Tag Archives: john gruber

Creativity, an equation for success: Obsession x Voice

Here is a post from John Gruber about creative success. For publishers or anyone with a deep interest in something, “obsession times voice is a pretty good stab at a simple formula for doing it right.”

Obsession x Voice

  • What’s my obsession?
    • Surfing, sustainability, creativity, and technology.
  • What’s my voice?
    • Haven’t found that yet, despite being a loudmouth rambler. I do know I prefer positivity over controversy, brevity over run-on sentences, and quality over quantity, but it still feels like an amorphous blob to me.

A better definition from Merlin Mann:

“Topic times voice. Or, if you’re a little bit more of a maverick, obsession times voice. So what does that mean? I think all of the best nonfiction that has ever been made comes from the result of someone who can’t stop thinking about a certain topic — a very specific aspect of a certain topic in some cases. And second, they got really good at figuring out what they had to say about it.”

 

I think that gets us into the Malcom Gladwell 10,000 hours of practice territory.  You know the claim that real expertise in any topic takes 10,000 hours or anywhere from 5-10 years.

By my own arithmetic, I figure to be about halfway, 5,000 hours, into blogging. Give or take a few hundred. There is still a lot for me to learn and, indeed, every few weeks I learn something new that completely blows me away. Usually, a lesson that hits me like a punch in the stomach, but after each recovery I emerge better than ever.

A cycle that many of my creative readers will completely understand. Still, it’s good to hear other successful creatives come back and explain to us that “obsession x voice” is the equation for future success.

 

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Happy 10th Birthday to Daring Fireball – a role model for this blog

Happy 10th birthday, John Gruber, of the curation blog, Daring Fireball. A role model of mine in both style and eccentricity. I hope to one day achieve your level of excellence and also prove to the world that being a blogger can provide a happy life for me and my family.

A fellow writer, Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic, also pays tribute to Daring Fireball:

This, from a 2008 interview, is still a better articulation of the joy of reading great sequential writing than you’ll regularly find:

Gruber: I’ve always enjoyed the way that with good columnists, it’s not just that their individual articles stand on their own, but that there’s something greater than the sum of the parts when you follow them as a regular reader.

And he can still better articulate what’s fun and compelling about link-sharing (which he’s been doing since before we deemed it curation) than anyone. From the same interview:

Gruber: There’s a certain pace and rhythm to what I’m going for [when I share links], a mix of the technical, the artful, the thoughtful, and the absurd. In the same way that I strive to achieve a certain voice in my prose, as a writer, I strive for a certain voice with regard to what I link to. No single item I post to the Linked List is all that important. It’s the mix, the gestalt of an entire day’s worth taken together, that matters to me.

 

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Review of the reviews – Apple’s new iPad

A review of the reviews from Om Malik.

The new iPad reviews are out and here is my summary of those reviews:  LTE is fast, the retina display is stunning and immersive, the new processor is speedy, the camera takes great pictures now, and the more (1 GB) memory makes the iPad awesome. In short, it is totally worth buying and upgrading.

The new iPad is a little fat and little heavy, but don’t worry — wear an untucked shirt and no one would notice. Oh, but the way, bulk or not, it is still the tablet king and it totally kicks Android’s derriere. It is a little expensive, but don’t worry, it is worth it.

My favorite review is that by Dalrymple, so read it. The old hand Mossberg is still the gold standard when it comes to reviews. And Gruber is well Gruber.

via GigaOm

 

The only thing I have to add is that ars technica always has the best review but it takes several days to come out. I’ll post that once it hits the presses, until then enjoy these.

Apple, changing its ways after Steve via private product briefings

“We’re starting to do some things differently,” Phil Schiller said to me.

We were sitting in a comfortable hotel suite in Manhattan just over a week ago. I’d been summoned a few days earlier by Apple PR with the offer of a private “product briefing”. I had no idea heading into the meeting what it was about. I had no idea how it would be conducted. This was new territory for me, and I think, for Apple.

