The death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had a profound effect on many. And Apple stores around the world were the sites of simultaneous outpourings of grief and appreciation through the form of thousands of sticky notes with heartfelt inscriptions.
Philipp Stauffer, a Silicon Valley Internet and Technology Executive, saw all this as he walked by the Apple store in Palo Alto, California, the town that Jobs called home. Stauffer began to photograph the makeshift memorial, and he turned the results into iiii n 4s (1,1111 notes for Steve), a Blurb ebook and printed book. The title references the importance of Apple’s idevices, including the iPhone 4S, announced a day before Jobs passed away.
Profits from the sales of the printed book and the ebook will go to charity. We talked to Stauffer about the charities, and about how he came to make his book.
Blurb: Tell us about the charities that will benefit from the sales of the book.
Philipp: College Track, the first charity, was co-founded by Laurene Powell Jobs. It’s a catalyst for change for under-resourced high school students who are motivated to earn a college degree. The second charity, The V Foundation for Cancer Research, is an incredible organization dedicated to finding cures for cancer. It was established by Jim Valvano in 1993 a few weeks before he passed away.
Blurb: How did this idea come to you?
Philipp: I walked by the Apple store in Palo Alto several times during the past few weeks and the number and diversity of notes just kept growing. The message in all this is profound, and sets a high benchmark for entrepreneurs, designers, innovators and CEOs, and any other individuals who aspire to change the world. The idea came over time, as I felt lucky to be able to see this firsthand and I wanted to make sure that this touching event was captured and shared to everyone who could not be in Palo Alto to see it. I am also very sensitive to cancer as I lived through the loss of a loved one a few months back.
Blurb: Did you photograph the memorial with an iPhone?
Philipp: No, I thought that my iPhone would suffer too much to take pictures of her father’s memorial.
Blurb: What struck you the most about the evolving memorial in Palo Alto?
Philipp: It was not only the notes but also the overall atmosphere around the store during the days since Steve passed. People were discussing stories and memories. Many notes referred to Steve’s speech at Stanford back in 2005. The diversity of contributors truly brought our world together. I saw evidence that all major religions, all continents, dozens of languages, nations and origins, very young kids to the elderly alike were sharing one window to allow this memorial to come alive. Everybody side by side with one mission. If we all were more like that, all the time, the world would be a better place.
Blurb: Is there a particular note that you think characterizes the impact that Steve Jobs had on the world?
Philipp: There are a few favorites (and some are not even in the book, as I picked them randomly in order to give a genuine snapshot of the situation), but I can’t choose one in particular. I think the important point is the power of the message that you start to understand as you look at the store from afar and you see tens of thousands of notes that hold heartfelt thoughts, memories and wishes. As you zoom in and see individual notes you understand the depth of appreciation, change and inspiration Steve has given to many, including me. It’s less about all the great Apple products and more about what Steve meant as a person.
Blurb: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Philipp: I hope that this book will find its way to many desks and tablets as it will help to spread the moment, make people think, and hopefully keep them “hungry and foolish,” to quote Jobs himself. But most importantly, I hope it will help College Track and The V Foundation for Cancer Research to get additional funds to keep changing the world for the better.