Monday Start-Up: Inspired from the Past and Fashioned for Today

by Rachel Yeomans | March 19th, 2012   

In one of my previous Start-Up columns, I shared my excitement for the refashioned typewriter. I find it fascinating how often we are inspired from the past and apply it to how we feel the future will unfold. In one of last week’s Brain Pickings articles, we are told that the possible inspiration for the iPad came from Arther C. Clarke within his novel 2001 A Space Odyssey.

“When [Floyd] had tired of official reports, memoranda and minutes, he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one, he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers. He knew the codes of the more important ones by heart and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.

Each had its own two-digit reference. When he punched that, a postage-sized rectangle would expand till it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he finished he could flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.

Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man’s quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. (That very word “newspaper,” of course, was an anachronistic hangover into the age of electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of information from the news satellites.”

Creepy, eh? You may have already heard about it from the lawsuit Samsung hurdled at Apple because of it. But then again, what if Steve Jobs read the above passage and thought, “Huh, wouldn’t that be cool? I’m going to try and do that!” Brain Pickings brought forward another well-put quote from the neuroscientist David Eagleman.

“When an idea is served up from behind the scenes, your neural circuitry has been working on it for hours or days or years, consolidating information and trying out new combinations.”

So whether the typewriter inspired the laptop or the book inspired the tablet, what in your past has inspired you to take your steps forward with work? Think of even the evolution of fashion and how it affected women’s work wear. Chanel was one of the creators for women’s sportswear. The 1920′s fashion scene itself brought forward women wearing suits. Then we had the feminine secretary during the Mad Men era. The 1980′s presented the power woman – represented by strong and yet feminine suits from Donna Karan. And I ask you, what the heck inspired shoulder pads?

Baby Boom Monday Start Up: Inspired from the Past and Fashioned for Today

Technology, fashion, and lifestyle in general evolves and is continuously inspired from its past. Now the question is, have you been inspired by something as of late and wanted to see what it could do or be in a different or more futuristic context? Now the follow-up: When can we see it?