By David Chao, contributor
I was 8 months out of college when I went to work for Apple. 1988. Tired of my sales job I had prior, I wanted to change the world and follow Steve’s vision of “personal computing for everyone.” Steve was just fired by his Board. Over the next few years, I could feel the culture he built wither away. Apple kept on building products that focused less and less on attention and by the end of my tenure, Apple was making PCs that looked and felt like a PC. It was through the Yin that I felt his Yang.
Seven years later, I finally get to meet and feel the Yang in person. He was running Next Computers. I was a young pup consultant who had to tell him his baby was ugly. My elder colleagues made sure I spoke first so he wouldn’t be offended. After he heard my story, he stood up and did his pitch for Next O/S. Just like he always did when he introduced the Macintosh, iMac, iPod, iPhone or iPad – he electrified the crowd with his vision and enthusiasm. For a moment, I thought every fact I collected and put together over the previous two months were from never-never land. Steve then walked over and thanked me for doing a good job and he said he understood it was time to move on.
Many have seen the glorious Steve of late. But in that moment, I saw a man at the bottom of his career. But yet I felt his Yang. He had so much fire in him that it was clear that he was going to make his vision happen. Yesterday, my 12 year old son at school received his iPad for class work. It was donated by Steve and his family. It took him another 15 years, but he did it. And he did it with style and passion that only the few possess. I am honored that I got to feel him in my lifetime in so many ways. May you rest in peace.
David Chao is co-founder and general partner of venture capital firm DCM