"We're supposed to be really good at this.
That doesn't mean we don't listen to customers,
but it's hard for them to tell you what they want
when they've never seen anything remotely like it."
I've been a Macintosh fan since I first sat down to a 512 "Fat Mac" nearly 30 years ago.
And, like many people, I've long been intrigued by Steve Jobs. Especially after reading Frank Rose’s West of Eden – the Sculley vs. Jobs conflict framed as an East-meets-West showdown – when it hit the stands in the late ‘80s.
I was saddened to hear of his passing this week.
So much so, I avoided reading any of the ubiquitous reportings and retrospectives the past few days.
Until this morning's New York Times column, "How Jobs Put Passion Into Products." James Stewart pulled the above quote from a 2000 Fortune magazine article.
It's a bold perspective.
One that calls for clarity. For commitment. And for courage.
A professional’s perspective.
With the kind of clarity that comes from continuing to hone your skills. Continuing to learn. To grow. So that, in fact, you are "really good at this."
The kind of commitment that’s willing to argue for what you think is right. Even when that doesn’t fit the public’s (or client’s) “vision” for the project.
The kind of courage that’s willing to risk failure. Because, even when we do what we think is best, there’s no guarantee of success. And even after a failure, we have to be willing to move forward. (See "clarity" above.)
I am sorry that we have one less visionary with us today.
But I am also grateful for the fruits of his passion.