIe, which was an amazing computer with it’s daisy wheel printer! Steve Jobs was my idol & I’m very sad for his early departure. His legacy will always be, as he was a true leader in building a company that could and would survive after he left! I am sorry for your loss and thank you for this wonderful learning platform! You have given us an unlimited learning platform that crosses the world. Your impact is untold as well – don’t ever doubt that!

    Peace~
    Jennifer

  22. Glennzone says:

    Dear Lynda,
    It’s wonderful to have your words, and the thought behind them. Staying true to a vision is an important expression of consistency. Yes, condolescences all the way round.

    Thank you also for the link to the commencement speech. Since hearing it on the radio, now I can take in the whole message rather than just the snippet I heard, or the large percentage of the snippet remembered.

    Thanks,
    Glennzone

  23. Stacy says:

    This may me tear up. Thank you.

    -Stacy

  24. Tim says:

    Hi Lynda,

    Thank you so much for your thoughts about Steve Jobs. Your sentiments and feelings are so spot on with how Steve and Apple have affected my life. I want to congratulate you on creating lynda.com. Though I have only been a member for 1 month I have had found myself feeling about lynda.com much the way I felt about Steve Jobs and Apple. I have already recommended you to so many people (which is the strongest sign that I believe in you) and have already become much more fluent with critical software programs that I use everyday but only had a minimal understanding of. Knowing that I can simply “sit in” on classes that interest me has stirred an excitement and hopefulness in me that I haven’t felt for a long time. You have definitely captured the spirit of Steve and Apple with your site. Thank you!

    Tim

  25. Anne Corless says:

    Thank you Lynda for your thoughts and words ……..and for posting the entire speech by Steve Jobs.

  26. Raysmod says:

    Dear Lynda,

    Good to know something of your background. I think we are only fully realising now what a visionary Steve Jobs was.

  27. WebmasterSam says:

    Dearest Lynda,

    Thank you, for helping me find my passion in photography after so many years. Your site is the best learning portal on the web.

    Please provide more tutorials on Iphone App development, so that we can all build apps that will change the world.

    -Sam

  28. senn says:

    Thanks for sharing Steve Jobs speech on lynda.com. His speech reminds me that I still have hope and your site is great, I have been learning a lot from these video courses. regards, slee

  29. Anna says:

    This post is just another reason why I love lynda.com. You have heart. You’re real people behind this technology and this incredible resource. And yes, to me, lynda.com is the “college” providing courses I want to take, when I want to take them — just like Steve and his calligraphy class.

    Passion. It’s what drives us all to be excellent as we improve.

  30. Lijalem Eshetu says:

    Thanks a lot Lynda for sharing us, Rest and peace for steve jobs and your father, long live for you!

  31. Tracy Page says:

    Thanks Lynda for those wonderful sentiments about Steve Jobs and condolences on the loss of your own father in recent months.

    When I first watched Steve Job’s commencement speech at Stanford, on Youtube several months ago, I was struck by his ability to communicate, his conviction and his passion.

    As someone who works in the field of online communication (and studying part time at University) I am reminded of Steve Job’s legacy in the world, in this area.

    Today the world communicates online, we connect and share and collaborate. The courses
    that lynda.com provides are at the forefront of this evolution in communication.

    You provide real time learning, in a real time world, and like Steve Job’s encourage innovation and collaboration by bringing these courses to life, in a way that a University can never do.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful work that you do at lynda.com.

    NZ

  32. Dawn says:

    Darn it, Lynda!!! I am crying!!!!!! Steve’ s passing has touched me as if I actually knew him….

  33. Jay says:

    Thanks for a wonderful article Lynda. I have used Apple products for almost 20 years and, like you and millions of others, was deeply affected by Steve’s passing. I knew of your book products and now have found your website. Let me say it is a wonderful resource for learning and thanks for all that you do to help educate us.

  34. It’s hard to see the people who steered one’s career pass away. One thing though, Lynda, is that you’ve set an excellent example and done tremendous things in the industry. Like Steve, you are an inspiration to countless many others.

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