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The Back Of The Cabinet

Posted on by Brian Hertzog

Lately, I've finally started reading the biography of Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson.  In one of the opening chapters regarding Steve's early life as a child, Isaacson remarks on a philosophy Jobs inherited from his father.

Paul Jobs was a mechanic.  He could build almost anything with his hands.  And, he appreciated craftsmanship so much, that he would finish the backs of the cabinets.  The reason this is so notable is that no one sees the backs of the cabinets.  They only see the front.  Taking the time to build something beautiful from the inside out, even the parts that are rarely if ever seen by the public, is remarkable.

Do I sound like an Apple commercial yet?  It is amazing how this has creeped in to Apple's DNA.  Steve might say "this is profound."  And he would be right.

How often do we "finish the backs of the cabinets"?  How much time do we invest searching for the most for the least?  How many IKEA kits have real wood on the back of the shelf?  Building beautiful products from the inside out is becoming a lost art.  Today, we are about economy, practicality, efficiency.  There is no time or money to finish the backs of the cabinets.  Who cares?

Artists care.  People who are bold enough to think different care.  Whether it is saving that extra line of code on the back end, or taking the extra second to push in our chair, finishing the back of the cabinet for the sake of making something beautiful is profound.

iCare.  Because some one took the time to make something beautiful.  And they did it simply because they could.  They were brave enough to think different.  They cared about making art, and they damn well cared about finishing the backs of the cabinets.