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Steve Jobs: Minimalist

jobsthinking.JPGHow Steve Jobs thinks:

What makes Steve’s methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do. He’s a minimalist.

I remember going into Steve’s house and he had almost no furniture in it. He just had a picture of Einstein, whom he admired greatly, and he had a Tiffany lamp and a chair and a bed. He just didn’t believe in having lots of things around but he was incredibly careful in what he selected. The same thing was true with Apple. Here’s someone who starts with the user experience, who believes that industrial design shouldn’t be compared to what other people were doing with technology products but it should be compared to people were doing with jewelry.[...]

The other thing about Steve was that he did not respect large organizations. He felt that they were bureaucratic and ineffective. He would basically call them “bozos.” That was his term for organizations that he didn’t respect. The Mac team they were all in one building and they eventually got to one hundred people. Steve had a rule that there could never be more than one hundred people on the Mac team. So if you wanted to add someone you had to take someone out.

There's much more at the link, and it's worth it.

Photo credit: Eric Risberg/AP.

By Ezra Klein  | October 15, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

I recently bought a house in a somewhat transitional neighborhood in a suburban town. The other day I was coming back from a run and walked down my street. I looked around at the houses with crap piled up in the garages and in some cases in the backyard. In other cases in the front yard. It occurred to me that we live in a culture where people just accumulate stuff. Cheap stuff. Stuff that breaks. Stuff that they don't really have room for in the first place. Or don't have the time and energy to maintain. We just accumulate crap and it sits there weathering.

I read an article recently that Americans' debt-to-income ratio was 124% right before the crash of 2008. That is, we owed 24 % more than our total national income. This is private debt. The government debt is nowhere near that large. 35 years of low interest rates and stagnant wages created Reagan & Volcker's world of consumers of cheap crap. The current economic downturn could reverse some of this, but no one knows what's next so they keep trying to re-create 2006.

Posted by: klautsack | October 15, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I recently bought a house in a somewhat transitional neighborhood in a suburban town. The other day I was coming back from a run and walked down my street. I looked around at the houses with crap piled up in the garages and in some cases in the backyard. In other cases in the front yard. It occurred to me that we live in a culture where people just accumulate stuff. Cheap stuff. Stuff that breaks. Stuff that they don't really have room for in the first place. Or don't have the time and energy to maintain. We just accumulate crap and it sits there weathering.

I read an article recently that Americans' debt-to-income ratio was 124% right before the crash of 2008. That is, we owed 24 % more than our total national income. This is private debt. The government debt is nowhere near that large. 35 years of low interest rates and stagnant wages created Reagan & Volcker's world of consumers of cheap crap. The current economic downturn could reverse some of this, but no one knows what's next so they keep trying to re-create 2006.

Posted by: klautsack | October 15, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

He may start with the user experience, but it is only one user -- himself. That would be great if everyone worked the way Steve works on only the jobs that Steve works on but they don't.

I used to like Macs but I don't any more. They drove me away due to their increasing inability to adjust to my personal workflow and their insistence on hiding functionality. I managed to talk myself into buying an iPod but then got rid of it for the same reason -- it was designed for one thing: playing pop songs. If you listen to classical music or audiobooks, it is a continuing horror.

Still, there are probably enough people out there who are Like Steve (or who are willing to become Like Steve) that he'll always have a steady market. More power to them.

But I'm interested in getting some work done, and not so much in learning an entirely new way to do the thing I already have a perfectly good method of doing.

Posted by: pj_camp | October 15, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

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