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Saturday, 08 October 2011


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Is it just me or did Edwin Land look like Cary Grant's brother? Maybe C.K. Dexter Haven would like to comment...


I've been wondering when some notice of C K would happen. 8-)

It's not just you, Rob, that's what I thought too.

A funny anecdote but one of the lamest TIME covers ever.

Last summer I was in an Apple store playing with an iPad, that beautiful piece of technology I desire but don't have any real need for, when all of a sudden the entire place breaks out into applause. I thought a presenter had just finished their workshop, but the applause did not stop, and it was throughout the entire store. Whatever they were applauding was at the back of the store which I couldn't see. I assumed it was some kind of celebrity, but noticed that the employees were leading the charge.

I finally got to see the focus of attention- a very young, small, average looking guy in the blue Apple shirt who looked very much the embarrassed as he slowly made his way out shaking hands along the way. I made my way over to an employee to ask who the hell he was and what the hell he did, and over the din she blurts out with the biggest of smiles something to the effect that, "He's just gone corporate!" "Corporate?" says I. While she went on about how he's done so well that he was promoted to headquarters- I then noticed the glint in her eye. I had seen that look before- the look of utter wonderment, bedazzlement... the look of a cult devotee. Surprisingly, she was pretty much around my age, definitely old enough to be familiar with The Graduate. Here I was in San Francisco- the counter culture, anti-establishment center of sixties hippiedom, and someone was absolutely ecstatic about the prospect of "going corporate!"

With all the the over-the-top tributes to Mr. Jobs many loose sight of the fact that he was not an inventor. There is not a single (significant) thing that Apple, or Pixar, or NeXT invented. They took existing ideas and made them better. This puts Jobs on an entirely different plane from Edison, Ford, or Bell. Innovator yes, inventor no.

Don't know if any of those women had a lasting impact on him, but he rarely talked to the media again after he felt he got hosed by TIME in that article.

An incredibly well written and more detailed story of Edwin Land, Polaroid, SX-70, and more Steve Jobs parallels was written four months ago by Harry McCracken: Polaroid’s SX-70: The Art and Science of the Nearly Impossible

A must read.

But the story does demonstrate the power of the picture. I merely got quoted in Time, once, and no woman bought me a drink!

yeah, success can have that effect on women ... they seem to be able to sense that here is a man made of the right stuff ... but on the other hand they might have plenty disappointing experience with exactly that type of guy ... Even though Mr. Jobs was of a hole other caliber :) It seems the two women needed a proof along the way!

The distinction between invention and innovation may be disappearing.

A in a previous post Mike rants (and he's right) about camera companies ignoring the customer base by marketing of ever more gadget filed but boring camera's and now he heralds Steve for making that the core of his business....."It's not the customers job to know what he or she wants". So what is that about the market these days, are the customers in control or are the companies in control. I (like Mike in a previous post) go for the later and that is why I dislike Apple and all of the gadgets it produced the last decennium. As a computer company Apple has done a great job but when Steve turned Apple into a one hype a year gadget company, to me he lost a lot of his credit. When product cycles were measured in month rather then years that credibility dropped even more. In the end I hope that Apple under it's new management finds the way back to were it was in the late 70 and early 80th, a groundbraking company that made products with real customer value and that were not dependend on the power of the "Pol pots from the marketing devision" (c) Douglas Coupeland, Microserves, in order to conjure up a hype and a trendy (but what's trendy) design in order to sell and hyde the fact that an Apple under the hood is not that different from a dull PC-clone these days with a different OS (not that much better, not more stable but different and somewhat more user freindly but that depends a lot on the user)

OT: How about either everyone agrees that "loose" can be a substitute for "lose" OR such usage results in an internet ban of one month? Anything has to be better than the current situation.
(Please don't feel you necessarily have to publish this comment Mike).

@boyan most innovation and discovery are not on their own but as one said stand on the shoulder of oher giant.

Many of the thing jobs like computer, user friendly computer, mp3 player, smart phone, tablet ... is we all knows about but for average users inaccessible. you can copy but even the best copycat like microsoft cannot make it so far.

Losting him would mean that we lost one of the giant who can make thing to work for the rest of us. Actually rest of you may i say as l can handle a mainframe assembler language and was paid quite well as a techincal support. i use linux and support unix But I bet many iphone user does not know object c.

The world need him and as many pointed out repearedly he is an unique kind - he is one inside a large corp but stand outside as user.

The magic is that we all knew these but somehow he package and check details so well you just surprise eveytime about one last time

Startling TIME cover :

Record budget

History is down or what?

Hye Boyan,
In the world of Design Related industries [ie Architecture and Industrial design], companies with similar business approach to Apple, Ford, VW and Benz are called "Collectors".

Fair enough, the resulting product is quite different from the previous existing models thanks to tinkering.

They do aggregate other innovations to create or dramatically improve the existing product or service landscape.

Although I do not particularly like Apple´s business and user case model, as they tend to lock you down with significant hindrance [more or less what any camera and lens maker is dreaming about and the "reison d´etre" of entry level dSLR], I have to admit that the evolution the Ipod represented from Creative´s JukeBox was quite a good system per se.

Edwin H. Land lived in Norwich Connecticut during his young life. He went to and graduated from Norwich Free Academy (which is a high school). The house where he lived still stands and is in perfect condition. It has beautiful leaded glass windows and is an English tutor style home. I mention this because I live in Norwich and walk by his old home on occasion.

Thank you for pointing out that article. I had not known Jobs was influenced by Land.

Is that a Polaroid of John Lovitz that Mr. Land is pealing apart???

It's amazing how much envy Apple's success causes. What they understand is that a company that follows their own ideas instead of following their competitors lemming-like, can be a great success, while following the competitors leads only to being another also-ran who has trouble making a profit selling me-too products.
Did you read Thom Hogan on the iPhone 4 camera? Does your CanNik whatever have apps?
(Written on an iPad...)

Edwin Land is one of my heroes too.


in my opinion Steve Jobs was a Randian hero (Ayn Rand). He is the most exact incarnation of Rand's heros. I have not read this obvious connection.


The difference between Steve Jobs and Edwin Land is that Jobs created beautiful consumer products that worked beautifully. Land created consumer cameras that produce photos of poor to mediocre technical quality at best. The best that could be said of them is that they were fast.

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