I just finished reading the new Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs. It is a good read, especially if you have an interest in Apple, Jobs, or computers in general.
This is a story of two Jobs. One is a self-centered jerk of near mythical proportion; the likes of which I’m certain I’ve never known personally. The other is a goal-driven perfectionist obsessed with design and simplicity, … and perfection. The story of this second Jobs is truly inspiring and it is this Jobs that I will choose to commit to memory.
Jobs had a keen eye for design and he would not allow anything less than the best to earn his stamp of approval. He oversaw all aspects of product development, from the design/development of the raw materials (such as the metal used in the Powerbooks or the glass used in the walls of the Apple Store), to the packaging that the finished product was delivered in. If something wasn’t perfect it was “shit” to him - and he certainly wasn’t polite with his criticisms of imperfections. However when a product did become “perfect” he also wasn’t shy about declaring that it was the “greatest thing ever” to the world.
In my own personal work I have been inspired by the story of Steve Jobs to push myself further towards perfection. I am prone to pragmatism or the “that’s good enough” bug that aids my productivity but sacrifices perfection. I doubt I’ve ever produced anything in my life that would stand the test of Steve Jobs’ criticism - and I suspect that most things would have received the prestigious Steve Jobs certification as “shit”. In the past few days I have found myself asking the question “what would Steve say?” when working on different features and designs for my products. Is there any way that this could be simplified? And I have surprised myself by continually making things better; Probably still “shitty” by Jobs standard, but still getting better.
I really think the world would be a better place if we all had some “ass hole” like Steve Jobs looking over our shoulder declaring “it’s shit, get rid of it!” whenever we were about to turn in a sub-standard piece of work. I think the world is better for Steve and his intense passion for perfection. I think the world is worse for his departure.
Last night we filmed yet another Steve Hannah show. This filming went a little different than usual in that we got on to the subject of abortion and decided to ride the debate out for a while. This was different because it was very serious in contrast to the usual light but absurd view points usually expressed on the show.
One thesis that was proposed was that the Pro-choice lobby has effectively won the fight already by causing anyone who would defend an anti-abortion stance as irrational Christian Conservatives who are making the stand based solely on their religious beliefs. In reality this is far from the truth as there are many logical reasons to oppose abortion, not the least of which being on the grounds that it is murder (you don’t have to be a conservative Christian to believe that murder is wrong).
In today’s climate it is very unfashionable to be against abortion. For politicians it is tantamount to political suicide. If you look at the democratic presidential candidates in the US (Obama and Clinton) both support the pro-choice movement. I’m not going to question their motives for their beliefs, but the fact is, they wouldn’t have a chance of winning office if they stood on the other side of the fence on this issue. Of course Republican candidates are far more likely to support the anti-abortion camp, but they have been wearing the reputation of stuffy old conservative Christian white man for centuries, so this is no surprise. Perhaps this is where the perception that anti-abortionists are all irrational Christian conservatives - the fact that on the political level, many of them actually ARE!
If a man is against abortion, does that make him callous and uncaring? Certainly he cannot fully understand how it feels to carry a child, to give birth, or to have an abortion. He can only try to empathize. With an issue like abortion, though, would emotions and feelings not serve only to cloud the matter? Can we not talk about abortion policy without invoking how it makes someone feel? Can we stick purely with logical and moral arguments and not delve into the black hole of a woman’s feelings.
During the debate, one of the hosts introduced another interesting thesis: that one can be pro-choice and anti-abortion at the same time (I am paraphrasing); That perhaps the reason why the abortion issue is so heated is because any legislation that takes a person’s choice away as it pertains to their own body (as an anti-abortion legislation does) oppresses that class of people. That an anti-abortion law would serve as yet another symbol of woman’s sub-ordinance to man which has been forced on women since the dawn of civilization. What, then, if we take the stance that a woman retains the choice of whether or not to abort - but that we disagree with any choice to abort barring extreme circumstances? If we take this position, we are basically hoping for hegemony (i.e. we allow the woman to have an abortion but we hope that she will choose not to).
Perhaps this stance is more inline with our society’s values, as democratic society is largely based on hegemonic control, and not on the iron hand. An interesting thesis whose adoption as a belief would certainly be less likely to elicit judgement as an irrational Christian Conservative.
I decided that it would be easy and kind of interesting to try to record my own little talk show. So I went out and bought a 2nd digicam, some lights, and a pair of tripods - reinstalled Final Cut Pro, and went straight to filming.
I’m not sure the direction that I will take the Steve Hannah show, but I would like to at least bring in some guests to discuss interesting issues with technology or local issues.
Now that I have everything set up I hope to be pumping one of these out once every couple of weeks. Also watch out for a series of instructional videos on Dataface and other web related topics.
Enjoy, and do comment if you have suggestions about what you’d like to see on the Steve Hannah show.