As the world mourns the passing of Steve Jobs, I’m reminded of my brief experience with him.
In 2007, one of the posts I had written on the iPhone Supply Chain became quite popular and remains one of my most visited articles – 4 years later. Well, out of impulse, my brother wrote Steve Jobs the following:
Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 8:59 PM
I hope this finds you in good health. Here is my brother’s (Pete Abilla) article about the iPhone on his blog. Interesting reading.
My young brother Pete is a University of Chicago PhD (write that dissertation already) Graduate in Operations Research. Check him out.
While my brother’s intentions were good and sincere, I was a bit embarrased. I’m not one to seek out notoriety or attention. I thanked my brother and didn’t think much of it after that. After all, Steve Jobs is incredibly popular and probably receives thousands of emails daily.
Then, my brother received an actual response from Apple:
Thanks for sending the iPhone Supply Chain article to the attention of Steve Jobs and mentioning your brother Pete.
I will reach out to him.
Shortly after Apple wrote my brother, they wrote me, asking for my resume:
From: Gary Rockow
Subject: Apple, Inc.
Your brother Harry sent an e-mail to Steve Jobs regarding an iPhone Supply Chain Article you wrote in your blog.
Can you send me a copy of your resume? We’re very much looking forward to speaking with supply chain thought leaders like you.
Within the span of 2 days, my brother wrote Steve Jobs, then Steve Jobs probably forwarded the email to Gary Rockow, and then I was contacted by Gary. I’d think people at the level of Steve Jobs would have just ignored and deleted my brother’s email, but not Steve. He was very human and took the time to probably read my article and asked Gary Rockow to contact me after what he read.
Steve Jobs and Quality
Steve is known for his relentless pursuit of human centered design. What is less known about him is his deep respect and interest in Quality. In fact, he had a deep respect for Joseph Juran and his approach toward quality.
In a television tribute to Joseph Juran entitled “AN IMMIGRANT’S GIFT The Life of Quality Pioneer, Joseph M. Juran“, several well known business leaders were interviewed and asked to share their thoughts on Joseph Juran. Among those interviewed in the article is Steve Jobs. This is what he said:
STEVE JOBS: Joe Juran found his great subject early in life, and he pursued it over decades. And he’s made a deep, deep, deep contribution that will last well beyond his physical years.
And later, he said:
STEVE JOBS: There is clearly something in his heart that’s propelling him. His pocketbook’s not what’s propelling him. His heart is propelling him.
Steve, You Will Be Missed
Thanks for all the inspiration. You’ll be missed Steve.