The past week I received iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, a Steve Job’s biography of his life until 2005.

I’m about to start up a company but, for some reason that I can’t tell yet, it has to wait some time to get ready to see the light. So I’ve decided that I could use these months to learn more about the software business and learn about the companies’ success and failures. So my first choice has been this book.

The reason why I got interested about Seteve Jobs has lot to do with my interest in promoting and build market around free software. Apple has built a community of passionate users of their products, and I think that such success is not a coincidence or pure chance they followed specific stepes to achieve that goal. The marketing machinery around Apple and their products catch my attention and wakes a feeling close to envy, I would like to see the same kind of strategy used to promote free software, although some projects like Mozilla has reach a similar strategy. Jobs has been one of the brains behind that marketing (with its full meaning) strategy, It’s really funny to see his keynotes and the impact that it has into the media, even outside of their user base, they build great shows around their products announcement. On the other hand, I think that we should learn about the failures too, they had  lost the mass market once, and such failure wasn’t about chance either.

I’ve just finished the book and I’ve enjoyed it a lot, it talks about the three startups t Jobs has been involved in (Apple, NeXT and Pixar) with lot of attention on his failures, which had let me learn a lot of what kind of things shouldn’t be made while you run a company. I admire how him has turned Apple and Pixar into great successful companies but I disagree lot of the techniques he has used to achieve it, the book unleash a really dark side of him which is worth to know in order to be aware of what a good manager shouldn’t do.

Now that I have finished my book stack, I need to fill it, I’ve just ordered The Cluetrain Manifesto:  The End of Bussiones as Usual, a book about how to drive human oriented business using the internet as a main tool to let users and the whole company perform market through fluent conversation and I’ve also ordered Designing Interfaces from O’Reilly  to start learning formal user interface designing.

I’m about to go out to prepare the Ubuntu Installation Party that we’ve organized on the Free Software Office at the university. I’ll give a talk about the kind of cool things that users can do with Linux and Ubuntu’s GNOME, I’ll post some photos tonight.


4 thoughts on “iCon

  1. You might find Tidwell’s Designing Interfaces more as a useful reference than a step-by-step manual. What I’d recommend in order:
    1) The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper. A quick read, a good introduction to get you all fired up. (Alternatively the Design of Everyday Things by Norman serves just about as well, a little shorter and less redundant than Cooper I’ve found)
    2) Designing from Both Sides of the Screen – Literally walks you through the creation of a chat client by a designer & a developer, meanwhile covering the designer-developer collaborative process.
    3) Contextual Design – for user research – a great guide and reference.
    4) Designing Interfaces by Jennifer Tidwell – a good reference library of widgets & tools and the pros/cons of using them, and for which contexts they are best
    Also some good sites to follow are boxesandarrows.com and guuui.com; major mailing list is the ixda mailing list (ixda.org)


  2. Máirín:
    I really appreciate your hints on books about good interface design, I’m really interested in the matter but have no opportunity to learn about it other than books.
    I really need recomendation from people in order to perform a good self-taugting. 🙂
    The order is already done so… although I hate on-screen reading for texts longer than a blog post.
    Thanks for the Getting Real recomendation, Are 37signals the guys behind Ruby on Rails? (I’ll google about it anyway)


  3. I recommend you to read “Almost Perfect”, it’s a book about the rise and fall or WordPerfect Corporation.
    “The book, Almost Perfect, was originally published by Prima Publishing in 1994. It is the story of the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation from my point of view. The book sold a little less than 10,000 copies and is now out of print. The copy published here is almost identical to my original manuscript and does not contain Prima’s edits. In this version, I have corrected two factual errors, fixed five typos, deleted a few pages at the end, and added a final paragraph. – Pete Peterson”


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