I just finished Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar. If you want to understand how Pixar works, it is of course a great book to read.
The book also includes an extra chapter on Steve Jobs. When most people think of Steve Jobs, they think of Apple. Not quite as well known, though, is his involvement with Pixar. He helped co-found the company in 1986 when he bought it off of Lucasfilm. But Catmull also credits Pixar with helping Jobs grow as a person, and he credits Jobs with helping Pixar grow.
In my favorite quote from this chapter, Catmull explains how Jobs was able to earn the respect of Pixar’s directors by critiquing their ideas rather than the source of their ideas:
People often place too much significance on the source of an idea, accepting it (or not criticizing it) because it comes from Steve or a respected director. But Steve had no interest in that kind of affirmation. Countless times, I remember watching him toss ideas—pretty far-out ideas—into the air, just to see how they played. And if they didn’t play well, he would move on.
Catmull was likely referring to Steve’s ideas for Pixar, but it applies just as well to his ideas for Apple.
In the same vein, Jobs told Tim Cook not to ask, “What would Steve do?” after he died, but to “Just do what’s right.”
I’m living in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, this summer, and I like donuts. So I’m going to try out some of the nearby donut shops (and cafés and restaurants). Then I’ll let you know what I think of them.
DeAngelis Donuts was founded in 1947 by Joseph DeAngelis. The first DeAngelis Donuts started in Beaver Falls, and the DeAngelis family eventually opened up two other stores—one in Chippewa and one in Rochester. The one in Rochester is the only one left.
DeAngelis Donuts serves up a pretty standard donut in a small shop in Rochester. The donuts they serve are good, but not great, and overall, DeAngelis reminded me of a cross between a Krispy Kreme and a Dunkin’ Donuts.
When I walked in, I was surprised to see a counter I could sit at to eat my donuts, like at a Waffle House or an old diner. I wasn’t in a rush, so I took a seat after ordering two plain, glazed donuts and one double chocolate. The waitress brought me my order right away and poured me a cup of coffee.
Once I had my donuts, I noticed a large window in front of me that let me look into the machinery that makes the donuts. Unfortunately, the machine was not running. This was one of the things that reminded me of Krispy Kreme.
The other thing was the plain, glazed donut. It was a light and fluffy donut, rather than a cake donut. This donut was quite good. It was similar to Krispy Kreme’s plain, glazed donut, but I think I liked DeAngelis’s more.
The other donut—the double chocolate—was a cake donut, and this reminded me of Dunkin’ Donuts. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as Dunkin’ Donuts’s double chocolate. It was a bit stale, and the chocolate flavor wasn’t anything special.
I also ordered coffee. I liked it, but didn’t think it was particularly good. That said, I still have trouble determining what makes a good cup of coffee.
Overall, I liked DeAngelis Donuts. It wasn’t fancy, like a bunch of the donut places in Chicago, but that is fine with me, and their donuts are priced accordingly.
Great take on the whole Facebook feelings study by Jessica Ferris.
I especially liked this part, on alternatives to Facebook:
I have been pretty happy on Twitter. I have been pretty happy with e-mails and snail mail and old-fashioned chat rooms with friends. Diaspora is a thing, though I don’t know if anyone is actually on it. I make art that requires people to be in the same room with one another to experience it, and being in the same room is a thing too. This is a meager start of a brainstorm.
This month we celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of Founders Online – a tool for seamless searching across the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. In the past year, the site has received over 400,000 visits.
An example of the power of the site shows in its great search results. When I searched for “Cotton,” “Beverly,” and “Washington,” the results returned the exact document I had in mind – a diary entry by George Washington written in 1789 remarking on his visit to the cotton manufactury in my home town of Beverly, Massachusetts.