What drove Steve Jobs?

In 1995 in the Lost Interview, Steve Jobs said that an article in Scientific American sparked his passion for building tools for humanity:

I read an article when I was very young, in Scientific American, and in it researchers measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on Earth. So, you know, bears, chimpanzees, racoons, fish…and humans were measured too.

How many kilocalories per kilometer did they spend to move?

The condor won. It was the most efficient. And mankind, the crown of creation, came with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. But someone there had the brilliance of measuring a human riding a bicycle. Blew away the condor. All the way up the charts.

And I remember that this really had an impact on me. Humans are tool builders, and we build tools that can dramatically amplify our innate human abilities.

That’s why we ran an ad in the early days at Apple: the personal computer was the bicycle of the mind. I believe that with every bone in my body. The computer will, as history unfolds and we look back, rank at the top among all human inventions.

Despite this, people still doubt the value of science and science magazines. 

The beauty of a blank page

For a writer, a blank page can be one of the most intimidating things. If he spends 10,000 hours in becoming an expert writer, then a big chunk of it tends to be spent staring at a blank page (on the screen or otherwise).

Likewise, the first sentence of an article may be the sentence that gets rewritten the most. After all, that first sentence marks the birth of a piece of writing and the end of the frustrating existence of a blank page.

But underneath all this annoyance, there lies beauty. The blank page is a world of possibilities. Some may find that overwhelming, but I find it exhilarating.

To me a blank page is like giving a sculptor the perfect chunk of stone: What is to become of it he does not know but he surely is looking forward to the end product. He knows that the hours in the middle will be spent sweating over each stroke of his hammer on the chisel, but that is the process that makes him feel alive. When the masterpiece is complete, the world will shower him with praises (or criticisms). The sculptor may find some pleasure in that, but he will have already begun looking for the next piece of stone to sculpt.

And there lies the trick: Sometimes we forget that the blank page is not just the means to an end.