The newsroom of the my college newspaper was dominated by little Apple Macintosh computers, all in a row. That's me, large and in charge with the flowing mane in the bottom right corner of the picture.
At the time, newspapers editors loved and loathed the power the cutting-edge little Mac computer held.
Instead of leaving the petty job of gluing together headlines and stories on a newspaper page like a puzzle to a union typesetter, an editor could do the job on a computer screen. It was tedious work but powerful: One could play endlessly with headline content or size and cut copy with reason and logic instead of just loping off the end of a story at the nearest period.
This power came packaged in an Apple Macintosh computer with Quark Xpress software, and “pagination” was transforming the newspaper industry when I was editor in chief of my college newspaper. For all the complaints I heap on my alma mater, St. Cloud State’s mass communications department did the right thing by investing in Macintosh computers in 1988, just four years after their introduction by little Apple Computer company created by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Apple IIc Plus = $1,100
Those little machines with the 9-inch monitors gave tremendous desktop publishing power to copy editors and made the role of the human typesetter obsolete. I might have gotten my first post-college job as a reporter without that Mac experience, but I never would have landed the job as newspaper copy editor four years later without it. Oh, how I loved those enormous G3 monitors!
Even today, I am obsessed with the total design control afforded by Quark Xpress, now loaded on my PC. My headlines are exactly 1 pica above the story, I can save a whole paragraph of copy by deleting a single word in six other paragraphs, and I can create a drop letter in two clicks.
Apple iBook = $1,599
I left newspapers in 1997 to become a marketing executive. When other non-creatives were using PCs in the late ’90s, I stubbornly hung onto my Macintosh computer. For a while, I had two computers — a PC desktop and one of those pretty blue iBook laptops — until finally I was lured in about 2002 to the cheaper, more universally compatible world built by Bill Gates.
iPod Shuffle = $79
Still, Apple was changing the world with a little novelty called the iPod. I resisted that innovation until 2007 when my parents decided their runner daughter needed an iPod shuffle as a Christmas present. Now, I rarely hit the streets without my trusty iPod and its iTunes library of Natasha Bedingfield, Queen and the soundtrack from “Mama Mia” (yeah, I probably oughta replace that Abba stuff with something else).
My Beloved just got an iPhone, and I can see one replacing my Droid any day. And we’ve already been shopping for an iPad, impressed with all it brags of doing.
Apple CEO’s value = Priceless
Apple products have been inextricably influencing my life in one way or another for 25 years. The announcement yesterday of Steve Jobs’ departure from the CEO role with Apple reminds me how his vision has affected my career, my hobbies and my relationships.
How much value can one assign to a man like Steve Jobs whose work has affected the lives of so many people?
I read the other day that federal regulators were drawing up new rules regarding CEO pay in an effort to thwart financial abuses uncovered in the 2008 economic crash. One of those rules requires the disclosure of the ratio between the average pay of all employees and that of the CEO. Some CEOs are paid 300 times as much as their average employee, and some people think that’s unfair.
To be sure, not all egomanaical CEOs deserve that kind of ridiculous salary. In fact, some greedy racketeers who climbed to a position of power because they were lucky enough to rub elbows with the right people don’t deserve to be paid twice the salary of the average employee let alone 300 times.
How much money have I earned because of Steve Jobs? How many hours of enjoyment has the work of his company brought me?
Having worked for one CEO who cashed in her company stock and sent the company into a spiral that ended in bankruptcy and for another CEO who lamented his pay cut to $80,000 a year as “not worth coming into work for” while he was paying his employees weeks late, I idolize a CEO like Steve Jobs.
You know what Steve Jobs’ CEO salary was? He probably got a salary when he was leading Apple in the ’80s, but since 1998, Steve Jobs has been paid $1 a year.
Of course, he owns billions in Apple and Disney stock (according to the Associated Press, he got the Disney stock when he sold Pixar Animation Studios to Disney in 2006), but Steve Jobs deserves every cent.