General Magic (2018) Movie Script

In Silicon Valley
there's a lot of origin stories
of companies that were at...
had the right idea, but were completely
at the wrong time and yet they
paved the path for everything else.
There are a handful of
stories that define Silicon Valley.
You know, there are legends,
and General Magic was one of the legends.
You have to believe,
you have to be proud, you have to be
absolutely convinced that you're gonna
bend the way the world is moving,
and you're going to take
it in a different direction.
If you're always playing it
safe and you're not failing
there's a very high probability you are
not doing anything particularly important.
No matter how big we dreamed,
the fact that you could touch
the lives of billions,
it was vaguely
but the scale of it
was inconceivable.
is because it involves
something fundamental,
and that is...
failure isn't the end.
Failure is actually
the beginning.
The reason this story so
haunts the people that were involved,
that they still live with it,
is because they knew that they were right.
Did it fail? I mean, the company
itself failed, the ideas didn't fail.
The people who worked there didn't fail.
So, was it a failure?
I was in high school.
Sixteen at the time.
I didn't really wanna go to class.
Every waking moment that I wasn't in school
I was on the computer, learning something
about it, programming and doing something.
Talking to friends about it, I was the geek,
you know, The Revenge of the Nerds.
For me every weekend was fixing things, or
building things, from the age of three or four.
Soapbox derby racer, or we could
repair lawnmowers or what have you.
But with this I could create new things.
I could sit there and I could program a game,
or I could program graphics, I could do things
and you spoke a language no one else knew
and you could tell people about
it and they were like, wow.
And then it was the Mac
and it was all about the Mac.
What is that?
There were names of people like Andy
Hertzfeld, Joanna Hoffman, Bill Atkinson,
rock stars in Rolling Stone, but had nothing
to do with music. They were my heroes.
My name is Andy Hertzfeld, I bought and
fell in love with an Apple II in 1978.
And went to work for Apple in 1979 and was
lucky enough to help design the Macintosh.
You have to go
and find out more about them,
and how can I go work with them,
because I wanted to be like them.
Hello, I am Macintosh.
It sure is great to get out of that bag.
January 24th 1984,
uh, the Macintosh was being
publicly introduced
to the world,
for the very first time.
You know what
I remember? We were sitting here
and there was this roar, just sort of
like a sound wave coming, coming at us.
It was a culmination of years of
work, of years of expectation.
This was it.
What we are trying to do
with Macintosh is take away
yet another barrier
to usage of personal computers.
One of the neatest things about
Macintosh was we had a chance
to change the way that people
thought of computers.
We called it the computer
for the rest of us,
because computers
weren't for ordinary people.
We thought we had a chance to make a
difference. Steve Jobs just drummed it into us.
He was just such
a brilliant motivator.
The greatest people are self-managing.
They don't need to be managed.
What they need
is a common vision.
Once they know what to do,
they'll go figure out how to do it.
We truly believed
with every fiber of our being
that if we can solve that problem of,
um, making computers accessible
to an ordinary person by making
them easy enough to use,
we could truly change the world.
But behind the scenes,
behind that facade,
things were changing.
Steve Jobs was involved
in palace politics.
That was much bigger
at that moment than the Mac.
I was just too tunnel-visioned
to be able to appreciate that.
I got a phone call, like
around 10:00 a.m. in the morning
from someone on the Mac team saying, "You
won't believe this, but Steve got fired."
The core team was stunned.
That said, things were a mess in many ways.
But Steve and John Sculley didn't
agree about what to do with it.
Fights escalated to the point
where the board told Sculley
that he had to remove Steve.
Um, wrenching decision
for everyone,
both Steve and Sculley
and everyone close to them.
Since the Mac,
really I think we were all
looking for the next thing
- because it really jaded us for anything else.
- Yes.
Any other project that kept
coming up, kinda fizzled very quickly
because it didn't have
the grandness of the vision,
it didn't have the grandness
of potential impact.
And now what?
Good evening, I'm Marc Porat.
Today many people believe
that information tools
are the third technology to change
the course of civilization.
Changing our relationship
to nature, to each other,
to the very way
we experience reality.
It had a place where they could speak
freely to each other in private.
Cyrus Vance or Henry Kissinger
or the Shahbanou of Iran or...
Very, very powerful people that
you would never expect to meet.
Those were the people, that was,
that was the teaching there, you could,
and in fact, you were responsible and
had a mandate to invent the future.
Because the future your parents
handed you, that was broken.
And so that started me in the track of
saying, "What can I do to create the future?"
There comes a moment where for
some reason you are in the future,
and you see something very,
very clearly. You just see it.
That's what happened to me,
and I went into the future,
and I saw the world which, which I
thought was very real and very tangible.
And I stood in that moment, inside it,
and I looked around my... me,
and it was there, it was all there.
