homeabout kottke.orgarchives + tagsmembership!
aboutarchives + tagsmembership!
aboutarchivesmembers!

kottke.org posts about Alan Kay

Research principles of the legendary Xerox PARC

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 14, 2017

Xerox PARC was one of the most influential technology companies of the past 50 years. Among the technologies invented and/or developed there include Ethernet, laser printers, the modern mouse-controlled GUI, and WYSIWYG text editing. On Quora, former PARC researcher Alan Kay shared the principles under which research at the company operated; here are the first five:

1. Visions not goals

2. Fund people not projects — the scientists find the problems not the funders. So, for many reasons, you have to have the best researchers.

3. Problem Finding — not just Problem Solving

4. Milestones not deadlines

5. It’s “baseball” not “golf” — batting .350 is very good in a high aspiration high risk area. Not getting a hit is not failure but the overhead for getting hits. (As in baseball, an “error” is failing to pull off something that is technically feasible.)

(via @pieratt)

We Work Remotely

The Intelligent Encyclopedia from 1982

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 12, 2012

In 1982, Bob Stein, Alan Kay, and Glenn Keane came up with several illustrated scenarios for a concept called the Intelligent Encyclopedia, a ubiquitous always-on electronic encyclopedia.

Intelligent Encyclopedia

The most interesting thing for me today about these images is that although we foresaw that people would be accessing information wirelessly (notice the little antenna on the device in the “tide pool” image), we completely missed the most important aspect of the network — that it was going to connect people to other people.

This hits a lot closer to the mark than many futuristic scenarios I’ve seen. What’s interesting is that many of the panels shown would have seemed off target just two years ago before the introduction of the iPad and certainly five years ago before the iPhone. (via @steveportigal)