READER REPORT:

The Kiwi behind the Apple in your pocket

SCOTT DUNCAN
Last updated 08:44 15/03/2016
REUTERS

​Apple may charge a premium for its gadgets, but it's cheap when it comes to innovation.

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Scott Duncan is a 14-year-old who attends Hutt International Boys' School. As part of a Year 10 inspirational peoples' assignment, he took it upon himself to interview Daniel Coster. Daniel Coster is a Kiwi, but he was also part of the team behind a number of Apple product designs. 

While working at Apple, Coster has led the design for most of the iconic products we have in our homes and pockets today. To name a few; the original iMac, the iPhone 1, 4 and 6, the iPad's one and two.

A short brief of Coster before he joined Apple: 

He attended Auckland Grammar school and went to Wellington Polytechnic School of Design (now Massey University). After graduating from Wellington Polytechnic with a degree in industrial design, Danny Coster ran his own consultancy in Wellington for a year, before spending four years working in Australia.

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During a visit to the United States in 1993, Danny showed his portfolio to studios in New York and California and began working for Apple.

Since working at Apple Danny and his co-workers from the Apple design team (of around 15 people) have received numerous awards including the prestigious D&AD Black Pencil in 2012 for the best design studio of the past 50 years.

Some of the enterprising qualities that Danny shows are innovation, resourcefulness and drive to succeed.

Danny holds over 500 design patents and a handful utility patents. Permanent museum collections worldwide feature Apple products, including New York's Museum of Modern Art and The Pompidou in Paris.

As part of my assignment, I have conducted an interview with Danny about his time at Apple and beyond.

Were there any obstacles you've had to work through?

"I didn't do very well in my first three years at Wellington Polytechnic and I was considering leaving and studying something else. Luckily though I stayed on and I did extremely well in my final year. When I joined Apple I found that I had to adapt to the required level [which was quite high] and work at that level."

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If there was one thing you wanted to be remembered for what would it be?

"My kindness, because the work I have had to do over my years at Apple is a lot of collaboration with other people. So I felt that it would be nice to leave a legacy for people to remember my kindness."

Did you reach your current position on your own or with help from others?

"Always with additional support. The collaboration that I have done over the years has got me to the position where I am currently. But you still need to look at yourself and you need to recognise your potential on your own two feet."

What did you study in High School?

"Practical Art, Technical drawing, art history, math's, English, Japanese, French and Latin."

Who do you find inspirational?

"The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh. It's through their pursuit of mindfulness, peace and spirituality."

Did you ever think you would become the person you are today?

"No. But I had a sense of myself though that I have the potential to contribute to the world."

Are you happy with what you've accomplished?

"Yes, and excited about the next chapter."

Do you believe you are an inspiration to others?

"I suppose so. More so as an opportunity of reflection for them to try something and/or think about something in a different way."

If you were to give one message to your youth-self, what would it be?

"How can we help other people's lives? With that as a purpose, I know that I can relax and be myself."

What are your future goals in life?

"I want more time with my family and friends. And to explore this new opportunity at Go-Pro."

Have there been any moments in your career that you have thought that you should just stop and no longer carry on?

"Yep definitely. Sometimes it seems too daunting because the pressure of things can be too large. Share my challenges with my friends and family more."

The last thing I asked was 'what advice would you give to people wanting to do something to what you have done?

- Take things apart that you're curious about

- Make things with your hands in different materials

- Look at things slowly while light plays on it surface

- Ponder how we use products in our lives and why some things are more intuitive to use than others


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