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Farewell Steve Jobs

As I sat to write my column for this month’s newsletter the news reached me that Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, Pixar visionary, husband, father, had died; a solemn moment to be sure.  Steve, still a young man of only 56 years had lost a private struggle with pancreatic cancer.  What does this have to do with DotNetNuke? Nothing. Everything. Something at least.

When I was in high school our library had a single Apple computer. Though I never put my own hands on the keyboard, I sat with friends mesmerized by a simple game called colossal cave. After studying computer science on mainframes for a year I sat with a friend to design a game on the Apple IIe called "shopper" which, although never published, seeded in me a love for to the elegance of algorithms. My first encounter with a Macintosh was mesmerizing. I clicked something on "paint" clearing the screen and moved away from the display quickly lest I be accused of breaking something. College required my own Macintosh and over the course of a BS degree in Computer Science I logged thousands of hours in front of a 9 inch black and white screen that never knew a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). I learned to program reading the parchment thin pages of the Macintosh "toolbox" in its phone book like form. I still have that Macintosh and its 400k disk drive.

Later in life I would start my first company with two dear friends. 10x Labs was an ode to Steve Jobs, who believed that not all developers were equal, but that the right small team could perform at 10x the level of another. This was part of his vision for creating "magic".  Though my time was mostly spent working in the business world which bore IBM and Microsoft logos... the DNA of my architect’s heart had been formed by Steve Jobs. Joe Varga, Andrew Paier, Keith Fulton, Carolyn Shelton, Shane Boothe, Peter Kokkovas, Jay Jimenea, Ajit Dansingani, Mike Bordelon, Brayn Haardt, Nicole Haagenson and the rest of the 10x crew... I still owe a debt of gratitude for the privilege of knowing and working with you; and making some magic. Thank you.

DotNetNuke is the first place since 10x Labs that I experienced this kind of magic; 30 or so seemingly random people from around the world, rallying around the easy going style of an all-too-rockstar-looking Canadian, Shaun Walker; how could I resist being part of that?  Standing in front of the Liberty Bell in 2004 with Shaun, Joe, Pat and Dan the feeling was palpable.  DotNetNuke Corporation was born in 2006 out of magic; magic I learned from a lifetime fueled by the imagination and innovation of Steve Jobs. That magic continues to flow from a new generation of DotNetNuke engineers, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts; magic I have the privilege of experiencing regularly with my colleagues at DotNetNuke Corporation.

For all the things you’ll read about Steve Jobs in the coming weeks; for all the widgets and gadgets and “stuff” that people will remember him for, it is for this small thing that I will forever remember and be indebted to Steve Jobs; that he believed in magic.  And that he made me believe in it too.

Thank you, Steve. Rest in peace.


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