Category Archives: Quotes



80 Column CardThis will really show my age. And my history!

It’s been a long time since I remember reading a book or article by Edsger Dijkstra, and unfortunately I can’t remember the reference and I can’t find the exact quote. But this is close.

In hiring, I ask the prospect if he knows FORTRAN? If he says ‘yes’ then I don’t hire him!
— Edsger Dijkstra

(Perhaps the reference was to BASIC, or COBOL, instead of FORTRAN, but same idea)

Sadly, despite my own history, I have to think Dijkstra was right. But, fortunately, he has another quote that I was able to find that makes me feel a little better.

Perfecting oneself is as much unlearning as it is learning.”
— Edsger Dijkstra

Making Things Natural

JobsMovieFrom the Jobs movie.

I think you believe that the computer, or the Walkman, or whatever it may be, should be a natural extension of the individual, and it’s that mission, that devotion to quality
— Jony Ive (the movie characters, perhaps not the real one)

This quote, whether it’s really from Jony Ive or not, still gets to me every time I read it.  Isn’t this a calling for all product designers, including software designers and especially user interface designers?


Intuitive is so obvious, after someone has done it!

There is beauty when something works and it works intuitively.”
–Jonathan Ive

Designing and developing anything of consequence is incredibly challenging.
–Jonathan Ive

Making the solution seem so completely inevitable and obvious, so uncontrived and natural – it’s so hard!
–Jonathan Ive

Setting a Standard

The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many of them [to choose from].
— Variously attributed to Grace Hopper, Andrew Tanenbaum, Patricia Seybold, and Ken Olsen



Does the multitude of competing standards keep you from choosing a set of your own? Consistency has such value in so many ways. There may always be exceptions, but defining a standard is a fundamental for simplifying life, especially in the world of IT and Support.