The central question about Apple these days is what it will become without Steve Jobs’s passionate conviction and daily direction in the design of the company’s products and services. Tuesday night, at an invitation-only party in Palo Alto, I got a peek at the answer. The Silicon Valley startup Nest launched its product—nay, company—at the new and trendy Reposado restaurant. Never has there been so much fanfare about the introduction of a thermostat.
Before I used computer-aided design to create products, I had pencils. Before I had pencils, I had Legos. Before Legos, crayons. Before crayons, blocks. And with these tools, I have always been a designer.
The act of exploring alternate ideas, prototyping them, testing them and then breaking them down in search of new ideas has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. It is a way of being that shapes everything I value, everything I do and the way I see the world.
A few months ago I was up at MIT's Media Lab, where I happened to wander by a lab where John Underkoffler, who developed the gestural interface that Steven Spielberg used in "The Minority Report," was playing with some new technology. He graciously let me fool around with it. I better stick to writing. But I thought of that experience when I recently saw ads for HP's Touchsmart PC, with its snazzy user interface.