“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 en 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.”
— Steve Jobs
I agree with that quote. This is the real value of experience, and it is what differentiates it from knowledge. People can have a great lot of knowledge, but no experience. This experience will show him how he can, and cannot, use that knowledge. Connecting all pieces of knowledge in an effective way is only possible with experience.
Steve talks about the IT industry. The experience he is talking about, is not just one of software development, it is about all life’s experiences. Past jobs, past studies, past human interactions, etc. Everything is knowledge, all experience is good, the only thing people have to do is to connect them to create something in a non linear fashion, to see a problem with a broaden view.
“The only criticism I have of this quote is that it implies something special about creative people that can’t be obtained by noncreative people. I don’t believe people are born into one of two exclusive piles of creative geniuses and unimaginative morons.”
I think that Scott wrote this because of this: “[…]When you ask a creative person how they did something […]”. But if I read a little further: “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“. So, I do not think that Steve said that considering that there are only two classes of people: the creative ones and the unimaginative morons. The only think that differentiate a creative person from the unimaginative one is their experiences. So you have the creative person and the uncreative one, but in the middle, you have all the others that have more or less experiences. There is a lot of different grey between the black and the white.