It was basically the General Magic vision.
It was gonna be so revolutionary
that it would take over the world.
So this book I wrote in 1989 and this
was a compilation of, of the ideas.
And it was called
Pocket Crystal.
And this is
what we came up with in 1989.
And there it is,
we really had it.
We definitely had it.
Business is just stories.
That's what people do, they tell stories.
And they... and the ones who tell the
most compelling stories are the ones who,
you know, end up making the most progress
forward and Marc was a great story teller.
After Steve Jobs left in 1985,
a lot of people were pretty depressed,
and they wondered what Apple's
future was going to be like.
You know, could Apple still
go on without Steve Jobs there?
Marc was one of the first people to see
that computing in the future was gonna be,
not just about computation,
it was gonna be about communications,
it was gonna be about content and it
was gonna be very, very personal.
Something that you could
hold in your hand.
And it was a telephone,
it was essentially going to be a smartphone
with a lot
of intelligence in it.
Imagine a personal computer,
with applications organized
around these personal
wants and needs.
An object through which you communicated
with yourself about everything
that you're thinking about. It was the way
you reached out and touched other people,
and it was the way that you reach
beyond that into the larger world.
Marc always came with his giant red book,
uh, and he would thumb through the pages
and, uh,
he was able to romance me,
he was able to romance
Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld.
Please leave
a message and we will return
your call
as quickly as possible.
I saw a message on my answering
machine from Bill Atkinson
who was my mentor
at Apple, my hero.
"I just saw
the greatest thing ever.
You got to come back to
Apple to work with me on it."
And the very next day Marc Porat came over
to my house with his models and stuff.
Wouldn't it be nice, if all these notes,
which are very useful,
I could have with me when I needed them.
Wouldn't it be nice I suppose,
if letters that were important,
arrived, fell out of the sky.
I was a little skeptical at first,
because Marc is such a slick salesperson,
but I saw that, hey,
this is pretty cool.
And when I saw this,
the concept and I talked to Marc,
I got the same butterflies
in my stomach.
The same feeling that I had when I
first encountered the Macintosh.
This book was not just ideas,
not just possibilities,
but this was a complete
and thorough collection
of the vision of the future,
scenario by scenario.
Marc said, "We are gonna create what
comes after the personal computer."
"John," he said, "I think this
can be the future of Apple,
but I'm not sure it
can be done inside of Apple.
I think it's got to be
a separate company."
I helped Marc get the investment
from the Apple board.
So Apple ended up
spinning out General Magic.
This was the beginning of what became,
I think, the most important company
to come out of Silicon Valley
that nobody had ever heard of.
There was this
aura of secrecy.
We knew the people that went in.
We knew they were smart people.
You know it had Apple's
fairy dust sprinkled on it.
So we had no idea what it was,
but by the rumors
it seemed just captivating.
There's this company,
it has Andy and Bill and,
and they're going off
to do something.
And I was like, "I don't know what they are
doing yet, but I know I need to be there."
I was dressed up,
I had my suit coat and a tie,
and I was there at about
8:30 in the morning.
I knocked on the door,
no one answered, so I opened the door
and it was very quiet and I'm
like, "Where is everybody?"
And I look over and there are
two people in this office
and they had been there all night,
and they looked at me with these dazed eyes
and they were like, "We're
not hiring." And that was it.
Everybody in the valley knew that
Magic was... was doing something really cool,
and really hot, they didn't
know exactly what it was.
Everybody wanted to be there and people
literally would sleep on the doorstep
to try to get an interview
or get into the building.
I mean from your
perspective, is this unique?
Or is this everywhere in
the valley and not so special?
No, no it's
not everywhere in the valley!
The best, the brightest
the coolest, the smartest.
Hi Megan, welcome aboard.
Oh, smile!
You are on "Candid Camera."
I was always
building things.
I come from a long line of engineers.
And so the idea of going to Silicon Valley
and learning with these extraordinary
people how to make products
and create things
and do just amazing things,
that's what I wanted to do,
it was drawing me.
Andy Hertzfeld had gotten my name as
a Mac developer, and so he called me.
I'm sorry to offend you with
this Non Disclosure Agreement...
But he couldn't tell me what it
was, and I was just thinking,
"Oh my god I am talking to
Andy Hertzfeld right now."
My parents are looking at
me going, "I don't know anything
about this General Magic.
Why don't you go to a company you know, like
IBM or Microsoft, can't you go
there, where it's well known?"
I'm like, "No, I wanna go
work for General Magic."
He would call me ten, fifteen
times a day just begging,
"Please get my resume"
and he would just ask me,
"Please, I will not stop
until I work there."
And so I go into
the interview, first thing in,
people sat me down on the floor, ripped my
tie off, ripped off my jacket and said,
"That's not how we work here." So I go home
back to Michigan, packed up all my things,
and put them in a car and then I'm like,
I got to hear something.
