Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I'm annoyed that Gladwell classifies Jobs as a tweaker. He's not. He's a tastemaker. From TFA:

> When Vincent shouted, “You’ve got to tell me what you want,” Jobs shot back, “You’ve got to show me some stuff, and I’ll know it when I see it.”

Can you imagine one of the British hacker/tweakers in the article (or a hacker/tweaker you know) EVER saying something like that? The respect I have for role comes from them having both the vision AND the skill to take something someone else invented and make it fly. Jobs sees a thing, decides "that sucks" and has the people he hired bring him iterations with varying degrees of feedback until he's happy. That stretches the definition of tweaking so far it basically makes the word meaningless, lacking both the engineering and the raw ideas. Jobs is probably the best tastemaker of all time, a great presenter, and a great CEO, but comparing him to the great hackers of the Industrial Revolution is offensive to me.


Sure. I believe engineers are one of the major forces that improve society. There is a tendency from the business side to assign credit for this work to the person who provided the money (and in this case guidance) for the project. This annoys me but to a lesser extend because the money/environment really is an important part of the process.

In this case, Gladwell is basically crediting Jobs as being part of an engineering tradition that I highly respect without (afaict) Jobs actually possessing the key qualities of that tradition. Doing so makes Jobs look better at the expense of diluting the term, which strikes me as disrespectful to the hackers' accomplishments.

Edit: This is a response to (paraphrased) "Why are you so emotional about this?"

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact