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Tribute to Steve Jobs at BK Publication Board Last Week

Max Dunn Posted by Max Dunn, Digital-Editorial Intern, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Tribute to Steve Jobs at BK Publication Board Last Week

Berrett-Koehler has been partnering with the iBookstore team at Apple since the iPad was announced in January 1984. My relationship with Apple goes back to 1980, when I started selling VisiCalc (the original Excel spreadsheet) on Apple II computers in the financial district of San Francisco to flabbergasted investment bankers and Lawrence Livermore scientists. They couldn't believe such a scrappy little plastic machine could do the number-crunching work of mainframes, and they could have one on their own desks that did not depend on their IT departments.

Here is the email I sent to our friends at the iBookstore last Thursday after Steve Jobs died:

Subject: A Tribute to Steve Jobs Today at Berrett-Koehler Publishers

To our friends at iBookstore and iTunes,

We had a tribute to Steve Jobs this morning at our publication board meeting of the editorial, marketing, and production staff members, which included a moment of silence.

I shared two aspects of Steve’s business leadership that exemplify the strong mission match with Berrett-Koehler: 1) his fearlessness in challenging conventional thinking and willingness to open up new space, no matter how crazy it sounded to the status quo; and 2) his unfailing allegiance to the Apple development community as an extension of company itself. Our own mission is to create a world that works for all by introducing new ideas that challenge conventional thinking, and we consider BK staff members as only one link of our BK community stakeholder chain that include authors, editors, designers, producers, printers, digital specialists, distributors, other partners, and of course—readers, aka lifelong learners.

In honor of Steve, today I wore my “Macintosh Development Team” logo shirt that the Apple team gave me at the NCC show in Las Vegas the night the first Mac was introduced in early 1984 (photo taken on my iPod Touch showing our BK books in the iBookstore on my iPad with our BK library behind me).

At our publication board meeting (when we decide which books to publish) today, I read an extended version of my Facebook post from last night, and then others told Steve and Apple stories that changed their lives as well:

ODE TO STEVE: Steve Jobs was the Leonardo da Vinci renaissance genius of his age, an unparalleled combination of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Watson, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Walt Disney; he was the ultimate visionary and innovator. He will go down in history as the one who changed the face of four industries:
1) computers (desktop, laptop, handheld, wearable)
2) music
3) film (Pixar), and
4) telecommunications.
And he was well on his way to transforming a 5th industry as well: book publishing. His iBookstore team is leading the charge on re-imagining the reading and learning experience through enhanced media and interaction. We met at the Apple celebration dinner the night the first Mac was introduced at NCC in Las Vegas in 1984. It changed my life. I'll miss you, Steve. Your Think Different spirit lives on.

We look forward to breaking down more conventional doors together with the iBookstore and iTunes teams in the months and years to come.



David Marshall
Vice President Editorial and Digital
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
235 Montgomery Street, Suite 650
San Francisco, California 94104
[email protected]


P.S. - Talking to Your Book - The day before Steve died last week, Apple announced the iPhone 4S. This was a fitting last gem from the master of customer delight. Most people did not realize how transformative this version could become until the reviews starting rolling out this week. Read my 10-12-11 post about how the new SIRI personal assistant may transform the e-reading experience in the years to come.