Ive & Abrams on Focus, Creativity, & More

Ive, Abrams, Vanity Fair

If you’re looking for good company, this video might do the trick. Lots of wonderful wisdom in it.

On Designing With Care

I really enjoyed when J.J. Abrams talked about how an Apple laptop, or even something simpler like an exceptional pen, makes him feel that what he’s writing needs to live up to the quality of the thing he’s writing with. He recognizes how much effort went into the thing he’s using and it motivates him to rise to that bar. Ive commented on that. He said two interesting things about it.

He said that most things that we interact with everyday are clearly designed by designers who did not strive to make it a wonderful product to use. Most designs are driven by time and cost, he said, and that it takes conscious effort to exclude those influences as often as possible.

It’s sad and frustrating that we are surrounded by products that seem to testify to a complete lack of care. That’s an interesting thing about an object. One object speaks volumes about the company that produced it and its values and priorities.

He also said that with time his memory of Steve Jobs has become simpler and less nuanced. What remains of his memory of Steve is how large a portion of who Jobs was, was defined by a basic desire to create wonderfully useful products.

On Focus

Ive said that Steve Jobs was a wonderful inspiration for focus. He admits that jobs was 20x more focused himself. Jobs often asked Ive how many things he’d said “no” to that day. Focus requires saying no to things that divide your attention and it’s a battle that’s tougher than most people are willing to admit. It’s not just not watching YouTube videos of cats. It’s “turning your back on projects you believe in passionately.”

On Process, Teams, & Working Intelligently

This part was so important to Ive that he went as far as to say that he would better remember his team and how they worked then the actual products they created. The way they work, for him, defines what is produced. It’s so important to him that he knows if they worked on it well, that was the victory, not the product.


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