In a book review in Fortune Magazine (7 November 2011) of "Steve Jobs: The Biography...His Rivalry With Bill Gates", one of Apple's early employees from the 1980's is quoted as saying "Each one thought he was smarter than the other one, but Steve generally treated Bill as someone who was slightly inferior, especially in matters of taste and style."
While Microsoft seemed to lead for many years especially in terms of "business acumen," in the end, Apple built the "more valuable company"--Jobs was the design extraordinare and his imagination for user-centric product designs like the iPhone, iPad, iMac and more touched people in ways that no "other business leader of our time could possibly match."
I have found that not everyone overtly appreciates the importance of design--and in fact, some people make fun of it, almost like children chanting "designer bobigner"--whether because they value function over design or they simply don't have "taste and style" like Steve Jobs complained about his rival.
In either case, I think people who seem or act oblivious to the importance of design are missing the incredible power of those who can develop products with an eye towards beauty, novelty, and functionality combined. A computer is a magnificent thinking machine, but an Apple is generally a work of art.
Think about how people neurotically cover their Apple devices with all sorts of protective cases as if it were a precious jewel instead of a just a phone or computer.
Art is treated as priceless, but a computer is often just a commodity. However, Steve Jobs knew how to combine the functional power of a computer with the design of a master.
While "Big Box" retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco continue to grow and expand, our world seems smaller because of it--their shelves and aisles are stocked high with rows and rows of commodity, look-a-like goods of toothpaste, sweat pants, and TVs; it is easy to forget that those products that are really valuable to us, usually aren't just good to use, but great to hold, feel, and look at.
In this light, I found two product designs that I thought were pretty cool to share.
The first is the white milk container that says Milk and the other is a box of tea bags, each bag with its own hanger for display and use of the side of a cup. The ideas are so simple, yet somehow so creative and appetizing. Two age-old commodities like milk and tea can be made new and special by how we package and meld with it in our environment.
Like the Chinese concept of feng shui, there are brilliant ways to develop our surroundings that energize and inspire, and great design is a magical element in a commodity world and what was not so long ago dominated by the one color black Ford Model-T.
Thank you Steve Jobs and the many other great design minds out there--keep the special things coming that make us say, "I want one!"(Source Photos: here)