A note about Steve Jobs and moneyless ways of learning

Franz Nahrada

Steve Jobs was by no means a figure of demonetisation. But looking at his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, I can’t help but wondering how many commentators disregard the obvious, and so a great little paradox went almost unnoticed by the world.

In the first of his impressive three life stories Jobs describes his time at Reed College, a place he attended six months as a regular student for an astronomical price in relation to his working class parents income. (Steve was adopted, his biological mother only accepted the Jobs couple after getting their promise to send him to college). Jobs decided to “drop out and drop in”, which means simply continue attending classes but not as a regular student.

This must have happened on a nonmonetary base. Jobs was so poor he slept on the floor in friends rooms and he walked through the whole town on Sunday to get a free meal at the Hare Krishna temple.

Jobs said he learned invaluable things in these 18 months, that helped him to shape the world of modern computing. If the college was policed and non-payers would be at least thrown out and criminalized at those times – how much poorer would the world be? And how can you know in any particular case that the limitation of our freedom of access does not kill genius?

Jobs did not favor moneyless relations, rather – for example – he saved the music industry with iTunes. Many say that he made music affordable. But that came at a high price: the generalisation and canonisation of monetary relations. When I was doing the HyperCard support for Apple Austria in the late 1980s, we had a free sharing spirit and an explosion of user communities. This was the birthplace of many fantastic projects that changed the face of modern computing, for example it was the first lab for the World Wide Web. But the spring lasted only for a short time.

This is another story unnoticed: The monetisation of application development killed what could have become an Open Source Culture. We might be far, far ahead in development if sexy Apple gear would have stayed connected with Open Source spirit. The two worlds drifted apart, and I think we missed a lot of innovation because of that. Thanks, Steve. You were a great innovator after all. And your personal story tells us that moneyless niches are far more important than many think. And that they will be even more important as we can share easily nowadays.

From: demonetize.itBy: Andreas Exner