Longtime readers know I’m no fan of Steve Jobs, but this 1996 interview in Wired – from when he was still at NeXT – is brilliant. It explains a lot about where he’s coming from now.
Now Jobs is making a third guess about the future. His passion these days is for objects. Objects are software modules that can be combined into new applications (see “Get Ready for Web Objects”), much as pieces of Lego are built into toy houses. Jobs argues that objects are the key to keeping up with the exponential growth of the World Wide Web. And it’s commerce, he says, that will fuel the next phase of the Web explosion.
WebObjects is still around – it’s a web application framework closer to Ruby on Rails than Momcomp or JackBe. But I have to hand it to him, he was ahead of the times. Remember that Jobs’ original vision for the iPhone was based around mobile web apps, not the app store.
The problem is I’m older now, I’m 40 years old, and this stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t.
That’s going to break people’s hearts.
I’m sorry, it’s true. Having children really changes your view on these things. We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much – if at all.
These technologies can make life easier, can let us touch people we might not otherwise. You may have a child with a birth defect and be able to get in touch with other parents and support groups, get medical information, the latest experimental drugs. These things can profoundly influence life. I’m not downplaying that. But it’s a disservice to constantly put things in this radical new light – that it’s going to change everything. Things don’t have to change the world to be important. […]
I don’t see most people using the Web to get more information. We’re already in information overload. No matter how much information the Web can dish out, most people get far more information than they can assimilate anyway. […]
To be honest, most people who have something to say get published now. […]
When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth. […]
I’m an optimist in the sense that I believe humans are noble and honorable, and some of them are really smart. I have a very optimistic view of individuals. As individuals, people are inherently good. I have a somewhat more pessimistic view of people in groups. And I remain extremely concerned when I see what’s happening in our country, which is in many ways the luckiest place in the world. We don’t seem to be excited about making our country a better place for our kids.
(via Chris Jones)