The spontaneous San Francisco Apple Store Memorial for Steve Jobs

The spontaneous San Francisco Apple Store Memorial for Steve Jobs

Summary: The evening Steve Jobs passed away a crowd gathered at the Union Square San Francisco Apple Store. The end of an era was mourned.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Emerging Tech, Apple
6

Steve Jobs died today. And no one thought it would feel quite like this.

I went to the Apple store at Union Square, San Francisco, having heard that a crowd was gathering. The sidewalk in front of the store was packed with people, and a makeshift candles-and-flowers memorial grew as people stopped to leave gifts and messages for recently departed Steve Jobs.

The crowd was a combination of Apple consumers and members of the Bay Area technology community.

Just after news broke of Jobs' passing, the Twitter offices - only a few blocks away from the Apple store - observed a moment of silence (Square too, as did other Bay Area tech companies).

That's because however you feel about Steve Jobs, many of us found out by way of our feelings that something really ended today. Something bigger than life. For many of us Bay Area tech denizens, that something is tied to what has made us who we are today.

The engineers, the programmers, the artists, the photographers, the hackers, the hardware hackers, the video geeks, the writers and among all of these people all comprise couples, families, lovers, children, friends, passionate coworkers - social and literal architects of the modern internet, all of us. A hell of a lot of us "grew up on" and still use Apple products.

Not just Apple computers, but equally the mad outsider vision of the man behind Apple.

Steve Jobs was a complex character. He was not a polite man. Serious scandals happened under his watch.

But to paint him as either a devil - or a saint - would be inaccurate.

More: Perlow: Jobs made me think differentFarber: He thought different | “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” | CBS News: Wozniak on JobsCNET: A Jobs timelineZDNet Steve Jobs memoriesCNET roundup |Buzz Out Loud Live TechmemeApple statement

At the San Francisco Union Square Apple Store sidewalk gathering tonight, emotions were unexpectedly strong. People were drawn to the store for no reason they could readily explain. They lit candles with their kids and left personal notes on the store window. They heavily considered Apple's Jobs-era role in their own lives.

Local technorati - including some Apple ex-employees - walked from SOMA and came from various parts of The City to pay respects. Standing front of the store, they each mourned a different Steve Jobs, and a different facet of Apple's diamond.

Some were mourning the "Think Different" Steve Jobs. Many grieved for the Stanford speech Steve Jobs. I spoke with the coming-and-going mourners for two hours. Some knew Jobs personally; these rare birds were reflective upon losing the man.

Yet every single person I talked to told me they would not be the person they are today in technology in some way if it weren't for Apple products. Not just the hardware or software, but importantly, the Jobs-era Apple products.

The products made with the arrogance to think that computers should just work.

The era where Apple's vision was to make computers work together.

The madman that disrupted the way the world uses phones.

The era where there was a still grain of wanting to smash the status quo, to welcome the brilliance of outsiders, to upset media distribution chains and wake everyone else the hell up, to make technology attractive to everyone.

There's more. But tonight, everyone grieved for that thing - that tirelessness, and the acute pain of listening to a man self-aware enough to die and tell us to live like him so we feel, and make the most of, our destinies and our fates.

The question repeated in the crowd was, "Who's going to do this now? Who will push and shove technology and worldviews to at least try and make this place a bit better than when they found it?"

The answer is us.

We will.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

6 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: The spontaneous San Francisco Apple Store Memorial for Steve Jobs

    yes, i agree. we definitely will.
    demeck
  • Easier Said Than Done

    The question repeated in the crowd was, ???Who???s going to do this now? Who will push and shove technology and worldviews to at least try and make this place a bit better than when they found it????<br><br>The answer is us.<br><br>We will.<br><br><br> a few will
    TimesForce
  • Blogging is important at a time like this.

    As the answer is "us", the sense of perspective blogging brings will have a big part to play. Here's to the Web.
    peter_erskine@...
  • Why didn't they close all their stores?

    For a 24 hour period? It's not like an event like this in Apple's history occurs all the time.

    It's also not like they can't afford to close for 1 day.

    For shame. :(
    ScorpioBlue
    • You don't know what you are talking about

      @ScorpioBlue
      I worked in Apple Retail as a Mac Genius for nearly three years. The way to honor Steve's legacy is to promote it, not to slow it down, even for a moment. Had any part of Apple closed in a knee-jerk reaction like that, Steve would have been pissed. Not because of the money involved - you are right in saying that Apple could afford a day. Because Steve spent his entire life trying to get enabling technologies into the hands of the end user. His vision was a day in which everyone will be able to access the global knowledge bank (which the Internet is still striving to become) from anywhere at anytime. His driving passion was to make the products which would enable that vision and then to get them out there for people to use.

      Yes, Steve always wanted Apple to be a financial and business success story. If that was the only driving force, though, we would have a much different set of Apple products today. You don't close a corporation when someone dies. Likewise, you don't honor a man by halting the realization of his dream. Even for a day.
      use_what_works_4_U
      • One day wouldn't have hurt them

        And I think you speaking for Steve Jobs is the epitome of arrogance.
        ScorpioBlue