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Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products by Leander Kahney
Apple II, banking crisis, British Empire, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Computer Numeric Control, Dynabook, global supply chain, interchangeable parts, John Markoff, Jony Ive, race to the bottom, RFID, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, the built environment, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple
So the British design school/art school vibe informs how Jony Ive interacts with service design, multimedia aspects, the packaging [and] the publicity.”10 Culture and history have a place in the mix of art and craft to which Jony Ive was exposed in the 1980s. At the time, the nation transformed itself from a semisocialist state with strong trade unions into a fully capitalist one on Reagan’s model. There was a lot of youth revolt. Young Brits embraced punk, which encouraged experimentation, unconventionality and daring. It’s possible to read some of that independence into Jony Ive’s later approach. “In America, on the other hand,” Milton explained, “designers are very much serving what industry wants. In Britain, there is more of the culture of the garden shed, the home lab, the ad hoc and experimental quality. And Jony Ive interacts in such a way . . .
Apple’s service process is exquisitely refined for their own products.”13 Apple, as one of the world’s richest and most powerful companies, has clearly taken a leadership role in manufacturing. If their commitment to their global workforce and to environmental concerns remains less certain, it’s clear that Jony Ive will have a voice in shaping those policies into the foreseeable future. CHAPTER 13 Apple’s MVP [Jony Ive] has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me. There’s no one who can tell him what to do, or to butt out. That’s the way I set it up. —STEVE JOBS Steve Jobs had surgery for a pancreatic tumor in July 2004. As he was recovering from his first bout with cancer, he asked to see two people. One was his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs; the other was Jony Ive. After nearly eight years of working together almost daily, Jony and Jobs had a special and intimate relationship. The pair had been nearly inseparable, attending many of the same meetings, eating lunch together and spending afternoons at the studio going over future projects.
Frog design’s Snow White aesthetic was so influential it set the design language for a generation of computers. When Jony Ive joined Apple in 1992, the design team was slowly trying to move away from Snow White which had dominated the ‘80s. The Domesticated Mac was one of Jony Ive’s first speculative designs for Apple. It was an attempt to design a computer for the home, not an office environment. Another of Jony’s early major projects, the Twentieth Anniversary Mac was Apple’s first flatscreen computer. It was also designed for the home, not the office, but bungled pricing and marketing doomed it. The eMate was Apple’s first translucent product. Jony felt that translucency made a product less mysterious and more accessible. Jony Ive (left) with his former boss Jon Rubinstein, head of engineering, with some multicolored iMacs, the first product to bring fashion to computers.
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli
Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, market design, McMansion, Menlo Park, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog
“The reason you sugarcoat things is that you don’t want anyone to think you’re an asshole. So, that’s vanity,” explains Jony Ive, a crisply articulate Brit with the muscled frame of a boxer and a tendency to hunch forward over a table as he leans in to speak to you. As design chief, Ive was on the receiving end of Steve’s blunt criticisms as much as anyone. Whenever he felt abused, he would tell himself that someone who sugarcoats his true opinions “might not really even be all that concerned about the other person’s feelings. He just doesn’t want to appear to be a jerk. But if he really cared about the work he would be less vain, and would talk directly about the work. That’s the way Steve was. That’s why he’d say ‘That’s shit!’ But then the next day or the day after, he also would just as likely come back saying, ‘Jony, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you showed me, and I think it’s very interesting after all.
Aside from snippets from my own encounters with Jobs, most of the quotations in this chapter were drawn from interviews with Lee Clow on October 14, 2013; Jon Rubinstein on July 25, 2012; Avie Tevanian on November 12, 2012; Rubinstein and Tevanian together on October 12, 2012; Jony Ive on June 10, 2014; Bill Gates on June 16, 2012; and Mike Slade on July 23, 2012. The financial numbers and headcount statistics and other numerical information in this chapter came primarily from Apple’s SEC filings reporting its financial results for 1996 through 2000, so we are not citing them here individually. The notorious quote from Michael Dell suggesting that Jobs should simply liquidate Apple came during a Q and A session at the Gartner Symposium and ITxpo97 in Orlando, Florida, on October 6, 1997, http://news.cnet.com/Dell-Apple-should-close-shop/2100-1001_3-203937.html. Background information about Dieter Rams, the design genius who was the primary inspiration of Jony Ive, Apple’s head of design, came from the website of the German furniture design company Vitsœ, https://www.vitsoe.com/us/about/dieter-rams and https://www.vitsoe.com/us/about/good-design.
