You know Steve used to say me, “Hey Jony, here’s a dopey idea.” And sometimes they were. Really dopey. Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room. And they left us both completely silent. Bold, crazy, magnificent ideas. Or quiet, simple ones, which in their subtlety, their detail, they were utterly profound. And just as Steve loved ideas, and loved making stuff, he treated the process of creativity with a rare and a wonderful reverence. You see I think he, better than anyone, understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts. So easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.
You know, I loved the way that he listened so intently. I loved his perception. His remarkable sensitivity. And his surgically precise opinions. I really believe there was a beauty in how singular, how key his insight was. Even though sometimes it could sting. As I’m sure many of you know, Steve didn’t confine his sense of excellence to making products. You know when we traveled together, we’d check in, and I’d go up to my room, and I’d leave my bags very neatly by the door. And I wouldn’t unpack. And I would go and sit on the bed. I would go and sit on the bed next to the phone, and I would wait for the inevitable phone call. “Hey Jony this hotel sucks let’s go.”
He used to joke that the lunatics had taken over the asylum as we shared a giddy excitement as we spent months and months working on a part of a product that nobody would see, not with their eyes. But we did it because we believed it was right, because we cared. He believed there was a gravity, a sense of civic responsibility, to care way beyond any sort of functional imperative. Now where the work hopefully appeared inevitable, appeared simple, appeared easy, it really cost. It cost all of us, didn’t it. But you know what it cost him most. He worried most. He cared the most deeply. He constantly questioned, is this good enough? Is this right? And despite all his successes, all his achievements, he never presumed, he never assumed that we would get there in the end. When the ideas didn’t come, and when the prototypes failed, it was with great intent, with faith, he decided to believe, we would eventually make something great.
But the joy of getting there. I loved his enthusiasm. His simple delight. Often I think mixed with relief. But that yeah we got there, we got there in the end, and it was good. You can see his smile, can’t you? The celebration of making something great for everybody. Enjoying the defeat of cynicism. The rejection of reason. The rejection of being told a hundred times, “You can’t do that.” So his I think was a victory for beauty, for purity, and as he would say, for givin’ a damn.
He was my closest and my most loyal friend. We worked together for nearly fifteen years and he still laughed at the way I said aluminium. For the past two weeks you know we’ve all been struggling to find ways to say goodbye. This morning, I simply want to end by saying, “Thank you, Steve.” Thank you for your remarkable vision, which has united and inspired this remarkable group of people. For all that we have learnt from you and for all that we have learnt from each other. Thank you, Steve.