I woke up this morning to an NPR interview with the director of the Rhode Island School of Design, John Maeda. They were talking about Steve Jobs. It made me cry. I always feel sad when someone dies too young, but why, I asked myself, was I getting emotional here? I didn’t know the man. So what did he mean to me?
I figured it out when Mr. Maeda said that Mr. Jobs had proved to the world that sys(tem) plus design equaled STEAM. That his competitors had wanted bigger, better, more; but he wanted people to have an emotional connection to technology if they were going to have to live with it. He wanted it to look good.
That’s the beauty of Apple.
I am a person with diabetes. I am not “a diabetic.” I define myself as a person by my creativity. The walls of my house are painted bright, bold colors in a Mexi-navian design. My clothes have been variously described as eclectic, unique, and artsy. My favorite architect is the Austrian Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who claimed that human misery is the result of rational, sterile, monotonous architecture. (He considered it his civic duty to plant trees in urban environments.)
These are just three of the ways that I express myself and Who I Really Am. And yet, there is one large area of my life in which I am crammed into a little grey box. My diabetes.
I am the reluctant owner of several pieces of technology, each uglier and less pleasing to the eye than the last. My diabetic testing meter cover is black. The meter is grey. It looks depressingly functional. I’ve been complaining for years that I don’t understand why, if they can make hot pink zebra-patterned cell phone covers, and beautiful shiny purple Mac covers, that diabetic equipment has to be so boring! It’s about as sexy as a catheter bag.
I should have contacted Steve Jobs while he was alive. This man seems to have shared my values. Maybe I will write to Apple anyway. The company will want to honor his memory. And what better way than to continue his legacy of helping people connect with the technology they live with?
Steve, you’ll be missed. But I hope more CEOs, investors, and people in R&D will get the point. We all want to feel like we’re in control of our lives. When there is something we can’t control, like having diabetes (one out of four Americans), it makes us feel better to be able to choose what we can.
And I choose color.