My Steve Jobs story…

Upon hearing this news a day after a new iPhone announcement I just couldn’t believe it.  My best friend showed me a twitter feed and it read “Steve Jobs RIP.”  Not the words I was expecting to see across an iPhone.  My heart dropped.  As many people know, I am a huge Apple fan.  I have Macs, iPods, iPhone, Apple TV’s but not because I just want to collect them but I truly believe in the excellence and integration of all the products.  The same way I like to work with people in groups and how satisfying it is when everything works together seamlessly.  That’s how I view their products.

Now I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally.  But I was lucky enough to be a part of the iPod campaigns.  I was asked to do a test commercial shoot for an Apple product which didn’t mean much to me at the time.  Some music player that holds all your songs.  Sounded cool to me and I never gave up an opportunity to work especially with the possibility of it turning into a national commercial.   Coolest job I did in that time.  Just for the fact that I was chosen for my dancing and just my dancing alone.  It was a silhouette of me so looks and race didn’t play into it unlike most of the jobs I would audition for.  That job is where I essentially got comfortable freestyling in front of people let alone an intimidating 70 pound camera.  I would do hundreds of takes with scrapes and bruises on my knees forming by the minute.  Even then I always had the energy to go “one more time” because I just felt that I was part of something innovative.  

Weeks later, the commercial came out and it was everywhere.  Billboards, TV, computers, stores.  It felt like everywhere you went, there was an iPod ad next to you.  I still felt a sense of accomplishment even though I was not recognizable and just a silhouette.  The ads were a success.  This lead me to do many more and they kept calling me with some not asking me to dance but pure movement.  Throughout this I slowly became a Steve Jobs fan not only praising him for putting a paycheck in my pocket but his attention to detail and his involvement in every aspect of his company. 

One year, I got a call from my agent asking if I was able to go to San Francisco to perform and open up for Steve Jobs before he hit the stage to announce the new iPod.  It was last minute and I would have to leave in a couple of hours.  I dropped everything and headed to the airport.  I was extremely excited not only for performing at WWDC but the chance to meet Steve Jobs and just shake his hand.  I thought the nerd in me was going to explode with excitement until I got a call from my agent telling me to turn around because they decided to axe the performance.  I was heartbroken.  

That day lead me to read more about him which lead me to watch his 2005 Stanford commencement speech.  I was blown away.  Not only was he a visionary and innovator but had a unique work ethic and philosophy like no other.   Hearing his story made me realize that there is no right way to do things and when taking the traditional way, you come out with traditional results.   I quickly tried to apply his philosophies to my career to duplicate some sort of success.  These two quotes hit home for me and I truly live by them.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

More products came out which meant more commercials and print ads.  Now booking a iPod ad was a big deal and the continued success they had with it kept growing.  I was proud to be part of this iconic campaign and was slowly converting to Apple.  I have to admit I still had my reserves when the iPhone came out but some convincing from my friend who was an even bigger Steve fan sealed the deal.  

In 2009, I was lucky enough to help choreograph for the LXD who performed at the Oscars.  I was excited to be there and attend the biggest night in Hollywood.  There were some of the biggest stars in the world in that room. But I don’t get star struck so smiling and nodding was the most I would express even when Meryl Streep passed by. (who I adore)  Then my friend (who is the biggest Steve Jobs fan) whispers into my ear that Steve Jobs is in the building!  What?  I turned into a CIA agent and scoped the room out looking for any signs of a semi bald man with round-shaped glasses.  Minutes later, I spotted him and yelled at my friend to come look.  I felt confident in going up to him and just saying hi since we have that seven degrees of “iPod” connection.  With each step towards him, my hands kept getting sweatier and a nervous sensation came over me.  Holy crap, I was getting star struck!  As I approached him, I interrupted a conversation he was having with Disney’s Bob Iger.  I told him about how I did the iPod ads and have always wanted to meet him.  I was speaking at 100 mphs and not sure if I was making coherent sentences.  He just smiled at me and said, “That’s great!  Thank you for all your hard work you put into it.  Those were great ads.”  I smiled and didn’t know what to say next so I just turned to my friend like it was his turn to talk.  And talk he did while he recited one of Steve’s quotes back to him.  We were full on nerds.  Luckily my friend knew Bob Iger and that allowed it to not be so awkward for Mr. Jobs.  We shook hands with him and proceeded to repeat how incredible it was to meet him.  After all those years, I was happy to finally shake his hand.  

He has influenced the world more than anyone could have ever imagined.  An innovator, a pioneer and a genius who only come around once in a lifetime.  This is a very sad day but I will use it to remember Steve by all of the amazing things that he has brought into this world.

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

You will be missed!

Harry

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