Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And One More Thing ...

I just finished reading Steve Job's Biography by Walter Isaacson.

I'd describe it with just one word "fascinating."

Sorry Steve, I've got my copy of your Biography on my Amazon Kindle, but as I went from chapter to chapter, and through different stories, I had my iPod Touch on the other hand reviewing old documents, keynote speeches and product launches on YouTube.

I feel that Isaacson did a superb job to portray Steve Jobs as many of us imagined he was, it was really interesting to read the histories behind some of the products, the birth and rebirth of Apple as a company, the creativity and inspiration from Pixar, but the most interesting part was to get to know Steve in a more human plane, as a partner, a friend, a husband, a father, a dreamer, a human being.

I've always been a geek, a technology lover, and I may had some instances when I probably got in trouble to voice my opinion when I thought something was really a piece of shit.
I really took the time to read the biography enjoying every paragraph and reflecting after each story or event.

But one of the things that kept floating on my mind while I was reading and now that I just finished it, is: Why we don't have more people like Steve Jobs ?

And this question intersects with some reflections after reading another of my favorite authors, Sir Ken Robinson on "Out of Our Minds: Learning to be creative."

I strongly believe the answer is very simple: we don't let them be.

It is not something personal, as "we" I mean "the system", particularly the educational system and how we react when we notice that some kids are "different". Hellooooo, we are all different !!, but the system has been designed and ran as we were all equal and it is focused on moving the kids through it following a standard and fixed process. Yes there is such thing as "gifted and talented", but people like Steve Jobs probably would have never passed the test.

One of the typical reactions when "we" find that a kid is different, instead of having a system that can adapt to her/him, we try to force the kid to fit into it.

I think you should listen at what Sir Ken Robinson said at one of the best ever TED Talks.

I went through situations like this personally, we didn't know what it was and that ADHD even existed, and since it is on the genes, now being a parent I'm going through it with my kids.

It struck me when I read about Job's fourth grade teacher who challenged him to solve math problems with a giant lollipop as a reward, but later the challenge was most interesting and motivating than the reward. He was one of the lucky ones to have that teacher. I was lucky too when I was in secondary technical school and the priest that was the school's director saw me so enthusiastic and motivated on the electronics labs and other activities that he let me be on the labs all day. By the last year of school I was teaching my own classmates about digital electronics and microprocessors.

I feel that my kids are also lucky, because so far we've got teachers that can see beyond and recognize their natural talents, personality and creativity.

But it can't be that way, it can't be that by "luck" our kids have a chance to be what they naturally were born to be.

One of the things that I really regret about Steve Job's early departure, is that he recognized that we need a revolution in education, and that technology can play a big role on it. He was poised to do great things about it.

I just hope somebody follow on his legacy and we keep trying to create a better future for our kids and their kids.