technology and liberal arts

Intellectual influence is the ability to dissolve disciplinary boundaries.

From The Anatomy of Influence, as referenced by Ben Thompson, who continues:

Influence lives at intersections. Yet, as an industry, it at times feels the boundaries we have built around who makes an effective product manager, or programmer, or designer, are stronger than ever, even as the need to cross those boundaries is ever more pressing.

I’m sharing this here in the spirit of promoting cross-discipline collaboration and to encourage all of us to consider the value of learning and gaining experience from outside the technology sphere.

Many of us on the design side know to read, learn from, and hire philosophers, sociologists, and other students of behavioural science to better design for and connect with users. And there’s a lot more to be said about drawing knowledge from outside our intellectual sphere.

An interesting note in Ben’s piece: there was only one technology company that would offer him an internship following a degree in Political Science, six years of living abroad, and while working through his MBA. That company was Apple, where Steve Jobs shared during the iPad 2 keynote:

It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.