Archive for the ‘refinement’ Tag

Thinking in 3: The iPod

I’m not an iPod junkie and use a hand-me-down I got given a few months ago. Before that I was carting around a Sony discman and a thick sleeve of CDs.

So I missed the evolution of the iPod, but John Maeda’s Laws of Simplicity filled me in (the 1-2-3 above).

What do you see in that diagram? You can recognise the final idea in the first stage. The second stage looks overthought – the worst of the three. The final idea? So familiar now you take it for granted. It’s all quidditas.

When I think of my own work, it tends to come in the same 3s. There’s a few ways you can frame this:

1. Intuition; 2. Awareness; 3. Knowledge

1. Amateur; 2. Professional; 3. Expert

Your first ideas often get to the nub of it. You’re not overthinking, no detail to get in the way – it’s when you’re thinking nimbly.

You can tell if you’re onto something at that first stage. The same way you can spot talent in an amateur.

At the second stage, the detail comes in. It can throttle your intuition and leave you bloated, overwrought. You’re too aware of what you’re meant to be doing.

To my mind, that’s why the word “professional” can have a negative connotation. You account for everything but say nothing. You don’t see that raw inspiration you get in an amateur, or that definition you get in an expert.

That comes out in the third stage. You go beyond awareness and into knowledge. You know well enough what you’re doing to harness the detail and use it precisely. You can organise and refine.

And you might find your idea nestling in a few million pockets around the world.