I’m embarking on a quest to personally give a big thumbs-up to the child who made my iPhone.
Day 1: The Flight. I sleep for 13 1⁄2 hours of my 14 hour flight to Suzhou, China. I’m thinking about what I’m gonna do when I find this kid. Then I remember: give him (or her) a big thumbs-up.
Day 2: Finding the Child. Shanghai is a big city, and there are a lot of kids here. It almost seems like any one of them could have made my iPhone. Nǐ zuò wǒ de iPhone? This is something I looked up on my iPhone, and it means, “did you make my iPhone?” I start asking.
Day 3: Bump in the Road. I have not been keeping track of the children I ask, and I’m starting to ask some repeat kids. It’s going to be slow-going finding the kid who made my iPhone unless I step up my organization game. Big time!
Day 4: Shanghai. Shanghai is an expensive city. But I am a very rich man.
Day 5: At the Hotel Bar. A well-groomed Chinese businessman tried to tell me that capitalism
involves a complex network of labor division, and there is not any one person who made my
iPhone, and certainly not a child. I laugh along. “I must seem so naive! Kinda like the child who
made your iPhone– what’s his name again?” “Guō Tái-míng,” he said, before he could stop
Day 7: The Factory. The place was totally empty. No employees, no assembly lines,
nothing. “Guō?” I shouted, hearing only an echo. Then a small noise from a strange door. I opened it slowly, revealing a gorgeous study lined with mahogany and books. At a desk was a small boy, examining his handiwork with a monocle, making new dints here and there with a small chisel. He looked up at me and smiled. “Have you come to give me a big thumbs up?” I was dumbfounded. I extended two big thumbs upward. “Thanks,” he said, “I appreciate it.” He put down his chisel and gazed out of his window. “You know, I really am lucky. Not everyone loves what they do.”