Sep 2, 2012

Jiro’s Dream

Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I’m a fan of sushi, but even more, I look up to people who care about their craft. I don’t think I can ever have that kind of dedication for 75 years, but I can be inspired by people like Jiro.

One theme you notice in the movie, is that Jiro only works with the best people. His fish vendor buys only the best fish of the day. His rice supplier sells rice only to people like Jiro, “who can cook it the right way”. These people don’t work with Jiro because of the money, but because they are also dedicated to their craft and want to work with the best people.

My favorite scene was the part where Jiro talks about good taste. It’s the same thing Paul Graham talks about in Taste for Makers, Steve Jobs thinks Great products are triumphs of taste and John Gruber references in the Auteur Theory of Design.

Here is Jiro’s take:

In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food. You need to develop a palate capable of discerning good and bad. Without a good taste, you can’t make good food. If your sense of taste is lower than that of customers, how will you impress them?

It’s great to hear that from a 85-year-old Japanese sushi chef, who I’m quite sure doesn’t think much about tech. Like sushi chefs, we as founders, designers or developers, need to develop our tastes, in order to build things people can be impressed about.

I don’t have an definite answer to how to to develop your tastes, but I’ve found out that appreciating and understanding culture helps. I think it’s safe to assume that beauty is part of our human mind and it’s defined further or distorted by culture.

So I read books, both new and classic. I look up and go see art when I can. I try out new apps, and try to learn from their designs or solutions. I collect my inspirations, essays and resources. I try to eat delicious food, go to beautiful places, and surround my self only with well designed things.

I don’t know which works, or which is the most useful, but I feel that I learn both about the good and the bad.