My high school English teacher had another word for thesis. He called it UBI, for Unifying Big Idea.
Anytime I get confused or frustrated because I can’t explain something, thinking about that acronym helps me simplify my thoughts. What’s the point? What am I trying to say, in a nutshell?
One of the challenges of making statements is that they’re not proven yet. They’re merely guesses about what feels right. We need to think and talk about them more deeply to develop them further.
Jony Ive alludes to the UBI conundrum in the most recent New Yorker interview:
“My intuition’s good, but my ability to articulate what I feel was not very good—and remains not very good, frustratingly. And that’s what’s hard, with Steve not being here now.”
Jony Ive worked out his ideas with Steve Jobs the same way my English teacher helped me corroborate my thinking.
Ideas are democratic. They need to be launched, discussed, and tested about. We need other people to rebut and poke at our theories to make us clarify and justify them.