Spruce Goose, or 747?
A brief rant by Ian Lurie
Why am I talking to you about airplanes?
This isn’t really a story about airplanes. Actually, it’s a story about form, function, and how they fit together. Follow along, and you’ll see what I mean.
The Spruce Goose: Cool, But No Splash
The Spruce Goose is one of the coolest man-made objects you will ever see. It’s HUGE, first of all. And it’s built completely of wood. It’s hard not to let your jaw drop, just a little, when you walk into its hangar and realize that you’re still 100 feet away, but you feel like an ant. And it flies. At least it did. Once.
Therein lies the problem. While Howard Hughes’s brainchild is visually stunning (not pretty, mind you, but definitely stunning), and a technical achievement (built completely of wood) it’s flown about 1 mile since it was finished 55 years ago. It cost a lot, in 1940s dollars, but it never carried any people, machines, supplies, or anything else. Now it’s just a tourist attraction. All form, and no function.
The 747: Goes the Distance
Boeing’s 747, on the other hand, was built using existing technologies (and a few new ones). Boeing changed the way it built aircraft – its process – to ensure that the 747 would be ideal for its role: Carry lots of stuff (people, boxes, or both) to lots of places, as safely and efficiently as possible. Nothing spectacular, or exciting.
But the 747 is one of the most successful haulers of people and goods ever created. It carries everything from toddlers to tanks from one end of the world to the other. And companies continue to modify the 747 to fulfill new roles – great design spawned a truly versatile tool.
Best of all? It looks good, too. A 747 slowly lifting off a runway is a spectacular, somehow graceful sight. It fulfills its purpose, and that makes it beautiful. Lots of function, and form, too.
The Moral: 747s for the World Wide Web
At Portent, we build great web sites: Efficient, functional and sleek, our web sites do what you want them to, and adapt to new roles. And they look good precisely because they’re built for their mission, whatever that mission may be.
Look through our web site, read what our clients say about us, and then you’ll see: We strive to build you a 747, for the Web.