Apple stores around the country closed their doors on Wednesday to allow employees to watch a live webcast of the employee-only service for Steve Jobs that took place at the company's Cupertino headquarters. Hundreds of employees converged on the campus in Northern California Wednesday morning, crowding into the outdoor amphitheater where the likes of former Vice President Al Gore, Coldplay, and Norah Jones paid tribute to Jobs. The founder and former CEO passed away on October 5 at the age of 56 of complications arising from his long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Jobs, who founded the company in the 1970s in his parents' garage, was known in life for his passion and drive. In a video posted on YouTube, Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank Group, speaks of how the founder called Tim Cook the day before his death to discuss an upcoming product. That's the kind of spirit a true entrepreneur would continue to have until you die, said Son.
Jobs was a complex figure; though he was widely admired by his employees for his vision and ambition, he was often given to outbursts of anger and harsh words towards them. According to Business Insider, When the MobileMe service was panned by tech critic Walter Mossberg, Jobs gathered the development team and told them that they had tarnished Apple's reputation, going on to say that they should hate each other for having let each other down.
Yet, as hundreds of employees were shuttled in on buses to attend the ceremony Wednesday, it was the founder's brilliance rather than his irascibility that they remembered. The most emotional part of the day for many was when CEO Tim Cook played a recording of Jobs speaking the lines of Apple's famous Think Different commercial, recording soon after Jobs' return to the company in 1997:
Here's to the crazy ones; the misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes; the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
Original Think Different commercial
Suddenly, you could hear everyone in the place trying to hold back tears, said an attendee. It was the best moment of the day.
Jobs' ability to make the Apple brand somehow personal has been less criticized as a fault than lauded as an asset. In addressing the crowd, former Vice President Al Gore reportedly told employees that it was not only Jobs, but they too who made Apple a great company.
He was trying to tell us that... Jobs was not the whole company, said one employee to Mercury News, going on to say that Vice President Gore went on to say that the employees were all in one big team, one big family. And that we have to keep going.