How Steve Jobs Changed My Family (And We Don't Own a Single Apple Product)

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

No iMac. No iPod. No iPad. There is not even an iPhone in the Andersen household. And yet when I heard the news that Steve Jobs passed away Wednesday evening after a long battle with cancer, I was deeply saddened-for the loss to the world, yes, but also for the loss to my own family. Even though I have never owned an Apple product, Steve Jobs and his legacy have had a profound impact on my life. I don't know if I could say that about any other person. He has affected everything from how I look at advertisements to what I expect my phone to do to how my children learned to speak (in their vernacular, "iPod" is synonymous with "music player"). He even helped take the average computer geek to technology chic, something that I, as a computer-science degree holder and consummate geek, have personally appreciated. So today I offer this tribute to the man behind the Mac:

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How Steve Jobs changed my family without selling me a single product.

1. Believe in yourself. Many (many, many) people say this, but very few have actually lived it. The story of how he started his own company in his garage in the 70's has been told so many times that now it feels more like legend than fact. When my grade-schooler needed an innovator to write a report about, I immediately thought of Steve Jobs first-and once I mentioned the iPhone, my child agreed immediately.

2. Be yourself. Steve Jobs was as much a master entertainer as he was a brilliant innovator. The glasses, the turtlenecks, and the showmanship: He stayed true to who he was and didn't try to "reinvent" himself every few years to please a capricious public. Sometimes, he was more popular than others. (Remember the time when Microsoft was new and we all hated Jobs for a while? And remember when we all felt sorry for him because Microsoft had to save Apple from bankruptcy?) But he always stayed true to himself and his vision. In a world that changes people like we change toilet paper rolls, I would love for my children to have the sense of self that he did.

3. Divert yourself. I think Jobs understood the human nature of computer users better than any of his contemporaries. People need a device to do their work on, but they also need distractions like Angry Birds. (Especially when they're trying to entertain cranky toddlers in a waiting room for an hour.) The mainstream introduction of the touchscreen guaranteed that everyone, from tiny tots to the elderly, would be able to play along. There's a reason why Apple products are always seen as "fun" technology.

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