We benefitted from lengthy interviews with key current and former executives at Apple, including CEO Tim Cook, senior vice president of design Jony Ive, senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue, vice president of corporate communications Katie Cotton, and Tony Fadell, the founder of Nest Labs, which is now a subsidiary of Google. We also relied upon Apple press releases and SEC filings and court records about the stock option controversy. Aside from snippets from my own encounters with Jobs, most of the direct quotations in this chapter were drawn from interviews with Eddy Cue on April 29, 2014; Fred Anderson on August 8, 2012; Avie Tevanian on October 11, 2012; Tim Cook on April 30, 2014; Jon Rubinstein on July 25, 2012; Jony Ive on May 6, 2014, and June 10, 2014; John Doerr on May 7, 2014; Jean-Louis Gassée on October 17, 2012; and Marc Andreessen on May 7, 2014.
The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone by Brian Merchant
Airbnb, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Gruber, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Lyft, M-Pesa, more computing power than Apollo, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, pirate software, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, zero day
If we just took the iPod user experience and some of the other stuff we were working on, we could own the market.” It was getting harder to argue with that logic. The latest batches of MP3 phones were looking increasingly like iPod competitors, and new alternatives for dealing with the carriers were emerging. Meanwhile, Bell had seen Jony Ive’s latest iPod designs, and he had some iPhone-ready models. On November 7, 2004, Bell sent Jobs a late-night email. “Steve, I know you don’t want to do a phone,” he wrote, “but here’s why we should do it: Jony Ive has some really cool designs for future iPods that no one has seen. We ought to take one of those, put some Apple software around it, and make a phone out if ourselves instead of putting our stuff on other people’s phones.” Jobs called him right away. They argued for hours, pushing back and forth.
i–iV The first two Apple sections, i and ii, are based primarily on interviews with the team responsible for carving out the interaction paradigms that formed the foundation of the iPhone—the user interface, the multitouch software, the early hardware. I conducted interviews with Bas Ording, Imran Chaudhri, Brian Huppi, Joshua Strickon, and Greg Christie, in addition to other members of the original iPhone team on background. Further details and quotes from Jony Ive were taken from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, Leander Kahney’s Jony Ive, and Brett Schlender’s Becoming Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs “misremembered” the iPhone’s touchscreen genesis in a Q-and-A hosted by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at their annual D: All Things Digital conference. As with the previous roman numbered sections, most of chapters iii and iV were sourced from interviews with original iPhone team members and anonymous Apple employees, previous research and reportage, and court- and FOIA-obtained documents.
Among Apple personnel interviewed on the record were Bas Ording, Imran Chaudhri, Richard Williamson, Tony Fadell, Henri Lamiraux, Greg Christie, Nitin Ganatra, Andy Grignon, David Tupman, Evan Doll, Abigail Brody, Brian Huppi, Joshua Strickon, and Tom Gruber. Quotes were drawn from the Apple/Samsung trial of 2012, when Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall took the stand. Books that provided extraordinarily useful detail, research, and background were Dogfight, by Fred Vogelstein; Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson; Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender; Inside Apple, by Adam Lashinsky; and Jony Ive, by Leander Kahney. Quotes attributed to Jony Ive, Steve Jobs, Mike Bell, and Douglas Satzger were drawn from those sources. John Markoff’s New York Times reporting and Steven Levy’s book The Perfect Thing and his work in Newsweek were used for reference. Sales figures cited are provided by Apple unless otherwise stated. Acknowledgments A key theme of this book is that little progress is possible without deep collaboration and sustained collective effort—nothing could be truer about writing this thing too.
Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein
Apple II, cloud computing, commoditize, disintermediation, don't be evil, Dynabook, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Googley, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, zero-sum game
“So I argued with Steve for a couple of months and finally sent him an email on November seventh, 2004,” Bell said. “I said, ‘Steve, I know you don’t want to do a phone, but here’s why we should do it: [Design director Jony Ive] has some really cool designs for future iPods that no one has seen. We ought to take one of those, put some Apple software around it, and make a phone out of it ourselves instead of putting our stuff on other people’s phones.’ He calls me back about an hour later and we talk for two hours, and he finally says, ‘Okay, I think we should go do it.’ So Steve and I and Jony [Ive] and Sakoman had lunch three or four days later and kicked off the iPhone project.” It wasn’t just Bell’s persistence and Ive’s designs that helped convince Jobs. Sakoman came to lunch having already done some early engineering work about what it might take to build a phone.
