Ayer veía un tweet de @cultofmac sobre su entrada How Steve Job’s sense of zen «ma» made Apple the new Sony. Antes de llegar a leerlo llego por alguno de los RSS al original en San Francisco Gate, titulado How Steve Jobs «out-japanned» Japan (algo así como … «Cómo Steve Jobs se hizo más japonés que los japoneses».

Lo cierto es que el artículo es muy interesante aunque habla más de la historia de Sony y algunos de los garrafales errores de gestión que le hicieron perder su importancia en el mercado de la electrónca de consumo. La cosa está en ligar a Steve Jobs con la japonesa Sony a través de la estética zen:

«To understand why, one has to remember that Jobs spent much of the 1970s at the Los Altos Zen Center (alongside then-and-current Gov. Jerry Brown) and later studied extensively under the late Zen roshi Kobun Chino Otogawa — whom he designated as the official “spiritual advisor” for NeXT, the company he founded after being ejected as Apple’s CEO in 1986, and who served as officiant when he wed his wife Laurene in 1991.

Jobs’s immersion in Zen and passion for design almost certainly exposed him to the concept of ma, a central pillar of traditional Japanese aesthetics. Like many idioms relating to the intimate aspects of how a culture sees the world, it’s nearly impossible to accurately explain — it’s variously translated as “void,” “space” or “interval” — but it essentially describes how emptiness interacts with form, and how absence shapes substance. If someone were to ask you what makes a ring a meaningful object — the circle of metal it consists of, or the emptiness that that metal encompasses? — and you were to respond “both,” you’ve gotten as close to ma as the clumsy instrument of English allows.

While Jobs has never invoked the term in public — one of the aspects of his genius is the ability to keep even his most esoteric assertions in the realm of the instantly accessible – ma is at the core of the Jobsian way. And Jobs’ single-minded adherence to this idiosyncratically Japanese principle is, ironically, what has allowed Apple to compete with and beat Japan’s technology titans — most notably the company that for the past four decades dominated the world of consumer electronics: Sony.»

Al final de la breve e, insisto, interesantísima historia de la compañía japonesa, se retoma la relación con Apple y, curiosamente, el pensamiento viene a enlazarse con las líneas finales de la entrada ¿Apple y el fin de las contraseñas?

«The most critical announcements that Apple has made, and has yet to make, relate not to new products, but fundamental extensions of the infrastructure that Jobs has quietly embedded into and around his iconic devices: Seamless cross-device integration; ridiculously simple platforms for downloading, sharing and streaming content; a one-click payment system that currently holds more than 100 million active accounts, each with linked credit card information.

The rumors are rife about Apple’s soon-to-come move to the cloud — which would make its media and application framework both ubiquitous and device-agnostic — and an even-sooner-to-come addition of wave to pay technology to its mobile devices — which would allow Apple’s iTunes accounts to be used to purchase real-world goods as well as digital ones.

If so, Jobs’s last act as CEO might well be not just to change the world, but to build a new one, with Apple’s technology at its core. That is, if the rumors prove true.»

Léelo completo en sfgate. De verdad que merece la pena.