Björn Rust (he/him) is a post-industrial designer cum researcher, innovator and educator, developing context-sensitive innovation practices for people, planet and beyond.

Recent writings

  1. Opportunity hoarding
  2. Doing away with bullshit
  3. The course of my life, so far

Putting something back into the world

When Steven Levy interviewed Steve Jobs for Rolling Stone about his new project the Macintosh, the young entrepreneur reflected;

You know, we don’t grow most of the food we eat. We wear clothes other people make. We speak a language that other people developed. We use a mathematics that other people evolved... I mean, we’re constantly taking things. It’s a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge.

The irony of this is that the Macintosh borrowed heavily from technology developed by Xerox PARC and Apple’s own Lisa. Nevertheless, Jobs and the Macintosh team were putting something back into the world because they understood that »real artists ship«. The PARC engineers, on the other hand, saw their ideas and academic papers as products so the Alto would never make the dent that the Macintosh did. By creating a product for the people, Jobs and his team increased the reach of the ideas imagined by arguably more capable people. They did the same years later when the iPhone was revealed to market. Apple did not invent the multi-touch interface, they popularised it. The lesson we can take from this is that no matter how great an idea, it is unlikely to matter until it is released upon the world. We can not succumb to self-censorship, but rather, we must allow the people to assess the validity of an idea.

Inspired by: Insanely Great


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