Quote of the Week: Bill Gates on Google Loon

From an interview by Brad Stone for Bloomberg Businessweek:

One of Google’s convictions is that bringing Internet connectivity to less-developed countries can lead to all sorts of secondary benefits. It has a project to float broadband transmitters on balloons. Can bringing Internet access to parts of the world that don’t have it help solve problems?

Gates:

When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that. Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we’re going to do something about malaria.

Steve Jobs on Design

Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting them all together in new and different ways to get what you want. And every day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to fit these things together a little differently.

And it’s that process that is the magic.

“The Customer Experience is Always Broader Than that Which can be Defined by a Simple Number.”

Speaking of bad experiences, Tim Cook has recently gone on record talking about how Apple treats specification checklists and why people buy products:

“In the PC industry over the years, the way that companies competed were in two things: specs and price. People would say, 'I've got the largest drive,' or 'I've got the most megapixels.' The truth is that customers want a great experience and quality—they want that 'a-ha' moment,” Cook said. “These [specifications] are things that technology companies invent because they can't have a great experience, so they talk about the specs of something. […] The customer experience is always broader than that which can be defined by a simple number.”

Jacqui Cheng wrote that article and it’s all worth a read. She covers everything Tim said at the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference last week.

Voting is a Right

I do not disagree with Shawn Blanc about many things, but this specific line from a recent article of his made me stop in my tracks:

Voting is an immeasurable privilege and honor.

No. Voting is not either of these things in the US. It's a right.

The only case you could give for voting being a privilege is when comparing the US to a country without voting — in that case, it is certainly an improvement; a privilege in comparison. But an honour? More of a duty, if anything.

I'm sure getting carried away in the moment and feeling like voting was making a difference may have spurred Shawn to exaggerate a little with his words, which is understandable. I am not trying to speak for him, however. That would be unwise and unfair.

I always want to hear feedback and criticism when I write anything — especially anything controversial — and I hope I'm not offending anyone by pointing this out.

We should all be careful when discussing voting and placing too much trust and power in the hands of government.

I've recently been reading some Thomas Jefferson quotes and I feel this line of his is appropriate:

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”