Then I thought: Steve won’t be able to see it or celebrate with him.
And that made me sort of sad.
But it also spawned this long rabbit trail of other thoughts that I wanted to record here and hopefully they make sense and possibly even inspire. Conviction, as a general word, is a firmly held belief. In design, that might mean a particular idea or methodology and there creates this table of positions:
I use the word ‘spine’ perhaps crudely. I mean, the willpower or drive to make things happen or assert oneself. So you can be assertive with no clear goal or reason and that makes you a jerk, or if you have no purpose and no willpower you’re really not doing much of anything at all. If you’re filled with conviction as to what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ but don’t bother making things better (I fall into this trap) you’re just a critic (read: outspoken slob). But, there’s this epitome on the upper right. I’ve made the boxes all the same size but realistically, this corner would be the tiny peak on the large mountain of people out there. This is the box I would put the legends into. The people like Jobs and Ive and Eames and Rams and Corbu and even people like Newton and Galileo. These are people with the drive and gumption to make things work, building on their held beliefs and convictions until they succeed or are thrown in jail (radicals ideas are rarely easily accepted).
This is where my bunny trail breaks down. A quote: “Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.” which is attributed to a bunch of different people, all of which to whom I apologize for it’s use here. The point is, I see a lot of designers with talent that hide their convictions and their ideas because of this false paranoia they surround themselves with. A truly great person, a true design hero just goes out and does it. Protect yourself legally, sure, but I want to encourage you to go out and be awesome instead of cowering in the corner (both physically and in my above table).
I realize, I’m just as guilty as anyone and these are things I write because I’m struggling through them as well. This blog is not a letter from the wise grandfather recalling what he did wrong – this blog is the friend who’s mistakes guide everyone around him.
I want to leave you with a poster made by Joey Roth, who is a young designer I deeply admire for his seemingly effortless ease in just going out and doing awesome work without hesitation:
So here’s to the crazy ones.