A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
I mentioned earlier how I met Steve Jobs for the first time when he started a conversation with me in a restaurant, and after a few minutes of chat told me I should come to work for him. What I didn’t understand at the time was that the whole conversation, from the moment he learned I had been in management at IBM and Intel, was really a job interview—an unusual one.
Any other interviewer would have asked me, “Why did you leave IBM?” Steve instead asked, “What did you think about IBM?” I answered that IBM was set on a plan to control all the computer rooms in the world, and they did not see the value of personal computing. “In my first meeting with Mr. Watson,” I told Steve, “I tried to make the case that personal computing had a great future and IBM ought to be pursuing it. He said he agreed that was true. He didn’t actually say the company wasn’t going to adopt the idea, but told me I needed to be patient.”
But I also told Steve that I thought IBM was a great company, a very solid business, from development to sales, and that “I learned a lot about global business planning and operations.”
I mentioned that ...