Learning From Dad
Earlier this week The Telegraph published an interview with Jonathan Ive by Shane Richmond. In it, Ive talks about the early influence of his dad:
Ive was born in 1967 in Chingford, Essex, but raised in Staffordshire, where he went to Walton High School, a large comprehensive in Stafford. He says his father, a teacher, was a significant influence on his decision to pursue design. “My father was a very good craftsman. He made furniture, he made silverware and he had an incredible gift in terms of how you can make something yourself.”
Ive talks about Apple’s attention to detail in its products – details that often won’t be seen by consumers at all – as a desire to “finish the back of the drawer”. “We do it because we think it’s right,” he says. The seed of that idea was planted while watching his father work. “Growing up, I enjoyed drawing but it was always in the service of an idea. I drew all the time and I enjoyed making.”
Sounds eerily similar to another dude who used to work at Apple.
Maybe his best friend and boss, Steve Jobs. Here’s a piece from his biography by Walter Isaacson:
Jobs remembered being impressed by his father’s focus on craftmanship. “I thought my dad’s sense of design was pretty good,” he said, “because he knew how to build anything. If we needed a cabinet, he would build it. When he built our fence, he gave me a hammer so I could work with him.”
Fifty years later the fence still surrounds the back and side yards of the house in Mountain View. As Jobs showed it off to me, he caressed the stockade panels and recalled a lesson that his father implanted deeply in him. It was important, his father said, to craft the back of the cabinets and fences properly, even though they were hidden. “He loved doing things right. He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.”
The more I learn about Jobs and Ive, the more I understand why they worked so well together.