So I called Dee. "What's going on?"
"We have a process, we are going through it.
We are gonna have a meeting we will
talk about you, we will let you know."
He would not
stop calling me.
Then I started calling
like every day.
I said, "please call him
because he is driving me crazy."
I got the call.
you got the job,"
and I just went nuts.
Email from me to John Sculley:
"We realize that the root of our strength
was that we understood how people use
information machines better than anyone else.
This is our early vision
for the product.
A tiny computer, a phone,
a very personal object.
It must be beautiful.
It must offer the kind of personal satisfaction
that a fine piece of jewelry brings.
It will have a perceived value
even when it is not being used.
It should offer the comfort
of a touchstone.
The tactile satisfaction of a seashell.
The enchantment of a crystal.
Once you use it, you won't
be able to live without it.
It's just not another telephone.
It must be something else."
So a lot of people in the
valley they have this idea
that they're, that they're changing
the world and they say that a lot.
They sometimes call themselves
"chief change agents," and stuff like that.
It's mostly bullshit, uh, but they have to
believe it in order, you know, you don't make
a photo app and you're not changing the
world with a photo app. You're just not.
It's not solving cancer, it's not solving
poverty, it's not solving climate change.
You know, they all have this idea
that they are doing something bigger
than what the actual thing is,
but it's like the car, the lightbulb,
it's the idea of a computer in your pocket,
it's a really big idea.
This device that allows them
to access everything.
But back then,
there wasn't an internet,
there wasn't the worldwide
network of information.
There weren't people using it,
there wasn't cell phones then,
'cause there wasn't, you know, wireless,
like everything there wasn't, wasn't.
The reason I started covering it,
was because when I saw it, I was like, "Oh!
This is where it leads." The idea of mobile
computing, uhm, started at General Magic.
- Hi guys, I've got the chips from Motorola.
- Yeah.
Yay, all right, all right.
When you started to hear about the different
people that were also there, it was like
Dan Winkler?
Dan Winkler's here? I know Dan
I would read all of his books!
There was Scott Knaster, Jimmy Freelander,
Susan Kare, "They're here too?"
Uhm, what am I doing right now?
Picking that "Paradigm" movie.
And then, all of a sudden,
Andy Hertzfeld walks by,
Joanna Hoffman walks by,
and you're like, "Oh my god!" You know.
"Aah," you know, you're resonating,
like the rock stars are here.
- And then they just sit down on the floor next to you!
- How are you doing?
It wasn't just the best
of the Apple of the 80's.
It was the best of Apple early
90's that were all coming.
And here is this whole
team of people bubbling
and bursting, you know, and I'm still
trying to figure out how to get along.
I have this kind of longer hair and
I got my high tops from Detroit.
I was the lowest guy on the totem pole, you
know, "Give him some stuff and try things."
- I was worried the chips had bugs in them.
- Cut your hands.
I was only going into engineering
because I knew that it would be like a tool kit
I could use until
someone would hire me.
But then I got into it, and
it turns out, oh jeez, you know,
like I was actually really good at circuit
design, like who knew, you know, who knew?
The service I would most like to
see would be a shopping service.
I could order everything,
from my Teletouch.
A lot of times people in
their twenties are out, you know,
in the bars and hanging out,
but our twenties are spent
you know, just powering through, with each other,
building these extraordinary things together.
...the camera.
- Ooh!
- Tony, was that you?
You know, I hadn't had that many
first days of jobs before
and I wondered, "Is the first
day of every job like this?"
- The answer to that is no.
- Zed, the cell broke open.
I met Andy Hertzfeld for the first time,
he was already famous, I knew
what he looked like. In my world he was one of
the superstars, and it is a little embarrassing
to put it this way, but that was,
that was pretty much like falling in love.
Let's... let's try to, uh, start the meeting,
the... the first, uh,
the first obvious thing to mention is... is
that we are not alone here today.
we're being filmed for posterity.
It'll be a good historical
or hysterical document, uh,
some time in the future anyway,
and so...
Well, I was the black sheep.
I was a filmmaker.
I'd never heard of a startup.
I'm wired and wired
for Sam here.
It shouldn't, it shouldn't
be too disruptive.
What I understood
was that these people were
doing something
so charmingly different,
so charmingly new. So... fun.
And you could trust them because what
they were driven towards, wasn't a job,
the job never came up,
the salary never came up.
It was where we were headed,
we were going to change the world.
We all basically sat on the floor... no, I
did not. They all basically sat on the floor
to talk about what it was,
what are we gonna call this handheld product.
We've been talking about possible names,
what is the device?
One of the things that's really special is
that it's in my pocket with me all the time.
It's a very different thing than computers.
It's something that is in my pocket
and I run my life out of it
and through it.
