i am thinking, and i know it’s stupid, to close up shop and do something other than computers. not that i can do anything BUT computers, (seriously, what good would i be to anyone?) but there’s a field of sheepdogs out there waiting to be trained, a garden of organic dirt waiting to be planted, other things in the world out there. OUT THERE.
it’s just that everything i have i owe to the world of technology and there’s no one else who can run the world of technology like Steve Jobs. now that he’s gone there isn’t anyone who can hold up the fort, who’s there in the top rung of the business world, who seems to have the same expectations about taste, the same belief in the integrity of ideas, and my style of nitty gritty control-freaking tweaking.
over the years there’s been a lot of things my father has called me that has pissed me off but the one thing i’ve never forgiven him for is calling me an “Apple nut,” and he wasn’t talking breakfast cereal. he was the person who said “someday computers will be huge” and he was the one that made me take a Fortran class in high school, and even he, didn’t get it.
though it was great fun to program and i still love the phrase “to compile,” i wasn’t that interested in computers themselves in high school, and remained neutral through college, where my first interaction with the PC using Word Perfect turned into pure stupidness when i decided to change the font one hour before my paper was due. my moment came when a friend showed me on the Macintosh using new software called Quark how to change the spacing between letters. we were designing a business card for an old retired city planner (who had need of girls to eat lunch with, not business cards) but after i saw the letters jump one pixel at a time i kept telling my friend “Make it do it again. Again. Again.”
now our little business of “programming and designing the things you need a computer to do” is 16 years old and we still give everything we can to our clients. we care about the little things. we care about the big picture. we follow all our original slogans: “we think for you,” “we’re friends with shortbreads,” “rising above, with soft paws,” and “we’re better with butter.” literally and metaphorically, we’ve been up at all hours, changing the spacing between letters. and all this, because we’ve felt that if we could make things better, make things more efficient, make things more elegant, then it was all worth it.
for one of our first Filemaker jobs we cut our client’s job from two weeks of manual cut-and-paste labor down to the time it took to click on a button and get a fresh cup of coffee. when we showed her that we put a picture of Snoopy on the button she started to cry.
for one of our latest Filemaker jobs we set up a system using Filemaker Go on an iTouch so that employees who drive throughout Los Angeles county inspecting properties for sale can upload their notes at any wireless access point, rather then driving back to the office in rush hour traffic every night and then back home. one of the guys told me he now sees his baby at least three hours a day more than before.
always in the back of our minds we knew we were not alone. somewhere in Cupertino of all places was Steve Jobs and he was showing on a much grander scale that if he could make things better, make things more efficient, make things more elegant, then it was all worth it.
we get a look every now and then when we try to explain how we went to art school and how that makes us exceptional problem solvers and how we see things differently, and the potential client is just not getting it. it’s not like several years ago when an administrator was afraid to mention our company’s name to his boss because he thought our name was… er… well… worrisome. (we ended up telling him that his boss should be more concerned with the names of our clients than our name and after getting that list from us decided to recommend us). it’s not like the look you get if you order a steak at a vegetarian restaurant. in the restaurant they simply think you’re crazy, in the technology world there’s a hint of fear: we’re weird, we’re knowledgable, and we’re sitting in their true black Aeron chairs.
now the tables are turned. suddenly, looking out, there’s real fear on our end.