One night in Apple’s headquarters, Steve Jobs was toiling away when he discovered a mangy British designer surrounded by hundreds of prototypes and blueprints. Although it can’t be 100% certain what Jobs’ first impression was of this man, regardless he came to the conclusion in a short span of time that he would reinvent the face of his company. That man was Jony Ive.
Jony Ive was diagnosed with the learning disability commonly referred to as Dyslexia, a fact unknown to many. However, this didn’t stop the fascination he slowly began to develop about how objects could be disassembled and put back together. Although his creations weren’t always successful, it was one of the first elements that would eventually lead to the creation of the iPhone and iPad.
During his childhood, Jony Ive attended Chingford Foundation School, during the time which his fascination about building things started to develop. “As a young boy, Jony exhibited a curiosity about the workings of things. He became fascinated by how objects were put together, carefully dismantling radios and cassette recorders, intrigued with how they were assembled, how the pieces fit. Though he tried to put the equipment back together again, he didn’t always succeed.”
With new lessons learnt and knowing that failure was the opportunity for his curiosity to grow, Jony Ive continued his hobby. Momentum for something he loved stacked like bricks on a house. Soon, his fondness for design took one more step as he simply didn’t want to know how to take them apart, but “how they were made, how they worked, their form and material.” It wasn’t long until his teachers realized young Jony’s potential, and decided to enroll one of his projects which was an overhead projector(OHP) to the Young Engineer of the Year Award along with other students. “For the first round, the entrants submitted graphics, drawings and photographs. The most interesting designs were then chosen for the next stage of the competition. Jony’s portable OHP project was among those selected for round two.” Now at this point, a person may think that Jony’s intellect and project won the judges over and swept the competition by clenching first prize. However, it seemed destiny had something else in store for young Jony.
“Before sending his OHP for the next stage of judging, Jony took it apart for a final clean and polish. When he put it back together, however, he inadvertently inserted the lens backward. As a result, instead of projecting a clear image, the inverted Frensel lens sprayed light in all directions, rendering the image indistinguishable. As submitted, the device was useless, and the judges rejected Jony’s design.” Even the man who people regard today as the “World’s leading technology innovator,” was prone to making mistakes with his inventions. Today, Jony Ive has mastered the art of perfecting even the smallest of details when making his products.
Jony Ive realized his passion through curiosity, and majorly cited Steve Jobs who inspired him to take his passion for “designing something wonderful” forward. That is why when he was offered Job’s position as CEO, he turned it down by simply stating that “All I’ve ever wanted to do is design and make; it’s what I love doing,” he told one interviewer. “It’s great if you can find if you love what you do. Finding it is one thing but then to be able to practice that and be preoccupied with that is another.” Moreover, his rejection was another milestone in his life, and took each failure and rejection as lessons to further his interest in making the best possible product. When giving a eulogy for Steve Jobs, Ive stated that “Jobs constantly questioned ‘Is this good enough? is this right?’ He saw that Jobs was not at all obsessed with making millions of dollars for himself, but made it simply “as the celebration of making something great for everybody, enjoying the defeat of cynicism…the rejection of being told a hundred times, ‘You can’t do that.’” From his time at Apple, Jony Ive has continued to follow Steve Jobs way of asking himself if this is the best he can do before launching it in front of the world.
As of now, Jony Ive and the Apple team have launched the much talked about iPhone X, iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3, and the newly refined 4k Apple Tv. Ive’s unique design and eye for detail on his products is in constant admiration from technology consumers. We should always remember that if we are ever in a problem we think is impossible to solve, or are simply scared of failing on our dream project, we should remember this saying from Jony Ive. “There’s no learning without trying lots of ideas and failing lots of times.” Failure is just another way of telling us that we need to try something another way. Ive faced countless failures and rejections from highly achieved professionals before eventually revolutionizing the entire landscape for smartphone culture. Because a leader flies, a leader falls, but a leader never stops until their goal is reached.
Author Bio: Murtaza Hussain
- Kahney, Leander. Jony Ive: the Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products. Penguin Putnam Inc, 2014.
- “Jonathan Ive Quotes.” BrainyQuote, Xplore, www.brainyquote.com/authors/jonathan_ive.