It was this notion of anytime,
anywhere communication.
The notion that it wasn't
just gonna be a phone,
but you could do all these other
things with it, to integrate all that
into one thing
that I could hold in my hand.
I thought, "Oh my god,
if I could have one of those."
I'm ready. And that was
how things started.
- We're rolling.
- Oh yeah?
- Show us what's in the box.
- Uhm. OK.
We are trying to make something that people
love. We need it to be like your watch,
you know, it feels like you're saying your
watch, your glasses, your, your, um, your wallet.
Something that you like the color,
you like the way it feels.
You know this is a huge, ugly thing, but, um,
we had to start somewhere, we had to start
with components that we could buy
off the shelf because you're...
you're working from, uh...
You're working from wishes and ideas
of how you wish it would be
and real components
that you can buy that are cheap enough
that you can make the product reasonable
so people can afford it because if it
cost a million dollars, forget it.
Was that the first one
or the begin... in the beginning?
This is in the very beginning and,
um, one of the problems with this,
was that the touchscreen
was extremely noisy.
And it just didn't have the resolution,
it would be a horrible experience
for people to use this thing.
So that was actually our hardest component.
We were pushing the envelope
on every single front,
so we're figuring out what size
should it be, what sensor,
what electric plug should it have,
how many buttons should we have if any.
The feeling was that anything
was possible. You could shoot
as high as you wanted to here and as a
team we were gonna be able to do it.
The purpose of doing all this,
is to go out and... and create prototypes
so that the team can plug them
into the Mac and run the software
behind it and experience
what a user would experience.
The array of personalities,
they were all like nuclear power plants,
each one of them working on
solving these difficult problems.
For me the challenge was challenging
myself to try and work at that level.
I was a newbie. A lot of people got to just do,
you know, if you're the young guy in the team
you had to learn and do.
So you had to work double or triple time.
I'm hooking up
a demo so that we can see
keyboards working
with the device.
Tony wanted to learn
everything, from everyone.
Whatever it was, yes!
And more of it and how can I do more to help.
- Is it important?
- Uh, if you want to hook up disc drives
and things of that nature, yeah.
It's really important.
I wanted to make it work
really seamlessly and fast.
This is basically our first test of our...
our... basically a first demo
of our peripheral system
for the... for the walkabout.
And this was a technology
to string peripherals together.
Today we call it USB, and so we were
creating USB before the world knew about it.
- Oh god.
- It finally works.
We decided to make everything.
I mean, we were making it all.
See right now the whole class viewable
texture is one formatter for everything.
That meant we were custom building every
piece, it's kind of like hand assembling a car
rather than using a factory.
And so it's, it's insane, it's insane.
In many projects, you might build one
or two innovative break-out things,
and then you build on top of a lot of
existing stuff, you kind of stand on
the shoulders of giants, and we weren't
doing that at General Magic, we were
building the giant from the toes all
the way up to its head.
We couldn't find a touch screen
to solve this problem, in fact,
at one point,
let me see if I can find it.
At one point, we had to
invent one.
This Wendell, who works for Wendell Sander,
he came up with this idea
of a touch screen that would be
balanced on four points
and as you pushed on it you
could, you could sense touch.
So as you touch it
in any particular place,
you can do the math,
so you do the whole force
minus the X and Y and you can
figure out where you are.
Whether you are touching T or
whether you're touching Caps Lock.
- How small will it finally be, do you think?
- Some day?
Dick Tracy wrist watch,
Right now, in the beginning, we are starting with
a screen size that's probably about that big.
Technically it was really, really hard to
build something the size of those models.
Uh, the technology just wasn't there yet,
but, hey, that was ok,
to build something a little
clunkier for the first generation,
we knew, uh, if it caught on,
it would eventually get down there.
The touchscreen
is a little funky.
What was this thing gonna look like?
You know, we knew what size screen
we were gonna have,
but we didn't know that early
everything we're gonna
put on that screen.
The thing
about computer programming
is you're making something
out of nothing.
This is not nerds
creating for others nerds here.
There is a creative
process here that is much like
making a film or painting
a picture or doing a play.
This is very creative, which is
a surprise to a lot of people.
- This is a very creative process.
- You mean artistic?
- Artistic? You mean artistic.
- Yeah.
I'll ask him about them, OK?
Yeah, that's absolut...
that got the crew yesterday.
The common ground between
Apple and what we did
at General Magic
in the sixties was idealism.
Our art could make a difference
in, in the lives of everyone,
everyone you know
and everyone you don't know.
I think, uh, communications is the most
fundamentally human thing that we do,
and that's really why what we are doing cuts
to the heart of... of... of who we are.
Uh, that's what distinguishes people more
than any other thing I think, the, uh,
the sense of community, a sense of, of,
reaching out from yourself to someone else.
