Wednesday, March 4, 2009

About blogging, user interfaces, Steve Jobs and Marissa Mayer at Google

So what do all these items have in common? Well, I have been trying to make a useful, and attractive blog using standard Google formats, and  I noticed a story in Sunday's New York Times business section about the multitalented  and chic Marissa Mayer  - VP at Google and Google's user interface tzar. Now, I love user interface thinking, and I love  Steve Jobs. And I worry about him and I worry about Apple computer without him in the lead. I was there when he was in charge the first time around, and I saw what happened when he was ousted. So, I hope you are doing well Steve! In the meantime I think Marissa Mayer might have some of the talents that Steve has and the chutzpah too. Could she be the one to step into those insanely great shoes?

I also happen to like her aesthetic, she like I,  grew up with Marimekko designs. My mother was a friend of the founder Armi Ratia.  They worked together at Taucher's Advertising agency in Helsinki. I spent my teenage years dressed in Marimekkos. Now I sleep in Marimekko duvets.
She also likes Dale Chihuly -  and collects his work.  Does she like Miro?
And she studies the users' reactions to the Google interfaces and says: Design is a science not an art; imagination is a muscle; and the user interface needs to be fast and easy to read  (no subtle gray on gray).  So read about her, and check out her technical speeches for Google. And tell me what you think.  
And see if you think my art is influenced by sleeping in Maija Isola's flowered sheets?

Found Charlie Rose's interview with Marissa Mayer! Cool!


  1. An interesting talk by a very bright lady. While flipping channels late last night I happened upon Charlie Rose on PBS, who was interviewing Marissa Mayer. I learned that she had come to Stanford as a biochemistry undergraduate but somehow decided that computer science was more interesting and was a stronger department, so she switched.

  2. Modo thanks! I'll have to see if I can find the Charlie Rose interview. By the way Marissa Mayer was talking about speech recognition (we've been there before!) do you think that is going to dominate computer human interaction at some point? My own feeling is that writing and speaking are such different uses of the language that it might never go beyond the giving simple commands/answers.
    So good night!

  3. Marissa Mayer, wow, employee #9 at Google. Interesting interview. I think she may need lots of good P.R. to be considered as a candidate to lead Apple. It may be a very a different culture there, requiring a dynamic, charismatic visionary?

    On my 3rd day at Apple in 1982, walking in a corridor with John D. Couch, head of the Lisa Division, I met Steve Jobs. John introduced me. Steve asked about my role in the Lisa project. I explained, and he said "You're wasting your time here, you should be working with us on the Macintosh." At that time, there were about 200 working on the Lisa and less than 20 working on the Mac... Two years later, upon the release of the Lisa 2.0, Steve canceled the Lisa Project to focus all development on the Mac, putting all the eggs into one basket, instead of having a dual-tier approach, with a high-end Lisa and a low-end Mac. It took about four years for the Mac to catch up with where the Lisa had been, and for hardware costs to deflate and enable that at a more reasonable price than the Lisa. Steve probably saw the market clearly, and history has rewarded his vision many times.

  4. Dear GeoFan, do you regret not having join the Mac stars?
    But I thank you for being on the international Lisa team - you were the best!

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  6. Iris, the answer to your question is ineffable.

    My loyalty to John, who hired me, did not permit me to consider Steve's offer seriously, and I left Apple 23 months later, when the Lisa project was canceled.

    Had I taken another path, I certainly wouldn't have met my wife-to-be... my two incredibly wonderful kids could not have been born... the un-vested stock options that could have materialized but didn't...

    Does each of our seemingly small choices - turning left instead of turning right - taking one fork instead of another - hitting the snooze alarm or going out for a jog... does each trivial decision we make potentially change history, totally, forever, for everyone?

    Iris, it's great to have worked with you, too!

  7. Hej gums!

    Vad kulatt du lade upp Marimekko bredvid dina egna alster... :-)

    Kram hela dan!

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