It reinforces my view that Steve Jobs' brilliance was his ability to piece together seemingly disparate observations/lessons (in a mosaic theory like fashion) into a single game changing vision.
In case anyone is interested though, here are other logos that Paul Rand has designed: http://www.paul-rand.com/site/identity/
Amazing how many iconic logos are on that page.
Jobs paid Rand $100k for the NeXT brand identity, and Rand created a 100 page brochure detailing the brand.
Jobs on working with Rand: “I asked him if he would come up with a few options, and he said, ‘No, I will solve your problem for you and you will pay me. You don’t have to use the solution. If you want options go talk to other people.’”
There is an interesting comment posted about this topic by someone whose father worked as a technical writer on NeXT http://www.nextcomputers.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1590
Paul Rand was hired to design the logo for 50k, with the following rules: he would ask some questions concerning the mission of NEXT, and then he would leave. There will be no updates, no revisions, no meetings. he will return with a logo and if it is accepted, another 50k would be paid to him.
Mr. Rand returned with this small brochure (not the 100+ page document that is written about all over the net.. i think people got the 100 from the price of the logo design). This NEXT logo brochure really brings you into the mind of a great designer. Steve Jobs was so overtaken by this proposal, that he asked Mr. Rand if he could make copies... to use as marketing material to potential investors.
Replace square brackets with desired number.
>Make the new typeface a cross between Comic Sans and Papyrus!
But Steve was unique. Wearing the same clothes every day made sense for Steve and that is why Steve did that, period. He wasn't concerned about fashion or trends or what others thought - he did what he felt was right. Period.
That is the lesson of the article.
All the ones who wear suits?
I used to work for a engineering consulting firm. Kevin, the star engineer would wear polo shirts, blue jeans, and sneakers. Everyone one else at his level and above wore suit and tie.
One day the new boss told Kevin that he needed to wear a button down shirt, suit and tie to meet with the client. Kevin told him "You can't make me wear a suit and tie. My clients don't care what I wear." The simple moral of the story was clear: "if you make it rain, you make the rules."
OTOH, he wore jeans, sneakers, and a polo shirt every day. He was hardly a rebel.
Some workplaces are so strict about dress codes, they just won't change for any reason. Especially large corporate bureaucracies. They have a crazy like beliefs that dressing in some way will help their business more than actual work will.
And going against those norms actually will work against you.
"IBM officials often tried to accomodate Apple and vice versa so that both could comfortably work in unison. One popular anecdote talks of one of the first meetings between the two computer giants. IBM engineers dressed in blue jeans for the meeting, while Apple engineers dressed in suits. They both tried to make each other feel compfortable by conforming to what they thought the other was like."
But I wouldn't be surprised if it happened a lot.
I applaud that, but it hardly makes anyone unique. More than a few people have decided that, for example, a white t-shirt and blue jeans every day is a simple solution to a ultimately unimportant decision. Lots of people , OTOH, just wear whatever is nearest because they really don't give a crap about their appearance and they're happy that way.
There are real reasons to consider Jobs special. Hyperventilating over what amounts to a not-uncommon solution to dressing oneself trivializes him.
It does, at the very least, put Steve Jobs on a level no lower than that of Ernest P. Worrell.
He made a dedicated effort to create a fashion "brand" to the point that people know what kind of sneakers he wore.
Jobs might not have been a great engineer or techie, but he was a great visionary, designer, and marketer. He created (and recreated) one of the greatest brands in America. I don't doubt he applied the same principles to his wardrobe as he did to his company.
Paul Barnett, who was a lead video game designer for Warhammer Online. He wore the same clothes everyday for convenience (going out and purchasing a set of shirts/jeans/shoes in a single stroke) - which he would then change on a yearly/6monthly basis.
So it's interesting that here we have a story about how Steve Jobs tried to introduce a company uniform at Apple that emulated Sony. Especially odd given the "think different" slogan of the era.
In any case, I love the idea of a personal brand that doesn't change -- and also the practicality of never deciding what to wear.
Turns out that if you're not Steve Jobs this doesn't work so well. After I had ended the this phase I received a lot of comments from people assuming I just never changed clothes, or at the very least found it to be unpleasantly eccentric behavior. I'm pretty sure that if your true goal is a personal brand, unless you're already a very public figure, you don't want to go this route ;)
On the other hand if you aren't interested in personal brand, or are already branded as eccentric this does make clothes shopping and choosing an outfit much easier.
This particular problem appears to be close to being solved for me. I don't see a value in subscription, but reliable source of getting same high quality (providing test socks are going to high-quality) socks of the same color/design in bundles repeatedly is definitely a win.
Unlike Jobs, nobody notices.
And that with all identical pairs, I assert the solution is O(n), since there is a chance that you will have to iterate through all of your socks to find one with no holes/is clean. However, I think the latter case is Omega(1). Not quite so sure about the first one.
Now that I think of it, the mixed sock problem can actually be worse than O(n^2). For instance, if I decide that I want to wear my Marvin the Martian socks, and can only find one in the sock drawer, then it's a big problem. Look in the other drawers. Look under the bed. Look in the dryer. Repeat. Repeat. Until the other one is given up for lost.
Again, with ordering, searching drops to O(log n)
I try to mix it up a bit once in a while, but it always feels weird and I come back to my uniform.
All my clothes have slightly different colors and designs so people can't say that Im wearing the same clothes every day, but all of them follow the same style.
The jeans and shirts I rotate in my closet to manage fade level. I push freshly laundered garments into the center, shirts to the left, and jeans to the right. I pop them from the ends. When they start looking too faded, I replace them.
I live in a small town, and get a lot of weird looks. My personal brand is weirdo, apparently.
Also, I cut the bottom seams off all my jeans - not for fashion, but because stepping on them barefoot hurts my heels. They are cracked from practicing Tae Kwon Do on concrete.
There's some info in this interview with John Sculley: http://www.cultofmac.com/63295/john-sculley-on-steve-jobs-th...
He's defined publicly by his old failures and recent successes. I'd love to hear more about more recent failures as well.
In fact, Jobs was seen as quite a nuisance at Pixar, and the Pixar employees did as much as they could to limit his meddling. His style of management works at some companies, but not others, it would seem.
Apparently Jobs said the Amiga had "too much hardware" which confused chief engineer Jay Miner because all the Amiga's wizardry was handled by 3 custom chips. Wikipedia alleges that Jobs was just nervous about the Amiga upstaging the Mac, but it'd be great to know what his thoughts actually were. I suspect we'll never know...
I think the motivation was always there for beauty, but it wasn't until Windows 3 was introduced and successful (and the Mac was overpriced to $2500 by Sculley) that Apple could really accept that they weren't going to have it all, marketshare and creative focus. Fortunately for everyone they settled on the latter.
In "non-uniform dress code" united states, wearing uniform dress is quite non-conformist.
In "uniform dress" japan, wearing dressing like american is non-conformist.
I'd say that to be different in the areas most important to you (usually creative endeavors), you strip all the layers and unnecessary fluff off of your life and boil everything down to pure essence. For that reason, wearing the same thing every day actually liberates your senses and allows you to focus creative energies elsewhere.
This obviously doesn't apply to you if you are a fashion designer =) Jobs was a pretty busy guy, so i'm guessing that removing that extra decision each day actually helped his productivity and creativity.
Remember that he told the Mac group they were pirates inside Apple and the 1984 television ad. He could be both a conformist and nonconformist at the same time, or if he felt it suited it him.
This is important yet overlooked! There is a lot of advice for up and coming founders on HN (and other places) ranging from scalability minutiae to naming your company, which are all important of course, but there is very little advice on how to dress to create a personal signature style.
Why hasn't a site that aims to do this hackers/startup founders crop up, with advice like, what sort of sweater would look good with your Timbuk2 bag, etc.
Sweaters are deprecated.
That said, for a US company (especially at that time), such thinking was definitely 'outside the box,' so it could also be viewed as being consistent with the 'Think Different' slogan.
Maybe Jobs will also be included in this account of famous people with Asperger's syndrome.
And much like Jobs, he used to dress like a hippie flower child early in his career and he realized sometime later how dated that looked, so he needed a timeless look.
An interesting mystery! A lifetime's supply of Issey Miyake would surely obviate the need to by them from this random shop, right? Am I missing something?
For what it's worth, I hope they come from Miyake, who's a genius in his own right.
Bonus: another person who is staggeringly good at her job, wearing a black turtleneck:
"Jobs preferred $175 St. Croix cotton and microfiber mock black turtlenecks. According to Bernhard Brenner, the founder of Knitcraft, St. Croix’s parent company, Jobs bought about two dozen black turtlenecks each year."
Interesting to read about how he wore a uniform for better bonding purposes.
Edit: There is some allusion to it, yet no direct reference .. However, it seems he was generally interested in using Japanese fabrics to make clothes for workers in the 1970s, so it is definitely possible.
Translation: The design for the Sony uniform has changed several times, but the last uniform for the hiring of 1981 was a design of Issey Miyake.
Edit: there's an English version here http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/CorporateInfo/History/capsule/0...
edit: looks like I was beaten quite handily, I need to remember to refresh old tabs before replying...
I actually have, from a friend of a friend, a black long-sleeved sweatshirt made for Apple promoting iMovie. It's not quite a turtleneck but the resemblance is interesting.
Wolfe explains why he wore the suit and how it worked in practice when touring around with Kesey. Really great.
I realized that what you wear affects people offline about as much as your webpage's stylesheet does online. It shows your creativity, attention to detail, and sense of design, or lack thereof. What you're wearing is already influencing what people think of you, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. As with all those local businesses that don't think about their website.
It only matters if you care what other people think. If you can afford not to, or only interact with people virtually, great. But, whether you care or not, if you wear clothes that don't fit or the same outfit every day, people will probably think you have no taste/money/fun. There's a reason Steve Jobs used to dress like this:
You can bet he dressed differently at the Homebrew Computer Club meetings. And nothing wrong with programming in only a towel. Fashion is dynamic. Yes, it's just personal styling, but it's no more "superficial" than your CSS. Wearing a black or white t-shirt/polo/button-down and jeans/khakis is like using the default Wordpress/Posterous theme on your blog.
Does it really take that long to decide what to put on? Vint Cerf found time to dress with style and still invent the internet.
There's a reason software hasn't eaten politics, law, finance, apparel, and hospitality yet. Indochino and Airbnb are certainly a start with the latter two, and no surprise, they dress with style when appropriate.
Five minutes less spent thinking about what to wear each morning translates to 30 more hours a year you have to focus on the big things (products, strategy, family, exercise, whatever).
Prolly also has something to do with why he drove a Benz 55 AMG with 500 hp.
But you lose me with the last sentence. Nice cars allow busy people a couple pleasurable moments to themselves - moments well appreciated by those of us taking little to no vacation.
There are other more primal things that driving fast delivers too, I'm sure Jobs didn't just drive fast for efficiency reasons.
He branded himself as "the" innovator of our times. Was the turtleneck intentional marketing?