Steve Jobs Steve Jobs 8.9分

印象最深的几点

Young Pandawan
2018-01-05 08:11:01

1. Design-aware Jobs is not a designer by training (1 or 2 typography classes do not count) or profession, but he is extremely design-aware --- and always uncompromising in his pursuit of purity and intuitiveness, even often against "common pragmatism". I doubt Steve Jobs ever played with any design software / toolkit himself, but his design-awareness certainly became part of Apple's DNA. Anyone who has ever played with an Apple product or been to an Apple store could see his vision beautifully manifested.

As I listened to his design philosophy and especially his experience with Jonathan Ive (Apple's chief design officer), I came to remember the days when I aspired to be a graphic/web designer. An old dream that I outgrew because of 1) my disappointment in where this industry is going (esp. with ugly businesses like 99design) 2) a sad observation that many people do not appreciate great design / give designers credit. A former career as

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1. Design-aware Jobs is not a designer by training (1 or 2 typography classes do not count) or profession, but he is extremely design-aware --- and always uncompromising in his pursuit of purity and intuitiveness, even often against "common pragmatism". I doubt Steve Jobs ever played with any design software / toolkit himself, but his design-awareness certainly became part of Apple's DNA. Anyone who has ever played with an Apple product or been to an Apple store could see his vision beautifully manifested.

As I listened to his design philosophy and especially his experience with Jonathan Ive (Apple's chief design officer), I came to remember the days when I aspired to be a graphic/web designer. An old dream that I outgrew because of 1) my disappointment in where this industry is going (esp. with ugly businesses like 99design) 2) a sad observation that many people do not appreciate great design / give designers credit. A former career aspiration thus was relegated to a mere hobby; I used to spend 10+ hours a day studying web layouts, but now I often have to prioritize over it. I outgrew this old passion, but it left a portfolio, a memory, and a legacy.

As I grappled with the question as to how to make sense and use of this legacy, I find it extremely inspirational how design translated itself into Jobs' career. It was not a literal translation; he was not a designer. But that is the way it is: often our education and skills do not direct our lives in the most linear and straight-forward fashion, and they need not to. The popular view that "if what you learn does not become your job then it is useless" is extremely short-sighted and limiting. An anecdote: A history-major friend of mine complaint about required statistics classes to me because he thought "he would never use T-distribution in his life". Although I never told him about it, I think he would greatly benefit from the knowledge that causation does not equal casuality --- a mistake commonly made by historians.

Instead, one ought to connect the dots, as Jobs himself said. Or as Edward O.Wilsen puts it:

There is only one way to unite the great branches of learning and end the culture wars. It is to view the boundary between the scientific and literary cultures not as a territorial line but as a broad and mostly unexplored terrain awaiting cooperative entry from both sides. The misunderstandings arise from ignorance of the terrain, not from a fundamental difference in mentality.

Jobs himself was certainly a pioneer in the uncharted terrain between design, engineering and business. As a former designer myself, I could vouch that the practice of design is an excellent training in color sensitivity, organization skills and presentation. Even in the more analytical aspects of my study/career, it gives me an upper hand; people have come to trust me in creating powerful slide decks, telling visually appealing stories from data, or even something as simple as spreadsheet modeling layout. Pragmatic affairs set aside, the days I spent on design were among the most intellectually engaged, creative and joyful days of my life, the worth of which is far beyond the measure of money. I will always be proud of them, and I will always be the first to leap to defend the art of design --- should any short-sighted ignoramus claim it's useless.

2. The man himself Extremely flawed, immature by common standard, vengeful, bordering on childish and a little bit sociopath-like. I find myself disagreeing with him from time to time, sometimes even appalled by him. Did Jobs ever learn to improve? I would like to think he did, as he later listened to the better advice of his colleagues on various product decisions. Was he self-conscious (in the negative sense) of his foibles? Was he ever intent on correcting any of them, like we mere mortals often strive to patch up character flaws? No. Many of these very foibles could have broken a man. Although they did not break him (apart from souring relationships), it would be mistaken to think they made him, and therefore are the secret sauce of his success. It's more likely you end up becoming a giant asshole than the next Steve Jobs. (It is also a disgrace to this book. Instead of deriving any cheap cookie-cutter success formula from Steve's life story, I think Walter Isaacson just wanted us to know him and understand him better. As readers we ought to honor his efforts. )

Then inevitably the next question becomes: Are these foibles simply the flip side of his merits? Remember, there are plenty of people who are driven and motivated without being obsessive, perfectionist assholes! How to reconcile this without buying into facile explanations, such as "geniuses are always weird"? Jonathan Ive also struggled with this question; he couldn't figure out how such a sensitive individual could also be so harsh and hurtful. Honestly this remains a puzzle to me, so far in this book.

3. The supporting cast that left an impression on me Tim Cook --- It is no small feat to work with, be trusted by and "ground" Jobs when he gets lost in his own "reality distortion field". Besides, I just like unflappable, even-tempered people more! Jonathan Ive --- Simplicity in design does not overlook complexity. It is not just cosmetic sparseness. It dives deep into complexity itself, emerges with a more better solution without (severely) sacrificing functionality. Bob Iger --- The CEO that shaped Disney to what we know today. A brief glance at his career showed a series of clever, far-sighted acquisition decisions: Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and most recently 20-Century Fox. These acquisitions are strategically cohesive (the emphasis on owning franchise), and with 20-Century Fox I guess Disney would venture into streaming? ;)

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