Even people within the iPhone project itself couldn’t talk to one another. Engineers designing the iPhone’s electronics weren’t allowed to see the software it would run. When they needed software to test the electronics, they were given proxy code, not the real thing. If you were working on the software, you used a simulator to test hardware performance. And no one outside Jobs’s inner circle was allowed into chief designer Jony Ive’s wing on the first floor of Building 2. The security surrounding Ive’s prototypes was so tight that employees believed the badge reader called security if you tried to badge in and weren’t authorized. “It was weird, because it wasn’t like you could avoid going by it. It was right off the lobby, behind a big metal door. Every now and then you’d see the door open and you’d try to look in and see, but you never tried to do more than that,” said an engineer whose first job out of college was working on the iPhone.
Even his fans admit that before he left, he had become a cliché of a difficult boss—someone who takes credit for underlings’ good work, but is swift to blame them for his own screwups. When Jobs was alive, Forstall drove colleagues mad with his sanctimonious “Steve wouldn’t like that” critique, and he made no secret of his seeing himself as the eventual Apple CEO. In 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that chief designer Jony Ive and head of technology Bob Mansfield were so suspicious of Forstall they refused to meet with him unless CEO Tim Cook was present too. I’ve heard that was true for iTunes boss Eddy Cue as well. It wasn’t shocking to see Jobs play two executives off against each other; he was well-known for his Machiavellian side. But what was surprising was that Jobs let the fight go on so long and affect so many people at Apple.
Apple II, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, en.wikipedia.org, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, social web, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technology bubble, Thomas L Friedman
While Steve Jobs has consistently presented the development of the iPod as a team effort, he has publicly singled out the company's industrial design ninja as the guy responsible for the look and visual integration of the device. This is Jonathan Ive. Known within the company as Jony, Ive has continually made design history and put enough Apple hardware into the Museum of Modern Art's design collection to make MOM A an informal annex of the Apple Store. The iPod represents the apex of the partnership between Ive and Jobs. In some quarters people be- Cool lieve him to be the father of the iPod. (U2 s Bono caUing him "Jony iPod" helped that one along.) That's inaccurate, but it is fair to say that his vision fixed its look. Jony Ive is a burly guy in his late thirties but appears younger. He's bulky under a loose T-shirt, hair shaved a few nanos short of a dome. Once he speaks, it's clear that he is more aesthete than hooligan.
The iPod was the boldest step yet toward whiteness, an effort directed to the heart of visual simplicity and minimalism, with perhaps a yearning toward invisibility. "Right from the very first time, we were thinking about the product, wed seen this as stainless steel and white," Ive explained. "It is just so ... so brutally simple. It's not just a color. Supposedly neutral—but just an unmistakable, shocking neutral." The Perfect Thing 98 It's almost as if Jony Ive, a London-born industrial artist, were channeling Ishmael, the narrator of Herman Melville's fabled novel. "In many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own," Melville wrote in Moby-Dick. Ishmael is driven to solve "the incantation of this whiteness," a journey that leads him to ask whether white "by its indefinitiveness . . . shadows forth the heartless voids of immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way."
What we can do is bring it to the mass market." I got a glimpse into the star-crossed nature of the relationship between Apple and HP on the very day the companies announced the deal. When I'd asked Fiorina who would decide the color of the, um, hPod, she'd responded instantly, "We do." In fact, she promised that HP would sell a blue iPod, which was quite a departure from the shocking neutrality that Apple's design guru Jony Ive had established as a trademark look for the device. But a few hours after my conversation with Fiorina at the Las Vegas Convention Center, I was on the phone with Steve Jobs. Steve, I asked, does this deal allow HP to determine the color of the iPods it'll sell? "We'll see," he said with the gravity of an executioner. When the HP iPod came out half a year later, it was the same bright white as the Apple version.
