“Steve Jobs. The Godfather. A hero of mine because of you….”

19 Oct 2011 in Passion

Collin Yarbrough has been my roommate and my main man at Clarkson University since freshman year. Almost straight away, he introduced me to the Steve Jobs keynotes (or, “Stevenotes) and made each one a scheduled, required viewing in Cubley Hall 108. In no time, I was hooked.

Today, he found an email that I sent to him on June 4, 2010 and forwarded it to me. At the time, I had recently returned home from studying abroad in Singapore. In fact, I had just come home from volunteering at TechCrunch Disrupt in NYC. Collin was on a co-op (8 month long internship) with Johnson&Johnson.

I was thinking about how inspired I was by technology, and reminiscing back to where that inspiration initially came from. Reading this email again, just now, reminded me of how much Steve Jobs influenced my roommate – and in turn, how much my roommate sparked my own imagination with regard to technology. The email is below.

R.I.P. Steve… heroes are remembered, but legends never die. Steve Jobs was both.


From: Collin Yarbrough <yarbrocr@clarkson.edu>
Date: Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 1:35 PM
Subject: Fwd: Steve Jobs. The Godfather. A hero of mine because of you….
To: John Exley <exleyja@gmail.com>


Look at what I unearthed in my inbox…

Collin Yarbrough, LEED Green Associate
Clarkson University 2011
Engineering & Management

Begin forwarded message:

From: “John A Exley” <exleyja@clarkson.edu>
Subject: Steve Jobs. The Godfather. A hero of mine because of you….
Date: June 4, 2010 1:44:38 AM EDT
To: “Collin R Yarbrough” <yarbrocr@clarkson.edu>

C -

Just got to thinking. Hear the buzz coming from the recent D8 event?


Ignore the blabbering Zuckerberg and check out the videos to the right, where Steve Jobs answers a couple questions. He blows me away. Unbelievable this guy.

Reminiscing. At like 9 years old, I “fell in love with” law. Wanted to become a lawyer and start my own law firm. Didn’t realize “starting a law firm” was “starting a business” and that both are defined as “entrepreneurship”. How clueless was I? I think I was 18 before I knew exactly what the word “entrepreneur” was. Nevertheless, I loved everything about starting and building businesses from what I researched.

First day on campus, discovered my love for the CEO club. Joined the very first day after hearing Matt Ruby speak. Realized how much I loved “business” not that long after.

Then, in a funny way, YOU “introduced” me to Steve Jobs. To Apple. To Jobs’ keynotes. To technology. You were a developer, web designer, entrepreneur, and unapologetic Apple fanboy before you even got to college. Because of you, just 2 years later, technology and startups have become my passion, what I read about every single day, and what I aim to be involved with for my career.

Really crazy how things happen huh. Just thought to write ya. Hope you’re enjoying J&J, meeting cool people (girls especially!), [*UPDATE: series of insults removed...] and having a blast in New Jersey.

I really hope I get to see you before I return to Clarkson…whenever that might be.

I love ya man…always will. Thanks for the inspiration back in the day, and the continuous reminders of how far I still need to go when it comes to being disciplined. You’re the man C.

Much love,


John Exley
Blogger | Host, Emerging Leader Webinars – Nextvoice247
Co-Founder – Sustainable Synergy
Clarkson University 2011
Interdisciplinary Engineering & Management

National University of Singapore
+65 9858 1161

Follow me on http://twitter.com/JohnExley

Personal website http://johnexleyonline.com/


I believe God puts people in our lives for a reason. C, thank you for the inspiration. I got your back for life.