I took this Apple Store Philadelphia photo at 10:20 PM Tuesday night. It was not the place to commiserate over the loss of Steve Jobs. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Well, OK, a security guard. A guard. That’s all. Not a single item lay at the store’s entrance or was slipped underneath (maybe the guard took them all for safe keeping, but he didn’t look too moved by Jobs’ death). We’re not in San Francisco, Toto. Yes there are a lot of digital media and computer workers in the city. However, we don’t have the same sort of community one would find in places like Boston or the Research Triangle of NC. That’s OK, though. A person does not have to live in an industry-capital of their line of work.
I tried to write a note and slip it under the door, but I didn’t have a pen. Candle? That was a silly idea: the wind was too strong. There was no one to talk to there. A couple walked by as I stopped, and I asked if they’d heard that Steve Jobs died (they were talking about the store). They nodded. I smiled, and mentioned I’d worked in the tech/web field and Apple was a big part of my life for over 30 years. They smiled back and kept walking. Was the commiserating at the Comcast building, the technology hub in Center City? That wouldn’t be quite appropriate, but in any case I walked by the sky-scraper, as it’s a block from my office and on the way home.
It was fantastic being in Cambridge, MA working for delphi.com in 1999, just 5 blocks down the street from MIT and with a CEO sitting 15 feet from me who started one of the first three online companies/communities (Dan Bruns , Founder of Delphi Internet Services, 1993). It is not fame or the lime-light I seek. It’s the pleasure of working with super smart, super driven, and super savvy digital media practitioners. They’re here in Philadelphia, but there presence is simply not as concentrated, and there voice not as loud, in light of other very big sectors.
Perhaps I was not reading the “social signals” carefully enough tonight– before heading back from work after 10PM I didn’t look on Twitter or Google+ to see what friends in the city were doing. Steve, God you made a lot of noise while you were alive. I suspect leaving us after so much hard work at age 56, leaving us the day after everyone was beating the drums for months over the previous day’s press conference for the new iPhone: Leaving us now will seal your fate as a super-legend. We’ll be talking and tweeting loudly about you all over Philadelphia in the coming days and months.