The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions...and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, housing crisis, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Justin.tv, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, Network effects, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Tony Hsieh, Y Combinator, yield management
And I was, like, ‘No,’” she says. “‘It’s just as bad—he’s going to be a designer.’”) Once in Los Angeles, Chesky moved in with some friends from RISD and started working at the industrial-design firm 3DID. For the first few months he liked the work, designing real products for companies like ESPN and Mattel. But soon it started to become evident that the job wasn’t what he’d hoped it would be. He dreamed of becoming the next Jony Ive or Yves Béhar, famous designers who’d reimagined companies like Apple and the consumer-technology firm Jawbone, but he found his daily work to be uninspiring, mostly rote execution. “It was not silly stuff, but it was so obviously not in the promise of RISD,” he says. The renowned institution had filled him with a spirit of change-the-world idealism: almost any problem in the world could be solved by creative design, he was told; if you could conceive of something, you could design it; and it was possible to design the very world you wanted to live in.
Airbnb’s next investment rounds unlocked access to Silicon Valley icons like Reid Hoffman, Marc Andreessen, and Ben Horowitz, all seen as gurus when it came to the art of building tech companies in Silicon Valley. The more successful Airbnb became, the more top people the founders had access to, and as it began to get bigger, Chesky started seeking out sources for specific areas of study: Apple’s Jony Ive on design, LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner and Disney’s Bob Iger on management, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on product, and Sheryl Sandberg on international expansion and on the importance of empowering women leaders. John Donahoe of eBay was a particularly important mentor, schooling Chesky on scaling operations, managing a board, and other aspects of being the CEO of a large marketplace business. In what became a valuable reverse mentorship, Donahoe also quizzed Chesky for his advice on design and innovation and on how eBay could maintain characteristics of being young and nimble.
Halfway through our conversation about this, Chesky stopped, looked at me, and told me I could be a source. “By the way, I’m learning from this,” he said, pointing to my notes. “If I wanted to learn how to interview a candidate, the obvious place to go would be another executive. But the better place to go would be a reporter.” Of course, Chesky is operating at a level of highly privileged access; not everyone can call up Jony Ive or Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos. But Chesky insists there are always good mentors, regardless of someone’s level. “When I was unemployed and a designer, I also met with people, and I was [just as] shameless,” he says. In fact, if he had been meeting with some of these heavy hitters when he was an unemployed designer, he points out, it wouldn’t have been useful. “There wouldn’t have been anything to give back in the conversation.
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business intelligence, call centre, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Paul Graham, QR code, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Y Combinator
Flipboard.com, 9 December 2010, inside.flipboard.com/2010/12/09/apple-picks-flipboard-as-app-of-the-year/. 5 ‘Gartner Says Worldwide Traditional PC, Tablet, Ultramobile and Mobile Phone Shipments On Pace to Grow 7.6 Percent in 2014’, article on Gartner.com, 7 January 2014, www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2645115. 6 ‘Android Fragmentation Visualized’, report on OpenSignal.com, August 2012, opensignal.com/reports/fragmentation.php. 7 Juli Clover, ‘iOS 7 Now on 73% of Devices, but Adoption Rates “Much Slower” Than iOS 6’, article on MacRumors.com, 18 October 2013, www.macrumors.com/2013/10/18/ios-7-now-on-73-of-devices-but-adoption-rates-much-slower-than-ios-6/. 8 ‘Android Fragmentation Visualized’, August 2012, op. cit. Chapter 8: App Version 0.1 1 Anthony Wing Kosner, ‘Jony Ives’ (No Longer So) Secret Design Weapon’, article on Forbes.com, 30 November 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2013/11/30/jony-ives-no-longer-so-secret-design-weapon/. 2 ‘SFMOMA Presents Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams’, press release, 29 June 2011, www.sfmoma.org/about/press/press_exhibitions/releases/880. 3 Brian Suthoff, ‘First Impressions Matter! 26% of Apps Downloaded in 2010 Were Used Just Once’, blog post on Localytics.com, 31 January 2011, www.localytics.com/blog/2011/first-impressions-matter-26-percent-ofapps-downloaded-used-just-once/.
Great Design Good Design is as little design as possible – less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity. – Dieter Rams Dieter Rams is one of great pioneers of industrial design. For decades he worked at Braun and pioneered state-of-the-art radios, audio equipment, cameras and furniture. He has been exalted by many as the leader of ‘minimalist, intuitive design’. Apple’s lead designer, Jony Ive, is one of many who have been massively influenced by his style.1 Rams is celebrated for his 10 principles of good design2 – something that is critical today. Keep these principles in mind as you design your app. According to Rams good design: • Is innovative • Makes a product useful • Is aesthetic • Makes a product understandable • Is unobtrusive • Is honest • Is long-lasting • Is thorough down to the last detail • Is environmentally friendly • Has as little design as possible.
