Steve Jobs: He Who Taught Us That Life Is About Connecting the Dots

If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.

Co-founder and former CEO of Apple, the late Steve Jobs, has had an influence on nearly every bit of consumer lifestyle technology in use. So, if you’re a music junkie, an over-caffeinated creative whiz, a corporate honcho or just someone who likes shiny new gadgets; know that there’s a good chance you love your devices because of Steve Jobs’ influence.

There aren’t very many people with nearly as much legend surrounding their professional lives as Jobs; anecdotes surround him aplenty, and every one of them makes for a fun tale. Most importantly, they unveil a wee bit about the enigmatic iceberg of a personality that Steve Jobs was.

Steve Jobs learns calligraphy, just because.

One of the most insightful nuggets about him is the story of what led to the beautiful typefaces we see on modern computers. Its roots, incidentally, go back all the way to his college days. Because of financial issues, Jobs dropped out from Reed College after barely six months. Still, he stuck around for a year and a half ‘dropping in’ instead; since he was no longer required to take any classes, he could just attend whatever he wanted.

He chose a calligraphy class, because the hand-drawn typography of the posters on the college campus caught his eye. He didn’t particularly know if he was benefiting from the class; what he did know was that it fascinated him, because even typefaces had so much about them that one doesn’t ordinarily stop to think about.

Calligraphy leads to beautiful typefaces.

A decade later, Steve Jobs was at the cusp of a personal computing revolution – he was involved with designing the Macintosh computer. While doing so, his knowledge of calligraphy came back to him, and he was single-handedly responsible for incorporating beautiful typefaces into the Mac.

The Macintosh went on to redefine what computers meant for home users, and one of the most important aspects of this was the fact that it was the first computer ever to have beautiful typography in its interface.

Since it is a known fact that Microsoft, in its Windows operating system, followed the Mac vis-à-vis its interface, it simply means that if Steve Jobs hadn’t dropped out of college and if he hadn’t decided to take on the calligraphy class, the computers we use in our daily lives might just not have had the pleasing typography that they do.

Action Summary:

  • Be curious. Try to learn from everywhere, all the time. Everything you learn comes of use at some point, because innovation is usually a product of multiple experiences and insights.

  • Trust your instinct. Do what you feel like. Back your gut to the hilt. You usually don’t know how the future will pan out, so your instinct is always your best bet.

~ Pradeep Menon