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A beautiful design unseen | Cypress Semiconductor

A beautiful design unseen

This week, Apple Inc reported a record $20B in revenue for the 3rd calendar quarter of 2010, a record. in addition, they reported $4.31B in profit. 43% of Apple's revenue comes from the US. Compare this to today's report from Boeing of revenue of $17B and profit of $0.837B. How does this happen for a company that until the iPod (and iTunes) was supported by Windows computers in October of 2003 produced a respected but niche computer called Macintosh? DNA, and that DNA comes from Steve Jobs himself.

There are a couple very interesting accounts of the man/myth of Steve Jobs, here is a video from Bloomberg's "Game Changers" series that is informative and entertaining: www.bloomberg.com/video/63722844/

In the the video you hear about Jobs' detailed focus and drive, expectations of more than anyone on his team ever believed they could deliver. My favorite quote in the video is from Guy Kawasaki who says "if you are a product manager for a product being announced, the preceding 3 months are hell and on the day it is all over in 10 seconds."

Even better is this transcript from an in-depth interview with "the CEO who fired Steve Jobs" John Sculley: www.cultofmac.com/john-sculley-on-steve-jobs-the-full-interview-transcript/63295

The best quote I found to illustrate why Steve Jobs succeeds in doing what often appears to be windmill-tilting is this:

"…the great skill that Steve has is he’s a great designer. Everything at Apple can be best understood through the lens of designing. Whether it’s designing the look and feel of the user experience, or the industrial design, or the system design and even things like how the boards were laid out. The boards had to be beautiful in Steve’s eyes when you looked at them, even though when he created the Macintosh he made it impossible for a consumer to get in the box…"

For Jobs,EVERYTHING has to be beautiful, has to begin with the design. Even detractors will say Apple's products are "beautiful but…". The truth is that you can systematically remove the "buts" from a product (or the pimples from the butt of a product), but true beauty and impeccable design can rarely be bolted on. In Jobs' mind, the beauty is as connected to what is left out even more than what is included (he was known to have a huge home with almost no furniture).

Want to see the "new beautiful"? Check out the new MacBook Air video: www.apple.com/macbookair/#macbook-air-video. Even the designer's voice in this video can be called beautiful (OK, maybe Phil Schiller doesn't push the envelope on beautiful). Imagine all the things that had to be left out to get a 13" laptop that is 0.68" at its thickest in the rear and all the way down to 0.11" thin in the front. Now look at the computer you are reading this on and note its "beauty".

Why bring this up in an embedded design methods blog? Only one reason - beauty, like good design, is NOT only skin deep, it is deeply embedded in the DNA of your product or project. Ever get the comment during a code review "Hey, this code is beautiful!". Shouldn't that be one of our goals.

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