The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, Chris Yeh
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, new economy, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, software as a service, Steve Jobs
People think career development means moving up the ladder, but moving from side to side can be just as valuable. We want to help people develop different skill sets that can help them and us.” Here in Silicon Valley, Cisco’s Talent Connection program, which helps current employees find new opportunities within Cisco, increased employees’ satisfaction with career development by almost 20 percent.3 Foundational Jony Ive at Apple. Fred Smith at FedEx. Ginni Rometty at IBM. These are people whose lives are fundamentally intertwined with their companies. These are people on a Foundational tour of duty. Exceptional alignment of employer and employee is the hallmark of a Foundational tour. (We’ll discuss the concept of alignment in more detail in chapter 3.) If an employee sees working at the company as his last job, and the company wants the employee to stay until he retires, he is on a Foundational tour of duty.
The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen
Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, old-boy network, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional
While these partnerships are necessary, the exact makeup of the Producer-Performer pair may change depending on the skills needed to take advantage of an opportunity. As Mark Cuban attests, the complement he needed for MicroSolutions was Martin Woodall, but the Broadcast.com dream team included Todd Wagner. Bill Gates started out with Paul Allen, but he also had a long-term Producer-Performer partnership with Steve Ballmer, during which Microsoft created most of its value. Jobs and Wozniak created the iconic computer maker, but Jobs and Jony Ive, Apple’s chief designer, were the team behind the beauty and sensibility of the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell founded John Paul Mitchell Systems, but years later DeJoria started another venture with his friend Martin Crowley, a talented architect who went bankrupt trying to make a business designing buildings.8 DeJoria pointed him in a different direction and set him up as an architecture buyer supplying materials from Mexico for high-end renovations.
The Best Interface Is No Interface: The Simple Path to Brilliant Technology (Voices That Matter) by Golden Krishna
Airbnb, computer vision, crossover SUV, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, impulse control, Inbox Zero, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, QR code, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tim Cook: Apple, Y Combinator, Y2K
And just a few weeks of these open-minded observations and conversations with customers is a marvelous first step that many smart people in technology use today to create something useful. But it’s certainly not the only smart first step taken in tech today. Some start with history. Go beyond an Internet image search and—yikes—dust off old books for classic, beautiful examples where others have solved similar problems you’re trying to tackle today. Like Jony Ive did with Dieter Rams’s ideas of simplicity to inspire the forms for things like, oh, the iMac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and later versions of iOS. Quantitative insights can be fantastic as well. A smart analytics team can reveal patterns about customer behavior that may have been overlooked by everyone else in the organization. There’s a good reason why McKinsey found that “companies championing the use of customer analytics are 6.5 times more likely to retain customers, 7.4 times more likely to outperform their competitors on making sales to existing customers, and nearly 19 times more likely to achieve above-average profitability.”1 Uh, because it’s a great idea.
Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us Into Temptation by Chris Nodder
4chan, affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, game design, haute couture, jimmy wales, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, late fees, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Netflix Prize, Nick Leeson, Occupy movement, pets.com, price anchoring, recommendation engine, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile
Set a rationalization trap. The newer influx of Apple users may have diluted the original fervor of Mac devotees, but it’s still possible to see rationalization at work just by starting a discussion of the relative value-per-dollar of Apple computers versus generic PCs. 3. Manufacture source credibility and sincerity. Steve Jobs, the now-deceased father of Apple, has been replaced by head designer Jony Ive as the spiritual leader of the Apple clan. 4. Establish a granfalloon. Enter any Apple store to see ritual, symbolism, and feelings at work creating a feeling of belonging for the in-group of Apple users. Door greeters might as well be saying, “Welcome home.” 5. Use self-generated persuasion. Apple fans are the company’s best salespeople. Hype and limited initial availability lead to total strangers asking early adopters how they like their new toy.
