Fifty years after he helped his father build a fence around their house in Mountain View, Steve Jobs took his biographer Walter Isaacson to see it. Jobs skimmed his hand along one of the fence panels and told Isaacson the lesson his father instilled in him that day all those years ago. “He loved doing things right,” Jobs said as he directed Isaacson’s attention to the back of the fence. “He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.” A great carpenter, Jobs learned early, wouldn’t use an ugly piece of wood, even on the back of a drawer.
“Even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
This was the defining characteristic of Jobs’ career and every product he brought into the world: craftsmanship. If you’re going to make something, Jobs’ father taught him, make it beautiful. That’s why even the insides of Apple computers—which 99.9% of customers will never see—have their own aesthetic. It’s why so many features on Apple computers, even the minor ones, seem oddly satisfying and intuitive.
This is a philosophy we try to follow at Daily Dad. While it’d be cheaper, for instance, to produce our medallions overseas, each medallion is handcrafted in the United States by a custom mint that has been operating in Minnesota since 1882. And over at Daily Stoic, our leather editions of The Daily Stoic and *The Obstacle is the Way* require an even more painstaking process.
We found the best Bible manufacturer in the United States and worked with them to produce editions with a gold foil-stamped cover, gilded-edge pages printed on premium-grade paper at their factory in Belarus. We found a great designer to create the custom illustrations that delineate each section. They take months to produce. It takes months to watch as they travel by container ship across the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and into the Port of New Orleans. Finally, we track with bated breath as the books travel up the Mississippi River to Chicago, where they were then packaged with the letter-pressed note signed by Ryan Holiday.
The point is: If you’re going to do something, you should do it right. If you’re going to make something, make it beautiful. This is an important lesson not just for business, but also for life. It’s a lesson we should instill in our kids in the way Jobs’ dad instilled it in him. We only get one go at this thing called existence. We can’t let them do it shoddily. We have to show them what happens when you take the time to do things right. We have to encourage them to be a craftsman, to care even about the things no one sees, to become a master…in all that they do.