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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Idea Man

 



Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of MicrosoftIdea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft
(2011/04/19)
Paul Allen

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Paul Allenさんの武蔵発見というニュースで彼の書いたIdea Manを読みました。Octopusという船を作った経緯は最後の方に少し載っていました。

Fast forward to a few years later, when my captain said, “What’s your ultimate boat, Paul?” I told him that I’d been absorbed by the undersea world ever since my parents took me to see Jacques Cousteau’s The Silent World, one of the first documentaries with underwater color cinematography, including shots from a two¬ man submarine. I said that I’d love to have my own sub to take my explorations literally down to the next level. While I wasn’t after size for its own sake, a bigger boat could accommodate more of my friends on our far-flung journeys. I also wanted to upgrade my onboard recording studio with a full digital console. Dave Stew¬ art had an idea for a shipboard concert stage, with audience seat¬ ing on the aft deck.

That’s how Octopus was born, in the spirit of Cousteau’s un¬ derwater adventures. I went to Espen Øino, the naval architects based in Monaco, and they created a two-foot model that looked reasonable. Then the work started. It took a full year for more than a hundred draftspeople to design Octopus, and three years more for two companies to construct it. Midway through the pro¬ cess, the prime contractor invited me to their shipyard in Kiel, Ger¬ many, to show me how they built submarines for the German and Turkish navies. One of them had a torpedo, which piqued my in¬ terest. At the end of the tour, I asked them, deadpan, “Could I add a torpedo tube to my yacht?”


ヨットという言葉を大きく裏切るあの船の大きさには本人も驚いたとあります。世界でトップ10の大きさのようですね。

I’ve owned a couple of other yachts, Meduse and Tatoosh, but I was stunned by the sheer size of Octopus when it was delivered in 2003. At 414 feet, it was a third longer than a football field, more than twenty yards wide, seven stories high. At the time, it was the fourth largest yacht in the world, with the top three built for heads of state. (As the yacht industry continues to extend the realm of the possible, Octopus has dropped in the rankings and is now ninth largest overall.) It had a full-time crew of more than fifty and the most advanced nautical technology. When I first stood on the bridge, I felt as though I was on a spaceship.

もちろん本の3分の2はマイクロソフト設立・成功までの話でしたが、立ち上げ時の苦労を知ると、アップルの真似といった一般的なイメージとは違った経緯を感じとることができました。最初の章の言葉が印象的です。当時誰もやらなかったことをやるには論理的な決断ではなく、無謀な挑戦が必要だったようです。

If we’d been older or known better, Bill and I might have been put off by the task in front of us. But we were young and green enough to believe that we just might pull it off.

西さんとの出会いについてもそれなりのページを割いて書いていました。ビルゲーツのプール飛び込みについては写真も掲載されていまいた。

THE JAPANESE MARKET wasexploding,thanksinlargeparttoKa¬ zuhiko (Kay) Nishi, our flamboyant agent in East Asia. Kay pub¬ lished a chain of glossy computer magazines that worked hand in glove with his nonstop salesmanship for Microsoft. In August 1979, after he snagged a big contract with NEC, Bill and I went to Japan to help drum up more business. It was my first trip out¬ side North America and everything was new to me, from our futon mats with wooden headrests to the multicolored plates of sushi and boiling pots of shabu-shabu.

We traveled first to Kobe, where Kay’s parents owned a girls’ school with an outdoor swimming pool. There were two diving platforms, one three meters high (plenty for me) and another at ten meters. A bunch of the girls watched between classes as Bill climbed to the top of the high dive. He jumped, feet first, and they screamed. He must have hit the water at a slight angle—when he pulled himself out, the whole front of his body was bright red. It must have stung, but it didn’t stop him. Bill kept jumping, and the girls screamed each time.


おたくなプログラマーというのがビルゲーツのイメージだったのですが、むしろ野心家で打算的な実務家というのがPaul Allenの評価のようです。マイクロソフトはすでに企業向けの会社になってしまった感じです。。。

I left Microsoft a quarter century before Bill did, and we’ve both had our signal triumphs since then. But in certain respects, neither of us has been quite as good alone as we were together. I missed Bill’s laser focus on competition in the marketplace, his ability to execute my ideas and keep me from getting too far ahead of what was doable. And I’d like to think that Bill missed my abil¬ ity to divine where technology was headed and my knack for meet¬ ing its trajectory with something big and original.

In my post-Microsoft years, I discovered how challenging it was to operate without a pragmatic partner and business maven. Even so, I have no regrets about taking my own road. It has led me to rich experiences in a great range of pursuits—to the life I’d al¬ ways dreamed of, even back in the early days, when I was happily chained to my terminal and striving to perfect the next line of code.


スティーブジョブズの一つのボタンだけのマウス発明は有名ですが、二つのボタンを推したAllenからの説明です。

I visited Jobs in Palo Alto around that time to hear more about his plans for the Macintosh, Apple’s cheaper GUI machine then still in development. We had a vested interest in the Mac, which would give our GUI applications—Microsoft Word and Excel—a welcome foothold until the PC platform and our new Windows operating system caught up to them. Jobs launched into a solilo¬ quy about the glories of the graphical user interface, not know¬ ing he was preaching to the choir. After I let it slip that we were planning a mouse for Microsoft Word, Jobs put their one-button mouse through its paces. When I asked him whether two buttons might be better, he passionately lectured me: “You know, Paul, this is all about simplicity versus complexity. And nobody needs more than one button on a mouse.”

I said, “But Steve, people have more than one finger, and there’s going to be things they might want to do with a right click, too.”

Jobs dismissed my point with a shake of his head. He believed in making the entry-level experience as unintimidating as possible— and that there was usually one and only one correct way to do things. At Microsoft, we tried to balance simplicity with power. I considered the trade-off worthwhile if an extra feature made a program or device more functional.
(中略)
In time, I’d be vindicated. Windows was introduced in 1985, eventually becoming the dominant GUI personal computer plat¬ form. The Microsoft Mouse thrived through many incarnations— optical, wireless, laser, Bluetooth—as one of the company’s longest-lived products. And every one of those mice had more than one button. People quickly adapted. Today that extra button helps millions of Windows users gain access to context menus and a host of other convenient features.

Postscript: In 2005, after twenty-two years of one-button wor¬ ship, Apple relented and released the multibutton Mighty Mouse.


自伝、伝記の類は読みやすいので、英語の本に迷ったら興味を持った人物の本を読むのがオススメです。Allenのお父さんのdo something you loveというアドバイスのくだりは難しい単語などないことがわかると思いますし、なかなか哀愁を感じることもできるのではないでしょうか。事務所での9時5時の仕事をnine-to-five life under fluores¬cent lightsと表現していますね。

I was still young when my father first asked me what I wanted to do with my life. It was his way of imparting his laconic wisdom: “When you grow up and have a job, do something you love. What¬ ever you do, you should love it.” He’d repeat this to me over the years with conviction. Later I’d figure out what he meant: Do as I say, not as I’ve done. Much later, my mother told me that my fa¬ther had wrestled with his career choice. He suspected he might be happier coaching football than managing libraries, but he finally chose the safe and practical route, a nine-to-five life under fluores¬cent lights. Lots of men from his generation did the same.

普通はDo as I say, not as I do.ですが、ここではDo as I say, not as I’ve doneとなっています。これまでやってきたこと、生き方と幅広い感じを指しているのではないでしょうか。たくさん読むことでいろいろな表現のバリエーションも学ぶことができます。
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