Monday, June 25, 2012

6/18 Alan Kay

The other evening a very special guest came to speak to our class, Alan Kay. Alan Kay has worked for both Xerox Parc and Apple. One of the things that stood out to me during his visit was the graph he drew on the board. This graph showed that only 4% of people like new ideas but are affected by society, and that 14% of people are just goal oriented and don’t care about the outside influences. The most interesting part about this is that 95% of people wont do anything new but 1% of people does care about the goodness of the idea and therefore invent new things. Alan Kay is part of this 1%. Another interesting thing he spoke about was C.P. Snows idea of two cultures, literary and scientific. He said that developed culture such as Jazz is not as important to the U.S. as pop culture. This is because the people are about identity and living in the present. In addition, Kay also spoke about Martin Luther as a user interface designer. I have never thought of a religious figure in these terms but it was interesting to connect Luther’s translation of the bible to a user interface designer. Lastly, Kay also gave us some interesting information about his close friend Steve Jobs. He said that Jobs was never a billionaire until Pixar went public and that he was never actually in the business for the money. In such a profit driven world I found it inspiring that such an important figure in the computer world was inventing products for reasons besides money.

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