I have never endorsed such a plan. I have never suggested such a plan. But I cannot deny that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind as well as so many other libertarians and Ron Paul supporters of late.
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The competition for most startups is not the 10 other companies that are doing essentially the same thing, but NFL football, American Idol and the billion other things that people could be doing.
Edible clay by no means exhausted the region’s culinary creativity. To be sure, Andean Indians ate potatoes boiled, baked and mashed, as Europeans do now. But potatoes were also boiled, peeled, chopped and dried to make papas secas; fermented in stagnant water to create sticky, odoriferous toqosh; and ground to pulp, soaked in a jug and filtered to produce almidón de papa (potato starch). Most ubiquitous was chuño, which is made by spreading potatoes outside to freeze on cold nights, then thawing them in the morning sun. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles transform the spuds into soft, juicy blobs. Farmers squeeze out the water to produce chuño: stiff, styrofoam-like nodules much smaller and lighter than the original tubers. Cooked into a spicy Andean stew, they resemble gnocchi, the potato-flour dumplings in central Italy. Chuño can be kept for years without refrigeration—insurance against bad harvests. It was the food that sustained Inca armies.
Jobs’ relationship with Bill Gates goes back the furthest and is the most complicated. But the two pioneers of the PC era met one last time near the end of Jobs’ life and talked for several hours. Gates told Jobs that he proved his model—of controlling computer products from end to end—works. And Jobs said that Microsoft’s model of licensing out the OS to other manufacturers worked as well.
Only later did Gates relate to Isaacson: “What I didn’t tell Steve is that it only works when you have a Steve Jobs.” When Isaacson asked Jobs if he really thought the Microsoft model works, Jobs replied: “Yeah, it works, but only if you don’t mind making crappy products.”
To say we should have been better prepared or organized is to miss the point—large teams starting on a new project are inherently dysfunctional. One common consequence of all this chaos is that experienced engineers seclude themselves to their area of expertise. At a company like Google, this generally means infrastructure or backend architecture. A major externality of this is that fresh grads, and junior engineers are shunted to the UI layer. I have seen this happen time and again in a number of organizations, and it is a critical, unrecognized problem. UI is hard. You need the same mix of experienced talent working in the UI as you do with traditional “serious” stuff. This is where Apple is simply ahead of everyone else—taking design seriously is not about having a dictator fuss over seams and pixels. It’s about giving it the same consideration that you give any other critical part of the system.
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