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Local Professor Remembers Steve Jobs

Throughout the entire world, people are talking about the death of Apple c0-founder Steve Jobs. A computer technology professor at Rice met Jobs three decades ago, before Apple became what it is today.


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Back in 1980, Scott Cutler was the computer guy for General Electric. He remembers sitting on a panel of industry experts that featured both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

“Steve was there representing Apple as a computer maker. Bill was definitely there as a software provider for the industry and I was there as one of the major users of this technology.”

Back then Bill Gates and Steve Jobs weren’t the household names they are today, but Cutler says they were still big names in the emerging computer industry.

Cutler remembers Jobs’ distinct personality:

“Brash. Arrogant. There were a number of things in there that he was. He had a definite opinion. He knew his way. He was strong in his conviction and those are things that ended up being incredibly good for Apple.”

Over the years, Cutler says he attended more conferences that Jobs also attended, but he never again sat on a panel with him. He says Jobs will be remembered as a pioneer, someone who changed society. I asked him what he meant by that.  Cutler says besides the obvious things, like the iPAD and iPHONE — Jobs is the one who made USB a commonly used interface.

“He created the ecosystem that allowed it to come to life because it had been floundering on the PC side of the world for awhile, because no one was willing to bite the bullet, cause they didn’t think the rest of the ecosystem existed.”

Professor Cutler says he’s not the type of person to worship someone famous, whether it is an athlete or the founder of a large company. But he says, he was definitely in awe of Steve Jobs.  

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