John Gruber on the “Auteur Theory of Design” from Macworld 2009

Sun, Feb 7, 2010


Check out a great speech from DF’s John Gruber titled “Auteur Theory of Design” where he examines why some companies with a boatload of talented and creative engineers still manage to produce second rate products. It’s an engaging discussion, and though some of it may come across as obvious, Gruber does an admirable job of relaying his points in a way that make them seem fresh and instructive, and ultimately the viewer gets a better grasp on how companies like Apple (where everything has to pass through Steve Jobs) are able to outmaneuver larger companies with greater resources. The video is also particularly timely in light of the recent bashing levied upon Microsoft by former VP Dick Brass for Redmond’s inability to innovate and ship to market.

On a somewhat related note, when Palm CEO and former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein was asked about the biggest thing he learned from all the years he spent working alongside Steve Jobs at both NeXT and Apple, he answered:

“I learned a sense of taste at Apple. I learned how to make products for consumers rather than engineers.”

And like Gruber mentions, if the person making the final decisions has no taste, then it makes no difference how talented the people working below him actually are.

Note: The video above is from Macworld 2009. Macworld 2010 is set to take place from February 9 to February 13. Apple, of course, won’t be in attendance but David Pogue, John Gruber, and Leo Laporte will be just a few of the featured speakers at this year’s event.


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