A moment in the life of Steve Jobs…

It was January 6th, 2004. Jen and I had just finished watching an enthusiastic Steve Jobs give the keynote address at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco. We meandered about for a few minutes, trying to decide what to do next. Should we get lunch? Fight the crowds next door at the expo? Wander around the city? After a short debate, we decided to take on the expo, and then get lunch.

Due to our dilly-dallying, the doors were already opened when we arrived, and the crowd had been ushered into the expo. Great! No need for us to wait in line.

We entered near the Apple booth, which, as usual, was jam packed with attendees, eager to try out the latest and greatest from their favorite tech company. As we neared the booth, we noticed a small group of people entering behind us. As we turned, we were amazed to see Steve Jobs and John Mayer (who had joined Steve onstage to introduce GarageBand at the Keynote), along with a small group of reporters and Apple employees. Without much fanfare, they made their way to the Apple booth. We, of course, followed closely. After all, that's the direction we were heading anyway.

Steve, who rather comically wore an exhibitor badge, pointed out this and that to John Mayer, who nodded with interest. I snapped some photos. After a few moments, a woman walked up to Steve, glanced at his badge and said… "So, I'm having a problem with iPhoto. I can't get it to do this or that, and blah, blah, blah." Steve stopped in his tracks and listened to her question. Then, without hesitation, he gracefully snagged the arm of a nearby Apple booth worker and said "So and so will be glad to help you with that."

I don't know if anyone else heard this brief exchange, but it's one I will never forget it.  The woman was completely oblivious to the fact that he was one of the world's greatest technology visionaries.  Yet, he wasn't too important to stop and listen to her.  To that woman, he wasn't Steve Jobs.  He was a guy from Apple.  That he was, and I couldn't help smiling.

Steve Jobs smiles slightly, as he looks over the Apple exhibitor booth at Macworld 2004.
(Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple, is to Steve's right).