One of the things Bill and I do is
just by word of mouth passing, passing
that spirit down, down
to the next generation.
We were always saying, wow, wouldn't it be
great if we did that and Andy would do this,
he would stay up all night coding
the thing that we just came up with
the idea that evening. He would
stay up all night and bring in
a fully working thing
the next morning.
So we created this concept of
different rooms, and Andy went off
and over the weekend
he completely rewrote the system
to implement this hallways thing.
So we come back and it's all there.
That shouldn't have been possible for one
person to do that much work in one go.
Passion is the thing
that breaks through logic
and makes you try
to get every part right,
not because of some science,
but because of
your feeling of pride and desire
to do something great.
All you have to do is tap on
this little letter creating icon
and, uh, your favorite
stationary pops out
of the drawer. You notice
it looks like a little postcard.
There was mail, there was calendar,
everything was communicating
with each other and tiny little
things that would delight people
that would wink at people that
would just make it so special.
One interesting area we...
we haven't done is... is expressing emotions.
Uh, what... what extent would you
use to express anger at someone.
Emoticons, today,
emoticons are a big deal.
In those days no one knew what
it was, there was no such thing.
Andy and Bill would disappear
and come back with emoticons
that were animated. They were
amazingly cute and intelligent.
Only one person hated
the happy face. It's like...
Who was that?
I've certainly never worked with
a team as ambitious. It's almost like
we didn't care about what made sense.
You know, how else could it be good enough?
There was, uh, confidence,
even arrogance there too.
Are you kidding me?
This is, this is fun!
It was like we could walk
through walls and do anything.
Being there with all these people
who were like, "We can change the world
and we're going to do it
and let me show you how."
They were on
a joy ride, a rocket ride
with all the freedom
to do what they wanted to do.
Now it's getting them to
understand this thing costs money.
Real money.
In 1990 there was no digital
telecommunications industry.
It did not exist,
anywhere in the world.
We were in the analog era,
there were no
digital cellphones,
there was no World Wide Web.
We were talking about bringing
millions of people onto a network
that had to be industrial
strength, reliable,
and run 24 by 7 by 365
with no glitches.
Who else could do that,
but the telephone company?
That's who we needed,
and that meant AT&T.
The AT&T folks came in this
gigantic stretched limo that was too big
to get into the parking lot and I
was watching them out of the window
of the second floor conference room.
Watching them trying to maneuver the car
into the parking lot.
They just couldn't do it.
So they eventually got out of their
car and they trouped upstairs.
We're still waiting for Bill and
people are staring at their shoes
and a little uncomfortable.
That was not a good start.
- Um...
- What happened?
So Bill finally shows up.
Um, he hadn't taken a shower in a week.
He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt,
he stunk like a goat.
You could see the noses wrinkle on
the faces of the three AT&T guys,
but they launched the demo.
- This is a touchscreen? So I can ahead go and touch it.
- Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
No one had ever thought
of the kind of ideas
that Marc, Bill and Andy
had instantiated in this demo.
...another step.
Would you like a cookie?
- Oh no. I've eaten too many.
- Would you like a cookie?
The AT&T folks said, "We're in," and they
joined us as the first network partner.
You got to have AT&T,
you got to have Apple,
that's your roots.
You got to have Motorola and
Sony, they make the devices.
And you got to have Phillips.
They're also gonna
make devices.
Without those, we couldn't
have been General Magic.
And we charged them six million
dollars for the privilege of joining... each.
Here was this little startup in Silicon
Valley, that was gonna change the world,
everybody was afraid of being
left out of the vision.
This company's scale is small,
but thinking so big.
Immediately we
decided to join it
Yes, just, boom,
one second, we decided.
Sony Japan was unbelievably great,
but I think one of the things
that Marc underestimated is how
each one of those relationships
contributed to an enormous
level of complexity.
...he said we have these three bears
out there, and we call them Goldilocks.
We're gonna dance with the three bears.
- Marc is Goldilocks.
- I find him, grraawr, grraawr!
I thought you grraawr, grraawr!
The vision was gonna happen
because we were putting together
16 of the largest companies
on the planet
who are natural enemies, into...
into the same room at the same time.
We knew we were innovating, no one had done
anything like that, and if it succeeded
it would change everything and
that took a war-like energy.
That was fighting,
that was battle.
We had no choice, but to keep
quiet about the things we were doing
because other companies were interested in
it as well, and we tried to keep secrecy
at a level that would give a small company like
General Magic time to create, time to develop.
Everybody had to shred everything.
We couldn't put everything in one bin.
We had to wait and... and kind of dole
it out to various different places.
We were asked not to talk
about it outside
of the office because we didn't
want any of it leaked.
So there was this buzz around the company,
but it really was kind of this, this, cipher.
We had to keep it under wraps.
Part of that was this PR strategy
that we had only one shot
to make news.
