Thoughts on the reading + Xerox impressions


3 months ago by Rory

March 16th, 2022

Yesterday, I read about The Invention of Object Orientation in the book Out of Their Minds The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists in the chapter titled Alan C. Kay A Clear Romantic Vision, page 46.

The term “object orientation” lost its meaning when it became overused, yet
it implies biology was used as inspiration to the inventor of Smalltalk programming language in 1972. The main idea is that messages can be sent autonomously like cells sending messages in biology. The message system can be lifted out of one body and put into many other types. They gave the example of a car radio. It can be put into a Camry, Jeep, Tesla truck or one of David Wilcock’s future hovercars! The car does not need to be invented yet. The car radio is ready to be put into it once it’s built. A component part.

The book says, “What good is this? Software designers can now, in principle, build programs the way civil engineers design buildings: they can purchase common components from foundries and attach them together with customized software rivets…new behaviors can be built from component ones in an object oriented system.” It makes me think of the term “plug and play” or how you can build many things out of Legos.

Speaking of the genius of innocence at play, the next section of this book is titled “Smalltalk: Kids as Designers.” They say five percent of the total population of kids they got to play with their software hacked out innovations! One by a 12 year old at play was later attributed to innovation by the Apple brand. Steve Jobs was good at vision, aes·thet·ic design, packaging, marketing and team building, but it was musicians like Alan C. Kay, his tech teams and kids at play that originally designed drawing systems “much like” Apple’s MacDraw.

Reading this history makes me exclaim, “Let’s cultivate our playful, childlike innocence. Though we love the tech stuff, rocket science does not a genius make. Playing innocently, while building with established component parts can make genius shine forth, momentarily. Let’s play, build, apply and keep jamming in BSV.”

This book also gives a bit of business tech history. Xerox had all of the capital, infrastructure and talent to be first to market. They either are a front company for DARPA and needed to diversify the brand names or they actually were foolish and lost the opportunity. Alan C. Kay told them so, but they didn’t carpe diem on one man’s advice. It could be that their organizational bureaucracy stagnated them to miss seizing the opportunity Kay told someone there in leadership about. Instead the leading edge Kay referred to was delivered by Apple, Microsoft and Google brands.

On Xerox, when building up an office of technology sales & marketing consultants for a Microsoft Partner in Rochester, New York, I worked around the Xerox Park campus and learned it was the hometown of the famous brand. I thoroughly enjoyed the historic architecture, deli sandwiches, The Strong National Museum of Play and the Xerox people were a good laugh at the hotel bar & restaurant after hours every day. It was from joining tables together and chatting with them that I learned Xerox was into technology sales and innovation works rather than just being a copy machine company!

Vowing to return, I missed The George Eastman Kodak Museum but made it up to the Honeymoon Capital of the world with the IT guy from our team! We took a train from Rochester to Buffalo, walked around the U.S. side of Niagara Falls, stood in awe of the sound, feeling and power of water, took photos, ate burgers and bought T-shirts at The Hard Rock Cafe. It was February in upstate New York with Nor’easters pending, so we were freezing after a full day outside. We digitally hitched an Uber to carry us home to the Holiday Inn Rochester. As we pulled into the city viewing the beautiful bridge and skyline lit up over the Genesee River at sunset, the Uber driver turned us on to the Type O Negative rock band. It was very heavy rock but there was also something groovy about it.