Like many of other people out there, I’m currently reading Steve Job’s biography. It’s an incredible story. I decided to read it for numerous reasons: Jobs was a brilliant businessman, with a very interesting life story, and his company had created products that embodied simplicity in their design and their functionality.
For many years I have been interested in product design, particularly the clean lines of Japanese design – old and new. Before I started Tenkara USA I was very excited when my brother started studying product design, and tried to convince him to spend some time in Japan, though he never did.
Today I read an interesting passage in the book about the philosophy of Jonathan Ive, the designer for Apple’s recent products (and who, coincidentally, shares his first name with my brother). Great food for thought, and can be very well interpreted for tenkara:
Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products, we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.
– Jonathan Ive, from the book, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
Another thought, when I discovered tenkara nets, I became enamored with their simplicity of design and origin. And, at the same time, with their functionality which is vastly superior to that of a western fly fishing net. And – not kidding – I have often said in my presentations about them, that I thought if we went to the people at Apple and asked them to design a fly-fishing net from scratch they would probably do something similar to a tenkara net.