Late one Thursday night 12 years ago, Steve Jobs sent himself an email.
It starts off: “I grow little of the food I eat, and of the little I do grow
I did not breed or perfect the seeds.”
It goes on to catalog his sense of wonder at the development by others of music, language, laws and technology. In just 132 words he conveys deep gratitude and connection.
The letter was just published on a new web site, stevejobsarchive.com, that collects writings and interviews that reflect the values of the co-founder of Apple.
In the decade since his death, the halo around Jobs as an icon of business, design and leadership has continued to grow.
It’s gotten so large that it’s hard at times to imagine him as a real person.
It helps humanize him to see he stayed up late one night to write about his admiration for his “species, living and dead.”
It makes it more real somehow to see the date Sept. 2, 2010, a time stamp of 11:08 p.m. and an indication that it was “Sent from my iPad.”
And then there is the crazy fact that the most significant technologist of our era couldn’t find a better way of saving a thought than to email it to himself.
There ought to be an app for that.
Jobs died a year later on Oct. 5, 2011.
The email in its entirety:
I grow little of the food I eat, and of the little I do grow
I did not breed or perfect the seeds.
I do not make any of my own clothing.
I speak a language I did not invent or refine.
I did not discover the mathematics I use.
I am protected by freedoms and laws I did not conceive
of or legislate, and do not enforce or adjudicate.
I am moved by music I did not create myself.
When I needed medical attention, I was helpless
to help myself survive.
I did not invent the transistor, the microprocessor,
object oriented programming, or most of the technology
I work with.
I love and admire my species, living and dead, and am
totally dependent on them for my life and well being.