"While we're in business
development stage, security is essential.
If the concept leaks,
we lose our competitive edge.
Please use the highest level of personal
attention to security, including,
if asked by an Apple colleague
not on the team, say nothing.
If asked by a non-Apple
person, tell me immediately."
Now it should be noted,
John Sculley was running Apple at the time.
In that sense he was our ally,
or so we thought.
I was getting intense pressure from the Apple
board and from the Apple management team
as to why was I spending
so much time on General Magic.
And Apple was developing in parallel
a business that it owned 100% of,
called Newton, and that looked
like they could ship a product.
Ten years ago we launched Macintosh,
a revolution for the desktop.
And today we are launching Newton,
a revolution for the pocket.
John Sculley gave a keynote
address at the 1993
consumer electronic shows where
he announced what we were doing.
Imagine being able to take a cellular
telephone and be able to be paged
on the phone and write a little note and
fax it off to someone else in response.
Except he announced it as something Apple
was doing. We thought Apple wasn't doing it
and we found out from
that speech that they were.
I wish I could say
that I was hurt. I wasn't...
I wasn't just hurt, I was angry.
I was fur... I was really angry.
They had, uh,
decided to make something
essentially based on
Marc's models.
I thought Newton was,
I thought that they could co-exist, you know.
And, so I wasn't really concerned
that Newton would hurt General Magic.
They were our closest partner
who really gave us our life.
And so when we found out that they were trying
to kill us, we felt completely betrayed.
You wanna know about the Newton? I'll tell
you about the Newton, the Newton.
The Newton
announcement caused vision envy
on the part of all
of our partners.
They thought that Sculley's
was bigger than theirs.
"I want that vision thing. Do
that vision thing for me too."
And so they wanted to immediately
go up there and introduce.
We've got to explain the
vision such that everybody gets it.
The press gets it,
the corporations get it, it's all clear.
Leading the way to a new
age of personal communication,
creating a revolutionary
electronic messaging environment.
We call this environment,
the Cloud.
The fact that the Newton was
going to ship and it was getting
all this publicity meant that we
had to come out of stealth mode
earlier than we had planned and
well before we were ready to ship.
Stakes are higher, you better
be better than these guys.
Big event? This was
huge and we made it huge
on purpose to raise
the jeopardy.
We knew it was gonna be a marathon that
we were gonna run at sprint speed.
It was gonna take everything out of us.
Down the torpedoes, it's full speed ahead.
This is it, we're coming,
these amazing devices.
- You remember much about that day?
- Yeah, well,
I remember my impression
of Marc was, "Huh,
most of the vision of Jobs,
but he had better interface".
Presenting Marc Porat.
Today we are going
to introduce the vision.
Today we are introducing the technology,
introducing The Alliance.
But let it be said
it's about feelings.
How you feel about the
communication with another person.
To me the relationships of your life,
is the fabric of your life.
That's the stuff that defines
who we are as people.
Marc was one of the most
charismatic presenters you could ever imagine.
But let me just hold it up for you, so you
can see what this thing is, you know, about.
Its intent is to be
with me all the time.
The thing about Porat when he speaks is,
everybody in the audience
says to themselves two things,
they say, "My god this guy is right.
I can go to the roof of this
building and if I jump, I will fly."
And the second thing they would think is,
"And that guy up there on stage,
and me, we're the only
two guys who really get it."
This, we hope will be with you as
simply part of your existence.
It will be that useful.
The minute I see it in a store, I smile.
It's about having fun, it's about leisure,
it's about entertainment.
I just recall listening to him
and thinking, "Yes, yes!"
When we were talking about re-inventing
telephony, we meant it. This is inexorable.
The world of personal communications,
when it's fulfilled, uh, possibly
in one generation, when I say generation,
I mean my children, my son and daughter.
When they walk around with these
things they will be wireless.
Reporters would
leave these briefings saying,
"My god, uh, forget the story
I'm writing, I want that.
The world that they just
described to me,
I want to live in that world,
I want my kids to live in that world."
A tiny gadget
that combines the telephone,
a fax machine,
and a personal computer.
Cellular phone,
a pocket pager and a notepad.
Sounds a bit like something from Star Trek,
you can send and receive messages,
order tickets, get the latest headlines or
stock quotes and also you can talk on it.
It was wall to wall coverage. New York times,
Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times.
It was front page
in the Economist,
front page on the Wall Street
Journal. No small thing.
If this works the way
this industry wants it to work,
this is going to be huge,
I mean, you are talking about
the potential for hundreds of
millions of devices eventually.
IBM is conspicuously absent from
the alliance. So is Microsoft,
which is racing to develop its own
personal communicating software standard.
Some say it's revolutionary.
Others simply say it's magic.
