Thursday, October 25, 2012
I had never heard of Alan Kay until I started reading Walter Isaacson's latest tome, Steve Jobs. It is a book filled with names, information, and insights that somehow have eluded me all these years. Anyway, Alan Kay has said some neat stuff:
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
If you don't fail at least 90 percent of the time, you're not aiming high enough.
By the time I got to school, I had already read a couple hundred books. I knew in the first grade that they were lying to me because I had already been exposed to other points of view. School is basically about one point of view — the one the teacher has or the textbooks have. They don't like the idea of having different points of view, so it was a battle. Of course I would pipe up with my five-year-old voice.
Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible.
Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born.
Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.
Computing spread out much, much faster than educating unsophisticated people can happen. In the last 25 years or so, we actually got something like a pop culture, similar to what happened when television came on the scene and some of its inventors thought it would be a way of getting Shakespeare to the masses. But they forgot that you have to be more sophisticated and have more perspective to understand Shakespeare. What television was able to do was to capture people as they were. So I think the lack of a real computer science today, and the lack of real software engineering today, is partly due to this pop culture.
Most creativity is a transition from one context into another where things are more surprising. There’s an element of surprise, and especially in science, there is often laughter that goes along with the “Aha.” Art also has this element. Our job is to remind us that there are more contexts than the one that we’re in — the one that we think is real.
I hired finishers because I’m a good starter and a poor finisher.
The future is not laid out on a track. It is something that we can decide, and to the extent that we do not violate any known laws of the universe, we can probably make it work the way that we want to.
The real romance is out ahead and yet to come. The computer revolution hasn't started yet. Don't be misled by the enormous flow of money into bad defacto standards for unsophisticated buyers using poor adaptations of incomplete ideas.
A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.