Apple Ive OLPC Nussbaum Apple Ive

Posted on Tuesday 25 September 2007

I’m noticing some traffic to this blog by way of an old post over on Nussbaum (Link). I suspect his entry may be getting fed by something I read earlier in the day over on C|Net, “A designer as CEO: Should Jonathan Ive be Apple’s next leader?” (Link). That entry, written by frogdesign‘s resident marketing guy, Tim Leberecht, posits the headline question in response to an open letter/post on the bplusd blog (Link) and then answers it with interrogatives:

In other words: maybe what Jonathan Ive needs is an MBA? Maybe it’s not such a good idea to lift a designer into the chief executive chair after all? Maybe there’s still a vast gulf between managing design and managing a business? Maybe design is “more than just style” but business is also more than just design?

Well, here are my own interrogatives in response to those:

  • Maybe Steve Jobs should have gotten a degree – any degree – and then his MBA before founding Apple Computer with Wozniak.
  • Maybe Apple should rehire former Pepsico CEO and Wharton alum John Sculley… and turn the clock back to 1993 when Apple was in danger of going on the auction block.
  • Maybe people have forgotten that neither Bill Gates nor Google’s Page and Brin had business degrees before starting the two most formidable computer industry companies on the planet.
  • Maybe business isn’t more than anything; just another activity that doesn’t actually require an MBA to master. Kinda like both engineering and industrial design.
  • -

    Meanwhile, as I was surfing through Nussbaum’s blog, I happened to notice some recent, somewhat relevant posts:

    Why One Laptop Per Child Is A Failure.
    It’s Time To Call One Laptop Per Child A Failure,

    While I’ve been more supportive of the cell phone solution than the OLPC, Nussbaum seemed to be rather supportive of the project; calling out the design efforts of those involved on plenty of occasions. What’s amusing to me is how he still calls it a “great design” (and then has to explain himself in comments). It’s as if he’s forgotten that Design is more than just aesthetics. Maybe he’ll see some traffic to his site from the C|Net post and read my comment: a short piece about design vs (D)esign. Seems like he could use a refresher.

    1.  
      Larry Rosenthal
      9/26/2007 | 5:03 pm
       

      hey buddy:)

      about sculley….

      you DO know he got a degree in and was a praticing industrial designer before he went toward marketing design and then ended up at pepsi…..

      so whoops. the blog has struck again…..

    2.  
      9/26/2007 | 7:19 pm
       

      a) No. I wasn’t aware he was a “practicing industrial designer before he went toward marketing”. Considering the record seems to show he received his architectural bachelor’s in ’61 and his MBA in ’63, I’d be interested in hearing when he found time to do anything worth consideration in the ID field. Please enlighten us all.

      b) I’m unsure why that’s relevent. Last I checked, Sculley’s reputation was due to his marketing experience at Pepsico, not ID or even architecture. Did Jobs seek him out to be a Director of Design, or hire him for his Industrial Design skills?

      Funny thing. I can’t find any mention of his ID background… anywhere. What products did he design that earned him a reputation on par with Ive’s? Certainly there’s a point you’re making… besides attempting once again to win me over with your *cough* intelligence.

      Please. Show me how smart you are. Your unwillingness to simply go away indicates you need my approval, so give me some small reason to think you’re anything but a blowhard.

    3.  
      Larry Rosenthal
      9/27/2007 | 7:14 pm
       

      1. he himself described himself as an “industrial designer “to a writer friend of mine in 1995. ( PS- while she was writing about others DOING web3d – primarily my nyvrmlsig;)) so ill take his word on his background via her, as opposed to a wiki by who? and your assumptions as to what the wiki really means or says.:)

      2. but what /when his degree title was means little to what type of work he specialized in as a designer as YOU should know Industrial design programs offer everthing from BA to BID to BFAs etc…. and in the 1960s many programs directed to what would become industrial design courses in later years were under architeture departments…. Bellini has if i remeber correctly an architecture degree, but his life works are certainly known as “industrial-product” design.

      3. marketing design, POP, communications etc is certainly an important, and up to the digital age, the most lucrative of industrial designers fields of professional interest…… id say the displines “worthy”…lol

      SO… in fact his RISE at PEPSI does help make your rebuttal points….

      BUT….

      4. WHAT is shown is that you killed your own rebuttal by listing him as a MBA and assuming that this DEGREE was why apple was at a long time low during his tenure..ITS the opposite of your other PRO ID as company leader Points, and CEO types noted and thus proves again your need for a editor and the need for you to do more homework first rather than just ‘blog” your so called expertise and blowhardisms…

      5. Why jobs hires him is not releveant to my point. His relation to Ives is unimportant point…Silly thing is, i agree that Design as a process practice orients many to be good CEOs…. and that great CEOs and practitioners and those educated as Designers are NOT exclusive thoughts.

