Two letters from Steve Jobs

Two letters from Steve Jobs

David Gelphman, former software engineer at Apple, shares a very personal, very human interaction with the late Steve Jobs:

In March 2010, just a couple of weeks before the iPad was due to be released publicly, I had a reason to contact Steve. A friend of mine was dying of liver disease and I was going to San Francisco to hopefully see and communicate with her while it was still possible. She was a friend from my Adobe days and was very much into technology. I thought it would be a treat for her to see an iPad. And I had one. But until the product was officially released I could not show it to anyone without permission from Apple management. [...]

So I wrote Steve:

Read to the end.

Source: David Gelphman

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 30 comments. Add yours.

PassOutPete says:

Talk about will power. I could've never kept the iPad a secret!

BrianTufo says:

Lol me either. I probably would have blabbed about it as soon as I found out about it.

metllicamilitia says:

Wow, Jobs was a great guy. He was willing to potentially sacrifice the secrecy of Apple to grant a little joy to a dying patient. I wish more people could be like Jobs in that regard.

JXChain says:

Many people may have tried to label SJ as a dictator, but I think there are many more great things that he did, all the way from apple down to individuals in his life, that are being kept as beautiful and warm secrets inside some people's hearts; this is exactly one of them.

shinuyuki says:

I personally don't think Steve was a dictator, but a man with unrelenting standards who often refused to give in and risk the quality of his products to go down. A man who believed and cherished in family enough to risk a highly secret product of Apple just to make someone's last breath just a little more happy. An amazing man to be remembered and respected.

vianar says:

This patient was a kindred spirit, someone who suffered as SJ was to suffer. SJ knew exactly what this person was going through and to give one small gift of joy if even for a moment is worth it. SJ was treating her the way he would have wanted to be treated, with respect and kindness. RIP

thatguykc says:

Great story. I think Steve's humanity is sometimes hidden behind the brilliant mind and products we've become addicted to.

asuperstarr says:

Wow! What a friend. I'm sure she was smiling from heaven. That is totally awesome. Everyone needs a friend like that. A

wHoKares says:

It is nice to see the much softer side of Mr. Steve Jobs. It paints a glimpse into that moment perhaps accompanied be others. Wether it is true or not (about Jobs being a dictator) this shows he still had a softer side. I don't think he was a saint but he definitely was someone that could be looked up to. And as many have mentioned perhaps the world needs more people like him.

anthonyjpv says:

Great story and amazing how people called Steve Jobs compassionate etc.
I'm still curious as to why, with the billions he has accrued over the years, he never gave any money away to charities or had other real form of philanthropic efforts.
...I mean besides the whole gifting us with amazing experiences of his products and forward thinking, of course.
Still, him typing "OK" to someone seems to have brought all these characteristics to someone who may not have had these qualities. His passing has brought a lot of praise of the kind of person he was, but facts can't be avoided. He didn't donate anything!
Bill Gates, Buffet -- they gave it almost ALL up. In responsible and carefully calculated ways.

But sure, this shows he was compassionate to someone who was sick. As he was..

jakeless.123 says:

This is a true insight to parts of the mind of Steve. His love and passion for the products were evident on stage. His love and passion for his people were evident by his willingness to risk the chance of a huge product leak, to bring someone the joy the iPad has brought us all, even if but for a moment. His short, direct response also makes you smile because of the nature and consistency of a typical Steve Jobs email reply. You won't find to many people like that anymore...

chrishull says:

I'm nowhere near the level of importance that SJ was at but so many times I don't see the need to answer emails that should get a response. His willingness to reply to so many people puts me to shame.

wscotchmer says:

SJ was a very interesting man. I found his biography to be quite insightful as well. Things like this article show the compassionate side of the man where as he could be a real ass at times. Based on the very small amount of information that I have read about SJ, I suspect that he was on the autism scale... probably high functioning Aspberger's with touches of OCD. These conditions shaped the man and served him well at times but also crippled him. I love seeing articles like this one which gives a little peek into SJ's private (and compassionate) side.

anthonyjpv says:

btw, what does one write to "OK"
"OmgZ THX DOOODE" or ignore it.

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smartt3ch says:

Dear Steve,
You left us with gifts and innovation. You truly were a professional Crazy One
A fellow crazy one

ademiroglu says:

Such a touching story…

samsin92 says:

Wow! Knowing that apple is big on the secrecy stuff, that was incredible on Jobs' part. Great guy.

AdrianGabeChen says:

for someone so obsessed with control and security it is nice to see a more empathic steve jobs

ame says:

I don't think he was as big of a tool as he gave the impression of being. He was a great businessman, and I think he just liked his privacy and keeping his company's secret's secret.

kenje4090 says:

We dont really know the attitude of Steve Jobs but i think he is a good guy, aside from giving us new devices and technology He also gives to charities. he is just like a country president he wants his people to be happy and enjoy life.

microcarnage says:

I was expecting a longer reply from SJ. I can definitely see how those two letters would mean more than a rambling paragraph saying pretty much the same thing.

elcoholic says:

What a great story, Steve had hart, love and care for all people. That's way Apple is such success. Hope Apple can keep hart and love people. Unlike after Sam Waldon passed and greedy people starting taking over. RIP , Steve

SFCMM_Spuds says:

Nice story. Would like to see more of this kinds of stuff from apple.

Lt_Solorna says:

Steve is thought of a dictator but while he created NeXT OS which Doom was coded on and combined into Apple OS to create OS X, Apple was going down. He came back and had to be a little strict to bring the company back. I hope to see more letters like this that do show his compassionate side that alot of people never got to see and should see.