Check out what Steve Jobs is saying here, and consider it in context with the time it was filmed. He describes the spark of a computing revolution coming from a spreadsheet program. It was that program he cites as being responsible for Apple’s success. Computers do great at math, as the name “computer” implies. It follows what came next, brought print to its knees.
Now if you’re interested in my additional observations, note his prediction at the start of the 1990s he alludes to ‘interpersonal computing’ and the Internet from DARPA. His idea of the future held true for the following two decades, not just one, as the first was marked by strides in networking on the Internet itself which led to a second wave resulting in the social media of today.
The infectious fun we had in the ‘beehive’ days of I-Search starting in 1997 through to the ocean of distraction that is social media today, you can see where Steve Jobs is caught in that time thinking about the future of possibilities. The age of interpersonal computing as described by Steve Jobs is here. I am struck by other thoughts from his NeXt software initiative and platform thinking.
The notion of platform thinking intrigues me greatly. Apple has taken this to a great height by way of confining the Mac operating system to a mobile extension with touch features built into iOS. The revolution we are seeing now is his vision played out in the third decade, one that hearkens back to the terminal days of the mid-seventies. The tablet is the terminal we use to log into the cloud.
He also speaks of wanting to be able to operate his computer separate from the cloud. The iOS platform delivers this. He also wants third-party developers to extend on the platform designing software to make the whole machine more valuable. The Apple store delivers this. The difference in thinking between Apple and Google is that the closed architecture ensures quality that Google is missing.
The approach I want to take with Sidecar, after the original Sidecar prototype, is in pursuit of what can be done with the concept of platform thinking in a microcosm of distributed Web crawling software that is Sidecar. The goal is to realize with software code what I-Search was like for me more than ten years ago. You can hear Steve’s enthusiasm for something he lived to see in his lifetime with email lists such as I-Search and later ultimately with what Twitter is now. The power of our connected world can bring us together to conferences, or allow us to benefit without being there.
On a personal note, I was lucky enough to work with Kevin Mitnick to put together the more difficult cryptograms for the paperback version of his Ghost in the Wires. When Steve Jobs remembers building ‘blue boxes’ with Woz, I know Kevin was doing the same thing. Kevin and Woz are now friends. I was on the phone with Kevin when news about the death of Steve Jobs came across Twitter. We both took note and he wanted to immediately break away and call Woz about it. Regardless how the media characterizes relationships, Steve and Woz were close by way of their shared history, which is special to them.