Getting Things Done - on Steve Jobs and Robert Moses

5 years ago

I'm not sure that I have anything to add, but I need to say it anyway. The first computer I owned was a Macintosh, bought in 1985, for about $2500 – which would be about $5000 in today’s dollars. It had two floppy drives (one of which was an external add-on) and no hard drive, and a tiny 9” black & white monitor. The dot matrix Imagewriter II and an old-fashioned modem – the kind you snuggled your telephone handset into – completed my technology holdings.

I met my now husband shortly thereafter, and he – with the chip still implanted in his brain from the 2 years he’d spent working at IBM – he dissed my Mac as a toy.

Bit by byte, he was won over, and today, our house is thoroughly populated with iMacs and a MacBook and iPods and iPhones and an iPad, and we’re networked to the gills with Apple TVs and Airport Expresses, and iTunes is the soundtrack to our life. Yeah, we’ve swallowed the Kool-Aid.

This morning, I read David Pogue's eulogy of Steve Jobs, and was struck by something. Pogue talks about out how Jobs "refused to go with the flow" and swam upstream "in pursuit of an unshakable vision" - he did what he wanted to do, without pandering to focus groups or politics. And in a way, it's like Robert Moses, who - though never elected to public office - rebuilt the New York City metropolitan area in many ways, through sheer force of personality. Not everything he did was good - in fact, a lot was downright evil - but he built an enduring infrastructure and gave us fabulous public beaches. But the thing is, despite whether your final decision on Moses is good or bad, he got things done.

Singular visionaries are rare birds.


(Cross posted from Magpie Musing)

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