When I was in sixth grade I designed my first printed masterpiece. It was an invitation to my Sixth Grade Blowout Bash.
My mom threw me a party for graduating elementary school. It was one of those events in which a parent decides they want to start a tradition for their kids. Since I’m the oldest I got to do it first. The tradition ended with my sister, who is my only other sibling, and will never be continued.
I carefully crafted the invitation in MS Paint. It had black and white checker border, balloons and confetti, and sported some ancestor of Comic Sans. I printed them on blue card-stock and handed one out to all the other sixth graders. “Yes, I made them myself!”
By the 7th grade it was universally understood that I knew twice as much about computers as anyone else in my family. If my dad was having trouble with his PC at work, I would ride my bike down after school and see what I could do. And by that I mean I would look intently at the File Manager as if I were searching for a very specific piece of information. Then I’d defragment the thing, reboot and tell him he needed a new monitor.
In high school I took both of the programming classes available to budding programmers — toying with the idea of a career in computers. But I’m too social, and the nerds I took those classes with were a little to weird for me — turning me off to a future at a cubicle.
But my interest in computers never waned.
After high school I took all my graduation money and bought a top-of-the-line blue laptop from Dell: A Five hundred megahertz Intel processor; Six gigabyte hard-drive; One-hundred and twenty-eight megabytes of RAM; Fourteen inch display. The thing was smokin’.
In college, my truly tech-savvy roommate laid the smack-down on me and I realized that I knew virtually nothing about my laptop and computers in general. The truth was revealed and I discovered I was a wannabe. (Though I did feel better after installing Winamp, Napster and a Nintendo emulator.)
Sure I knew a bit more about my operating system than the average user, but I found out about an entire community of users who knew way more than me.
After my freshman year, I dropped out of college and moved to Kansas City to join a ministry full-time as a drummer. The band I was playing with decided to start experimenting with drum-loops and other sorts of computer-powered musicianry.
I advised my friend who would be funding the endeavor to buy a Macintosh, saying: “They weren’t good for normal stuff, but they were good for music and graphics stuff.” He bought a 1st generation 12″ PowerBook G4. (It didn’t even come with an Airport back then, thought his 40 gig hard-drive blew the socks off my now aging Dell’s 6GBs.)
When the band’s new computer arrived we all went over to Marcus’ apartment to play with the new setup.
5 minutes with OS X and I was hooked.
I thought to myself, “This is not what I remember.” The colors, the layout, the look of the windows…it was different; it was incredible. It was fun.
It was in the 3rd and 4th and 5th grades that I learned to type on an Apple //e. It was in junior-high that I would play card-games on my grandparent’s Macintosh Classic. To me, Macs were neat little computers but they didn’t have a right mouse-button and seemed a bit “out of date” and “not for the serious user”.
It was that day in 2003 that I was actually introduced to Apple computers.
Now I hated my Dell. It went from “laptop powerhouse” to “clunky junky” in about 5 minutes. It took me two years to save up the money to buy my own 12″ PowerBook, and in 2005 I saw the renewal of that seed which was planted in me as a sixth grade designer and closet nerd.
Since using Apple computers, my perception of what technology can be has changed drastically. Technology is more than a tool to help us accomplish a task better; technology has the potential to improve our lives.
What then is the difference between a mundane task and a pleasant experience? Joy.
If you had the choice to drive to the grocery store in your old Chevy wagon or your friend’s new Dodge Viper, what would you choose? The Viper, right? Both get you to the store and back, but the Viper will plaster a smile on your face.
It goes for working too. If you have a job you love you never have to work a day in your life…the superficial end-goal of “enduring this crummy 9-5 so I can retire with the rich and famous” drifts away.
I read in Southwest’s Spirit Magazine (don’t ask) that 61% of self-employed entrepreneurs would not go back to working for someone else even if they were offered more money than they are currently making. Meaning there are men and women who have a job (9-5 or self-employed), and love what they do.
It’s because when you work a job you love it’s about the experience and the journey. Is that not what life is all about anyway?
When our life is only about the destination we miss out on all that happens and exists from here to there. And that is life itself. That is why the feel of an application means so much to us; it represents enjoyment of the journey which we long for in our own lives.