The meeting was structured and conducted very much like an Apple product announcement event. But instead of an auditorium with a stage and theater seating, it was simply with a couch, a chair, an iMac, and an Apple TV hooked up to a Sony HDTV. And instead of a room full of writers, journalists, and analysts, it was just me, Schiller, and two others from Apple.

Handshakes, a few pleasantries, good hot coffee, and then, well, then I got an Apple press event for one.

via John Gruber

Perhaps, Phil Schiller is doing several of these to learn the craft of “product briefing”?

We all know, from the Steve Jobs biography, that Steve spent a considerable amount of time perfecting his briefings and that skill came in very handy for Apple.

The technology community continues to reject Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs

The frustration with Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs continues. A week ago John Gruber pointed out a serious flaw in the biography and now Dave Winer and John Siracusa have joined in.

Dave Winer writes:

Choosing Walter Isaacson “was a terrible decision. My guess is that he didn’t put a lot of thought into the choice. Isaacson is exactly the kind of reporter he worked with for his whole career. People who don’t have any idea of what he does, or how tech products are developed. Who tell the same wrong heroic story over and over, one that sells magazines, but does not capture the process of developing tech products.”

And, from a commenter:

“I have found it to be extraordinarily repetitive on Jobs’ attitude, temper, control, and business competitiveness…I can’t tell how much of a technologist Jobs was or was not from his bio at all. And I can’t tell what his managerial approach was beyond telling people they could do better and coming back for the results.

“The story/bio is more clear on how he worked press and marketing, and perhaps those are as much the important parts in his mythology as others. Ultimately I don’t think this will let his kids know him well. Certainly it doesn’t let us know him well.”

I couldn’t agree more. Not only does Isaacson obsess over the conflicts in Steve’s life but he proclaims his diet and thinking “dubious” and wildly extreme. As if being a vegan is a new and strange concept, or if waiting to buy something because you want to do research is idiotic.

Continually, throughout the book I found myself wondering if Isaacson hates Steve Jobs, or has some personal issue with him. It reads not so much as a biography but as a series of conflicts that annoy Isaacson and interviews with Steve Jobs friends to confirm that annoyance.

I read it and enjoyed the new details about someone I admire, but I would not recommend this book to a friend. It would be better to wait for the next biographer to combine these new details into a real story that better understands this complex man.

The technology community continues to reject Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs

The frustration with Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs continues. A week ago John Gruber pointed out a serious flaw in the biography and now Dave Winer and John Siracusa have joined in.

Dave Winer writes:

Choosing Walter Isaacson “was a terrible decision. My guess is that he didn’t put a lot of thought into the choice. Isaacson is exactly the kind of reporter he worked with for his whole career. People who don’t have any idea of what he does, or how tech products are developed. Who tell the same wrong heroic story over and over, one that sells magazines, but does not capture the process of developing tech products.”

And, from a commenter:

“I have found it to be extraordinarily repetitive on Jobs’ attitude, temper, control, and business competitiveness…I can’t tell how much of a technologist Jobs was or was not from his bio at all. And I can’t tell what his managerial approach was beyond telling people they could do better and coming back for the results.

“The story/bio is more clear on how he worked press and marketing, and perhaps those are as much the important parts in his mythology as others. Ultimately I don’t think this will let his kids know him well. Certainly it doesn’t let us know him well.”

I couldn’t agree more. Not only does Isaacson obsess over the conflicts in Steve’s life but he proclaims his diet and thinking “dubious” and wildly extreme. As if being a vegan is a new and strange concept, or if waiting to buy something because you want to do research is idiotic.

Continually, throughout the book I found myself wondering if Isaacson hates Steve Jobs, or has some personal issue with him. It reads not so much as a biography but as a series of conflicts that annoy Isaacson and interviews with Steve Jobs friends to confirm that annoyance.

I read it and enjoyed the new details about someone I admire, but I would not recommend this book to a friend. It would be better to wait for the next biographer to combine these new details into a real story that better understands this complex man.