During my life I have had the fortune to be in significant places at a time of great events. Quite by chance. Almost 22 years ago I was in Berlin on the day the Wall fell and the citizens of Communist East Germany came streaming over to the West in their hundreds of thousands. It was the most inspiring day of my life, certainly the one that stands out above all others, and one I will never forget¹.
Today, sadly and in a completely different context, I was at Apple’s Campus in Cupertino when news came through that Steve Jobs had died. Although the launch of the iPhone 4S was what brought me to California, the impromptu visit to Cupertino today was pure chance. I never met Steve Jobs, of course, but I read a great deal about him and I listened to many of his speeches and shared his enthusiasm. I have no doubt Apple will go on to even greater things without his guidance, but this is a sad day for Apple and all of us.
¹ On the day the Berlin Wall fell, in 1989, I bought a souvenir. It wasn’t a chunk of the Wall, but a silver Montblanc fountain pen which cost a heft 750 Marks. Four years later, the architect of perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev, came with his wife to my London office to dine with us and some leading British politicians. I asked him to sign our visitors’ book with the very pen I had bought to commemorate the events of 9 November, 1989. It is now one of my most cherished possessions.