Apr 4, 2013

Towards a new generation of versatile "Jobs"

By Isaac Mao, co-founder and director, Social Brain Foundation; philosopher at Sharism.org

CC Joichi Ito
I never had an Apple product for my daily use, but I did buy some of them for my family members, including my 7-year-old daughter VV and my father. I believe Apple really fits those people who are afraid of using a computer, or are trying to touch base the digital world. So it’s not difficult to imagine why China is now the biggest market for Apple products. 

Each time VV shows me some new apps on her iPad I can’t help praising: "it's really an exquisite toy", and my daughter always nods back. Once she even said: "(iPad is) like a pretty princess". I had to agree. The sense of touching the screen and the borders of Apple’s products really prevails the feelings I get on my Google tablet. Then, I reckon I would be not surprised if Apple's products were designed by some deft women. 

Even though we still remember Steve Jobs as the man that enabled those exquisite toys, Masha Ma, one of the top fashion designers in China, told me she always thought Jobs had a female heart. That might be the reason why he could transfer the view of ICT products from lame machines into soft fashion devices.

«After Steve Jobs, the combination of both aggressiveness and sensitivity is inexorably indispensable in industry»

After Steve Jobs, the combination of both aggressiveness and sensitivity is inexorably indispensable in industry. If any other “Jobs” wants to copy his success, he or she can’t be merely a designer or an engineer, but should be both. Last March, Masha just finished her show in Paris, which included very cool 3D printed earrings in her new seasonal collection. I see this combination of design and ICT on her work as well: apart from being a designer she also has a geeky heart. And more interestingly, she is now learning how to use Python (a programming language) to code her next season's design work. 

I don't know what would have happened if Steve Jobs had been a woman. In fact, Jobs' gender shouldn't matter, only his legacy. In the coming maker's age, as author Chris Anderson predicted, future may present us more versatile "Jobs", and surely they will be indistinctly called Steve or Stephanie.

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