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How I Got Dissed By Steve Jobs

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FOUR YEARS AGO, I met my then-girlfriend's brother. He lived in a house in Palo Alto. His on-again-off-again girlfriend told me that she had helped Steve Jobs' wife, Laurine, find their dog and that his house was literally down the street on Waverly. I thought nothing of it until the next year when I decided to try to find Jobs' house on Halloween.

Jobs had long been a source of fascination for me. In 2004, when I took up video editing, I gravitated toward the Mac. That first Mac, a Power Mac G4 tower, got me hooked.

I will never forget the feeling of electricity in the air in January 2007 at MacWorld Expo. Although I only had an expo hall pass, my friend and and I walked up past Moscone Center to the Market Street Apple Store. There we looked over the shoulders of fellow Apple fanatics, hearing whispers about something being called "iPhone."

The next year, my friends and I decided to visit Jobs' house trick-or-treating. The decision was definitely driven by hero worship. We secretly all wanted to bask in his presence, as if to pick up some of that magic to help out our own fledgling technological venture.

It was a cold October night. Laughter and the smell of singed pumpkins permeated the night air. We checked to see if we had found the right house. In the driveway, we saw Jobs' silver Mercedes SL coupe sans license plates. This was the place.

Although we were all obviously way too old to even pass ourselves off as high schoolers, my posse and I threw caution to the wind. We saw a line of kids entering the backyard of the Jobs residence and joined the queue. Children and parents in line made their way to the back door where there stood the master and mistress of the house. Steve was wearing his Steve Jobs costume.

My costume wasn't anything to boast about. At the time, I was attempting to produce a video podcast, and we had an "astronaut" costume—an Air Force surplus jumpsuit with a few gewgaws stuck to it. The suit was what I had on hand, and so I ran with it.

As we got closer, the line split between Steve and his wife. My side of the line veered toward Steve, and my heart rate rose through the roof. I approached him, and I don't remember saying anything. But I remember what he said.

"What are you supposed to be?"

"Uh, I'm making a video podcast with my friends. and this is the main character's outfit. He's an ... astronaut ..."

"Oh. That's kind of lame."

He handed me a small bag with some nice treats in it. I thanked him.

I had just been dissed by Steve Jobs. And you know what, I wasn't mad or sad. I got to meet him. That's all I had wanted. Few have said the man was a personable fellow. Many stories that you hear around the industry indicate the opposite. Lest we forget Steve's penchant for firing people in elevators.

Now that he's gone, I feel that I certainly owe him something that the umpteen thousand dollars I've spent on his company's kit didn't cover. He showed me that it was OK to not be satisfied with results, to try harder, to linger on details that few would appreciate and to not quit until you're damn well finished.

He didn't.