The Connection King

At the end of G's informal classroom graduation, the teacher give each student a certificate of achievement. Together with that the teacher highlighted one thing that each child is particularly good at. Some are expected, "funniest", "always first to arrive", "great speller". It is not easy to come up with eighteen things that make each parent proud and somewhat behold to the truth.G's specialty was something of a surprise: he is the "connection king" -- how he always come up with a connection from one story to another, or from one topic to another during class activity. I am not sure the room gets what this means, but I sure do.

And I am extremely proud. One of my heroes explain the importance of being able to make connections in the quote below:

To design something really well you have to get it. You have to really grok what it's all about. It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something -- chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don't take the time to do that. Creativity is just connecting things.

When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they've had more experiences or have thought more about their experiences than other people have. Unfortunately, that's too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven't had very diverse experiences. They don't have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.

That was a wired magazine interview of Steve jobs. The person that brought Apple from near death to being the top of the world.

I have long believe the importance of being able to see connections between things, before I read the Steve Jobs quote. A much earlier quote, from 1989 said it also:

I begin to wonder how many things that I know would suddenly take on new meanings if only I could perceive the connections. I forsee a restless night.

-- Robert Scott Root-Bernstein, Discovery 1989 pg 265.

Therefore I am glad that G is showing this trait now. This will take him many wonderful places.