The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return by Mihir Desai
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, assortative mating, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, carried interest, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, follow your passion, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, housing crisis, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jony Ive, Kenneth Rogoff, Louis Bachelier, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, principal–agent problem, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, zero-sum game
But Einhorn is himself the agent of state pension funds that have delegated to him the job of generating returns. And those state pension funds have our savings invested in them, and we’ve appointed those pension fund managers to manage our wealth. It is a series of principal-agent relationships—we (the ultimate principal) save through pensions funds (our agents), which appoint David Einhorn (the agents of the pension funds), who monitors Tim Cook (the agent of David Einhorn), who appoints Jony Ive (Cook’s agent as Apple’s chief design officer), who appoints . . . you get the idea. Once you become attuned to the principal-agent relationship, it’s hard not to see it playing out everywhere in life. In many ways, the biggest debates today on what is wrong with capitalism are actually debates about finance and agency theory. For some, the big problem is that the proponents of agency theory have been too successful: managers now only care about their owners!
The Narcissist Next Door by Jeffrey Kluger
Albert Einstein, always be closing, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bernie Madoff, Columbine, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, impulse control, Jony Ive, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game
Jobs’s misbehavior went beyond the abusive language that could be excused—almost—as simply the outbursts of a wildly creative man. He bore grudges (one of the only complaints about the original iPad was that it wouldn’t run Adobe Flash Player, a senseless omission, except that Jobs resented Adobe for once refusing to write software for the iMac); he behaved pettily, once storming out of a five-star hotel in London, calling close friend and Apple designer Jony Ive, who was staying in the hotel, too, and had gone to pains to make the booking, with the petulant announcement “I hate my room. It’s a piece of shit, let’s go.” He even exhibited a sadistic streak, once asking a job candidate, “How old were you when you lost your virginity? How many times have you taken LSD?” When the understandably flustered applicant went on too long in one of his answers, Jobs mocked him.
Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook
3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Uber for X, urban renewal, War on Poverty, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game
Labor, for lack of a better term, is what carries out the vision of entrepreneurs and the plans of managers, using the resources supplied by capitalists. It includes pilots, restaurant hostesses, car salesmen, coal miners, construction workers, TV writers, and accountants, among thousands of other examples. It stretches from unskilled workers performing manual labor to roles that require every bit as much thought as that required of a company’s leaders. At Apple, for instance, one of the key workers was Jony Ive, head of the design team. By the time Jobs returned in 1997, Ive was ready to quit, frustrated that Apple had long ago abandoned its commitment to great products. Jobs assured him it was a new day. Jobs would later describe Ive as “a spiritual partner.” Both men shared a deep commitment to creating products that were simple and elegant, with thought given to every aspect of their design. “What I really despise,” says Ive, “is when I sense some carelessness in a product.”
23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day
Think of the design of an iPhone 6, an Eames lounge chair, a Ferrari 458 Italia, or a Leica T camera—products that are meant to delight. Not only are these tools functional, but they are beautiful, created by people who had a close and deep understanding of their customers and their needs. When one watched Steve Jobs onstage describe his latest products, there was no doubt that each and every one was imbued with the love of its creators. So where’s the Steve Jobs of security? What might Apple’s chief designer, Jony Ive, bring to the problem of our growing cyber insecurity? What would his firewall or antivirus program look like? Thus far, we have no idea, and that is a huge problem. It is a problem because when security features are not designed well, people simply don’t use them. Moreover, poor design can lead the human users down pathways that actually make them less secure. Why would people write down their passwords on Post-it notes and stick them on their computers?
The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton
1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator
Apple's initial forays into massive User-centric Cloud services have a spotty track record (think MobileMe), while its audience-centric Cloud services (such as iTunes) bend whole industries toward them and generate fabulous profits. Still, it is at the level of the operating system that Apple's model platform logic coheres, and it is through premium hardware that it is guaranteed. As usually credited to Jony Ive's talent and Steve Jobs's perfectionism, Apple's physical objects ground the Cloud as something you can and want to touch and accompany you. This “design” adds dramatically to profit margin per device and underpins other channels of involvement and lock-in, pushing User experience of The Stack toward dictates of affect, flattening and cajoling the megastructure to “just work.” Beyond individual touch, the physicality and tactility of Apple's platform are also available as architectural immersion in the global footprint of Apple Stores, where an ideal Apple culture is performed by teams of ideal Apple Users, the youngish, intelligent, helpful, at-ease store staff.