So we got a ton of coverage,
a ton of coverage,
and that's also where,
the first questions where,
"Well, this is, this is huge.
Are they going to be able to
actually fulfill on that vision?"
Marc Porat the President
and CEO and co-founder of General Magic.
Thank you very much for being here.
What do you see as your... your startup date
to actually have one of these
things in somebody's hand?
We'll be talking
about dates and about product features
in some detail this summer, but I did
want to have a chance to answer your...
In other words nobody is saying when
one of these is gonna be available?
- That's correct.
- OK, OK. So...
I caution...
I... I... I counsel caution...
...written record of it.
Um, but what we have, we have sort of...
It did not go smoothly
after that at all.
Moments where somebody has to start doing
something and, uh, what we have decided is
that for each of those important moments
we want to make sure that there is
real responsibility for someone
to, you know, to... to say,
"I am at this important moment,
you'll start doing your work."
Marc and Bill and Andy together decided,
"Well, this is the person
to manage the engineering team." That's what
they... that's what they wanted me to do.
And then there was this one day
where I came to talk to all of them
at once and they said,
"Oh we don't need a manager.
We don't want you, because we don't
need a manager. Our leader, our leaders
are Andy and Bill. Uh, that's what makes this
place great, is we don't have managers."
"We can be engineers without
a manager and we know what's best.
Managers are just going to get in the way.
We don't need program managers,
we don't need any of that stuff.
We are just going to make it happen."
There was a fearlessness
and a sense of correctness,
no questioning
of "Could I be wrong?" None.
Because that's what you need to
break out of earth's gravity,
you need... you need
an enormous amount of momentum.
And that momentum comes
from suppressing introspection
about the possibility
of failure.
The Alliance was the
biggest and most complicated
consortium of global companies
that had been created
up until that time
in American business.
You had competitors
at the table.
Sony and Panasonic
hated each other,
and it made it
hard for them to commit
fully to our business.
We needed to become independent,
and the only way
we could do that
was buy selling stock
to the public.
It was the first,
so called, concept IPO,
which is when a company could
go public without any revenue,
let alone any profits.
What made that possible?
The imprimatur of Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs was the gold
standard for investment banking.
If Goldman was going to do your initial
public offering, it meant that you too
met the gold standard for being a
real company with real prospects.
Didn't have a product,
didn't have a revenue stream,
but, you know, it seemed cool
at the time, let's invest.
The best investment
bankers came to pitch us.
One of them came and said,
"I must have a piece of the IPO.
What would it take, what... if I gave you
the shirt off my back, would that do it?
And I said, "Yeah. It would!"
And he stripped down...
Don't film this stuff.
And there we were standing in the
conference room with a half-naked banker.
He got the deal,
he participated in the IPO.
Where is that
Right here.
So then they didn't make any 44260s in five
volts without this, right, enable thing?
Probably the most challenging part
of the product was deciding what not to do.
What to do and what not to do,
because it's really hard, you're building
a very complex platform.
And so just often things would take longer.
For me, I had never done anything like that.
It was a huge challenge.
You really had to work very hard to
build what we were trying to build.
I really had to up my game and they were
all like, "Fadell you're doing it wrong.
You should be doing it that way." And I'm
like, "No, I think it's the right way."
But I couldn't really articulate
the way they could. So yeah,
- I had to challenge myself and kinda go into the dark hole.
- A3 Volts...
Once we got the basics there,
you take the new chip that had
whatever the latest software
that everybody had put together,
pop it in and begin to see
the screen come to life.
We could see it,
we could touch it and feel it.
But the responsiveness of the device was really
slow. Uh, the processor was underpowered,
for example. So the experience
was a bit tap... tap...
And, you know, kind of annoying.
I was sitting in a lot
of the user test labs.
The engineers would sit there and say,
"No, lady, what are you doing?
Don't, don't tap that. No, it's
not there, it's over there!"
And we'd all go, "Ooh."
There was some comedy there.
The thing at the bottom
that kinda looks like a comb,
I haven't the slightest idea
what that is.
This doesn't look
like it's working.
Is this noise supposed to be here?
- OK, we've crashed. We just crashed.
- Uh-oh.
It had this little top hat.
Like some operating systems
had little spinning wheels
or a top hat would
just start spinning.
And just start spinning
and just keep spinning.
You just stare
at this ####### thing.
Finally you just pull out the
battery and reset the device,
because there is
no point in waiting.
target for re-bunking.
It's not my fault, is it?
It's the software engineer.
And, you know, it's slowly dawning on us,
like we are not gonna get this done.
This isn't a finished
program by any means, is it?
The roadshow for the
General Magic public offering
was flying around in a private
jet, flying first class,
staying in the best hotels and having people
sit at our feet and lap up what we were saying.
The closest thing it comes to
is touring with a rock band.
We've got a roadie crew that has to
set up the cameras and the big screen
to make sure that people can see
the demonstration of the device.