      6. approval LOL.. right…. if you didnt post the note,id be fine, in fact youve said youd wouldnt post me anymore… so its you looking for notariaty and contraversy to help promote yourself as expert and pundit…–im not prok…lol..or nussbaum..lol i dont blog.
      .. all i was doing was attempting to indicate to you again the false notes you hit.. even more so when they hilight the problems in an otherwise good argument.

      what you do or how you react is up to you..

      post or not.. up to you you podium..er blog.

      smart Larry

    4.  
      9/27/2007 | 9:04 pm
       

      Poor Larry Rosenthal. Can’t keep away. Must be lonely in cube3land.

      Well, for the sake of a good laugh, I’ll post your comment, smart Larry. And this…

      1) You’re once again assuming; a bad habit of yours, young man. I’m not relying on any wiki. Which should be obvious to a supremely smart guy like yourself considering the Wikipedia – to which I’m assuming you’re referring – doesn’t list the date of his graduation from Brown. Guess that detail got by you.

      Anyway, hearsay doesn’t cut it. For all we know he was blowing smoke up her ass. Provide us with some facts:

      - Where he worked.
      - When he worked.
      - The actual things he designed.
      - Names of references.

      That sort of thing. The kind of thing a smart person has available before they go off claiming they know something for a fact.

      2) Considering I’m older than you, it should come as little surprise that I did consider this point (especially since my own background is another example: aerospace degree > navigating ships on the ocean). But I’m glad you raise it, because it reinforces my position: it’s not the degree but the work that matters. And Sculley was hired not for his mythical design skills, but his success as a marketer at Pepsico. No one (except for maybe you and your writer friend) thinks of Sculley as a designer.

      But of course, the problem isn’t in the degree matching the work, it’s in your assertion that before he jumped into marketing, he worked as an industrial designer… presumably for a period of time that makes it noteworthy and significant.

      So when did this happen, Larry? When, between his graduation from Brown in 1961 and his entry into Wharton (Fall of ’61?) did he amass all this notable industrial design experience that you want to call out as being relevant to the point being made in this post? Facts. Not hearsay, smart Larry. Facts.

      3&4) Sorry, Larry. Nowhere in my post do I call out Sculley’s MBA. Nor do I mention it on my comment on C|Net; nor in my comment on bplusd.

      I call out two significant parts of his personal history: his being the CEO of Pepsico and his educational background related to his rise at Pepsi. And since Wharton is considered one of the best business schools in the world, that makes its inclusion particularly important, afaic. It’s more than the degree, it’s everything the school stands for in addition to the MBA.

      Consequently, your saying “listing him as a MBA and assuming that this DEGREE was why apple was at a long time low during his tenure” is yet another mistake. Nowhere am I claiming his DEGREE was the reason for Apple’s problems. I’m pointing out that his experience as Pepsico’s CEO – a position he earned through his marketing success which is at least partly attributable to his outstanding business education at Wharton – didn’t help him achieve similar success at Apple. In other words: it wasn’t enough.

      You see, people are focusing on degrees and titles, and my entire point is that plugging in a degree isn’t sufficient. A company like Apple needs more than an occupational specialty, whether it be marketing, finance, engineering, industrial design or anything else. None of them matter when the company itself is a (D)esign.

      5) Why Jobs hired him is relevant to my point. Your point is worthless.

      6) I don’t recall saying I’d never post anything you wrote; rather, I’ve said the following on particular posts:

      Don’t bother posting again. While never too much, pointing out a neverending stream of pomposity does become tiresome.

      and

      Don’t expect to see another posted.

      Maybe I did say that… somewhere. Does it matter? No.

      As for “looking for notariaty and contraversy to help promote yourself as expert and pundit“, if I’m looking for those things (which I’m not, I have other motivations), what difference does it make? If I lied and said those were my motivations, so what? What’s it to you? Why do you care? and why are you reading what I write if it’s an issue?

      I know why. The real reason you don’t blog is because you realize no one will care to read what you have to write, and your overblown ego couldn’t take being so obviously ignored. So you go around contributing your smug little droppings wherever you can; part of your so-called Google IP effort or whatever.

      Well smart Larry, unless you have facts, once again I’ll tell you not to expect to see anything posted. You’re not-so-smart comments are, in fact, tiresome. And while somewhat amusing, it gets old. So go off and leave some droppings elsewhere.

    5.  
      9/29/2007 | 12:33 am
       

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