I’ve been searching for material to get a gauge on Jony Ive. Jony is one of the most important and influential people alive today; knowing more about him is advantageous in understanding Apple.
I was delighted, then, to run into Jony’s interview with Charlie Rose (via Shawn King, The Loop) held last year. The video itself is a little longer than an hour and its a crummy job. Good luck trying to avoid the banners at the right and bottom sides. It’s a must-watch though. There’s a lot to be learned here.
A few observations:
- If you’ve ever seen Jony seated front-row in one of Apple’s Keynotes, you come off with an impression that he must be an intimidating individual. This video shows you how soft-spoken the man truly is.
- While watching Jony talk, I kept thinking about how closely his unrehearsed narrative resembles the rehearsed narrative in one of Apple’s ads. This is remarkable — he truly believes what he says in those ads. It’s good to know he isn’t always simply playing along with the script.
- It’s amazing how much one can talk, focused throughout on one topic, and not give away anything that isn’t planned.
- The glow on his face when his friendship with Steve Jobs is mentioned exudes childish excitement — its heartwarming.
- Notice how many of Charlie’s questions, Jony answers not as simple ‘yes’, ‘no’ or definitive statements. Instead, he relies on the abstract to try and convey his point. This is in stark contrast with people like Tim Cook or Craig Federighi, who are bold and succinct in their answers.
Maybe I’m reading into this too much but I firmly believe this difference is attributable to the difference in backgrounds of the former and the latter — Jony deals primarily in how a product feels whereas Tim and Craig are tasked with measuring the ups and downs of a product. (Of course this is a gross oversimplification in favour of conveying the point.)
- Lastly, when Jony inevitably does leave Apple, I don’t think Apple would lose its taste in design. Over the years, the company, its people and its culture have Apple’s design-first approach imbued in them. Jony is just one of the many faces that represent that philosophy, albeit the most important one.