[The 1949 Olivetti MP1 typewriter]
Of all the hundreds of lectures I attended in college many years ago, one stands out more than any other, one I remember more than any other.
It was a lecture on Industrial Design. More specifically, it was a lecture on the 1949 Olivetti MP1 typewriter.
Basically, what makes the Olivetti typewriter so iconic in the history of design are those smooth, sexy, curvy lines. What the lecturer referred to as “The Humanizing of the Machine”.
What makes it interesting is that these sexy, curvy lines are, unlike say, Art Deco, completely functional, not decorative. Forms follows function, but in a feminine, non-masculine way.
Before Olivetti, nobody thought of industrial design in “feminine” terms. Now they do. Just look at Apple and the work of Jonathan Ive.
What got me thinking about this? Working with Microsoft got me thinking about this. I believe that if Microsoft wants to re-invent itself, if it wants to keep evolving, growing and prospering long-term, I keep thinking to myself, what Olivetti did to the typewriter, Microsoft has to do to itself.
Exactly. “The Humanizing of the Machine”. Welcome to The Blue Monster.
And then, there’s
interesting analogy Hugh but given we don’t really make hardware (other than keyboard, mice, Zune and XBOX) can we extend this to humanizing the company or software? I think we can but without a physical manifestation it’s a different challenge though may explain why people are latching on to Blue Monster and it’s physical objects like bizcards, lithographs, stickers and t-shirts. Hmmm
Steve, I wasn;t really talking about the hardware needing to be humanized… I was thinking about the corporate culture in general. OF course, you guys have done A LOT in the last couple of years… Long may it continue 🙂