The Big Opt Out: Steve Jobs’ Email From The Other Side

Moses Avalon

I was not really  affected by the death of Mr. Steve Jobs until the other day when I got an email from him– about a week after he passed.  Well, clearly it could not have been from him; he’s in an important meeting right now, I’m sure. But rather someone at Apple cleaning up his affairs.

As many might know, Steve did not believe in putting many layers between him and his customers. For several years well into his world wide fame, anyone could email him at And for about six years now that addy and another that led to his inbox have been on my mailing list along with the other 14,000 (+/-) of you all.

It seems he’s carrying this policy of staying in touch, even in the after life.

When I heard that Steve had passed, I had mixed feelings, but they all sort of just washed over me. Many of my favorite musicians have died in the past few years and I mourned them deeply,  so, the passing of the guy who makes my mobile phone did not really have a significant impact.

Then I got his opt-out notice.

Anyone can opt-out of my mailing list at any time. But apparently Steve had not. He never made his presence known to me, or indicated with a reply that he was reading my missives (sometimes critical of Apple) but apparently he was there, looking over my shoulder for several years.

Now, an executive secretary is probably retiring that addy and cleaning out his virtual desk.  I know that this is the reality, but in my fantasy I’d like to think that it is Steve himself saying goodbye to everyone in some weird netherworld way.

I’m not alone. As Apple stock plummets, iPhone sales dip and the new OS littered with issues, many are starting to wonder if the success of the company had less to do with its specific proprietary technology and more to do with Steve’s mojo.

Time will tell,

So, to Steve I want to finally say, safe journey Bodhisattva. And to the rest of us still stuck here on this Earth I’d like to say this:

Show someone who takes an interest in your work how much you appreciate them. Do it today. Some day it will be too late and as Joanie once wrote, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.


11 responses to “The Big Opt Out: Steve Jobs’ Email From The Other Side”

  1. Bob Kaminsky says:

    Nice words and nice thoughts. Who knew you were a Zen-Judist?

  2. jason Miles says:

    When ever I have been complimented or given notice-I always show my appreciation-getting recognition for ones work is the highest compliment and should never be taken for granted

  3. M. Bennett says:

    Bodhisattva? I know you’re moved, but really! Not appropriate. He put off reaching Nirvana for the benefit of all sentient beings? Buddha-like? I think not. Incredibly talented, yes. A genius, yes. But an infinitely compassionate saint without ego, no.

    p.s. Joni not Joanie. 😉

  4. JJ says:

    “as Joanie once wrote”

    Actually, it’s Joni. But nobody’s worried about spell-check on the other side. At leest I shure hop note.

  5. CJ Watson says:

    @ M. Bennett: Really? Is this really the first time you’ve read Mr. Avalon’s work? If not, then you should know that, regardless of what subject he’s covering, what stance he’s taking and what infrastructure is being used for sub-reference or analogy, he always, ALWAYS has a sense of humor about it. Often, this involves a carefully calculated amount of exaggeration, either to denote inrony or, in this case, to make it clear that he’s not going soft on us. In this case, the analogy accomplishes a bit of both; giving a fond (but not gushy) send off while acknowledging the human frailties and foibles of the subject. Do me a favor: Next time you read something, put down your club and go out of the cave first.

  6. Nice story.
    Sometimes I think that most of the worlds Buddhists had Bar Mitzvahs in their past.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Your nuanced, subtle and not “join the crowd” words really struck home. Nobody’s saying, but music people have had mixed feelings too.

    When he died, two comments were made to me, both different from what was being said out on the street, or in Forbes Magazine. Not to be mean spirited considering how many people “loved” Jobs, but reality can be different.

    The first email was from a guy (a computer guru/genius) who has lived outside the US (NZ) for about ten years. Part of his comment went like this, and I had to feel, as I read it, he’s kinda right:

    “Steven convinced Sculley to come (from Pepsi) with the question “Are you going to be happy selling sugar water to kids all your life?” I argue that SJ sold the tekky equivalent to kids (of all ages). Has his stuff improved human interaction as much as it has wasted valuable human lifetime weeks/months/years?”

    That comment has merit, but it will be 50 years before we truly see how much merit. Just like television has been direly reevaluated over the last few decades (Starting roughly about when Bruce S. wrote “57 Channels and Nothing On), the use of electronics as “prosthetics” to be carried around, to make ones life “better” is still up for review. And, if that sounds reactionary, it’s not meant to. (cf. Dr. Andrew Weil in Time Magazine? this week, “modern people, too much input, not enough living.”)

    The second comment is…

    “Wasn’t it Steve Jobs who had the best DRM in the business that both Microsoft and Sony wanted to license in order to protect the music makers? Didn’t he sign up all the labels for his iTunes with the promise of DRM, didn’t he suddenly (when he saw that the money he was making was coming mostly for the sale of his hardware, not our music), to increase his profits mightly, dump DRM, wish it away with the snap of two fingers and a bogus “open letter” to the record companies and artists? Isn’t it true that since that DRM decision, instead of 3-4%, now 90+% of all the music on Steve Jobs’ hardware in the US (iPhones, iPods) is pirated? (Yes.) Nuff said about him.”

    Not to be the Grinch who stole the beauty of the Jobs/Apple story. but he was also a hard guy who was driven to polish other peoples’ clunkier interfaced technology (PARC derived Apple interface, Walkman/Sony/Panasonic derived iPod, and more), polish it and make it voguish, therefore with classic emotional marketing, irresistible to use, whether you needed it or not (or “before you knew you needed it” as he always said). But the man was not friendly on the whole and was rough on most people and cheated his partner Woz on their very first significant partnership deal with Atari – $5K (Woz: “I wish he just could have been honest with me.”) Wozniak mentions he was asked by Walter Isaacson to talk about Steve for his the new best-selling biography. I mean when WOZ! the co-founder of Apple was asked to talk about Jobs in the definitive book, Woz, who may have known him better than anyone (he wasn’t married to) turned down the offer saying, I didn’t want to talk about Steve. I was afraid he wouldn’t want what I would say.

    So, I’m ambivalent about the guy, the harm to the direction (detour, really) he caused the music business to take, is the thing that really burns when I think about him. Nobody will believe this now, but… DRM will return, (has too, it’s a “for profit” capitalistic society (after the IP have made enough money. because, music has value, believe it or not) and the new DRM won’t look like what you think, but it will work smoothly (as the Apple DRM did, once) and protect feature films, newspapers (already happening), TV and, finally, the now abused and confused (and, by Steve Jobs) refused and damaged, music business. So, RIP Steve, you did what you had to do.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      DRM never really went away, except for EMI on iTunes, and that will change soon.

      Yes, I too have mixed feeling about SJ. I don’t think we “saved” the music business. That’s just nonsense. But I do love his toys. They make my life cooler. So there’s that to deal with.

  8. martin thomas says:

    SJ the modern day Thomas Edison? It sounds more and more like it. I wonder what Nikolai Tesla would say in TE’s biography.

    I really like reading your work, Mo. whether I agree or not it makes me feel a little(or a lot) more connected so far away from LA. I enjoy reading your readers’ comments too.
    Write on.

  9. Kat Parsons says:

    I liked reading this. Thanks Moses.

  10. “When I heard that Steve had passed, I had mixed feelings, but they all sort of just washed over me.” While I do not cry like the apple fan boys, I did mourn because he is a great businessmen who advanced technology for the better by making it easily accessible to the mass – and adding social status to it the same time. (Think iphone as status symbol)

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