What we envisioned is something in your hand
that's with you all the time, that allows you
to have access whether it's for fun or more
importantly for mission critical applications.
All we did was
demonstrate the device.
I would go out in the hallway and I
would pretend to be an airline company
and Marc would make an airline reservation,
and in real time, Marc would reserve a flight,
and blow people away because no one
had ever seen anything like it.
We've got tools,
we've got partners.
We've got markets that are
happening all around us.
Give us a clap.
Great. That's the right stuff.
The roadshow succeeded beyond
everybody's wild expectations.
The first concept public offering
in Silicon Valley history
and we raised a total of, uh,
96 million dollars.
That's about as good
as it gets.
We were kings of the universe,
and it was really fun.
Today we would call it
going viral. The press loved us.
They heard the vision, they saw what
was going on, and whoop! They're in.
I was just afraid Marc
thought things were just too easy to do.
How are you gonna get the price point?
How are you gonna keep it from crashing?
How are you gonna make it fast enough?
How are you gonna make it readable?
I just didn't think
he was focused on that stuff.
We were so distracted
by all the articles,
that we started to believe
our own... our own tale.
You know that we're gonna conquer the world,
but yet we hadn't finished.
We were not paying attention to the other
external trends that were happening around us,
because we were aiming so far out
in the future. It was like the...
the current context around us really
wasn't considered that relevant,
because we were aiming to far
out. But boy was that relevant.
Put simply the
internet is just a network of networks.
In recent years,
a relatively unknown communication system,
called the Internet, has exploded
in popularity with such intensity
that it's predicted that over 25 million
people will be using it by the year 1998...
And we had an intern who's like,
"Hey everybody,
it's all about the Web. You guys are totally
missing it." He was telling us this.
It was probably late 94' early 95' and you
could go to every Website at that time.
There was a list of them and you could
go and visit all of the Websites.
And it was all very rough,
you know there was mostly text.
Uh, having graphics was leading edge and we
were working on this rich multimedia system
with audio and graphics and things
animating and the richness was far beyond
what the web was, but the web
had... had worldwide reach.
This other force had appeared and
we weren't looking at it, you know.
We were in bed with AT& with our private cloud.
The whole point about having a closed
network is that people had to pay to use it,
and that's where AT&T was going
to generate it's revenue.
The problem was pivoting toward the World
Wide Web, that would have meant cannibalizing
or perhaps even wrecking AT&T's business
model and we just couldn't do it.
I have to invest the time,
the time to keep banging on the web
with my mouse and my keyboard because unless
I do that nothing happens. The web is passive.
But even though it was
all here, right in front of us,
we were unable to see
that was the way to go.
One of our developers,
Pierre Omidyar, very quiet, soft spoken guy.
He had a Webpage, and down at the bottom
it had a click through called Auction Web.
Every once in a while
I would pass his desk
and he would go, "Dee, come over
here, let me show you this."
So he would show me what he was doing
and of course he explained it as
it was gonna be kind
of a garage sale, flea market,
kind of site. OK, why do we need
that? And so...
And he came to me and said,
"Do you wanna help grow it?
You know, is it something you think is a
good idea? I'd like to turn it into a...
into a company possibly. Would you help me
spin it out?" I just looked at him and said,
"You know, this is the dumbest
idea I've ever heard.
You're gonna get strangers to
trust each other on the Internet?
Lots of luck. We're
not interested, have fun."
He tried to get lots of
people to join and nobody would join
'cause they just thought it was a flea market.
I took him down to an investor conference
in Palm Springs, so I got 15 people
in there and seven of them left
during his presentation,
because it was a long, boring presentation.
He had this pony tail down to his waist.
He didn't look like the kind of guy
who was the CEO of any kind of company.
Some investors said never do that to me again
because that's flea market, you could
never make a good brand out of that.
And that's how eBay was launched.
We had him in our
midst, and we had no idea.
He was, he was a tech support engineer
and a very quiet guy. We had no idea.
Meanwhile we are hearing about,
you know, the partners
need a final version
to put in the ROMS to ship.
Any deferral of schedule
is very politically charged,
so what we decided to do was just remove
the schedule from that information pack.
Sony was just, you know, insistent about
that, like, "Where is it? Where is it?"
And there's only so many excuses you can come
up with to try to put them off to say, you know,
"Just a little bit longer, just a little
bit longer." They're losing patience.
Hope to
deliver that by December 1st.
Uh, we're still evaluating that,
to see whether we can meet that date.
And then we started
blowing schedules.
It's... uh,
it's in development right now.
We expect to be delayed
by approximately one quarter.
- What is going on here?
- I've just gotten a little sick
of all this complaining about our schedule
slips, dammit. We do a good job here.
We are a little slow sometimes and
we have a lot of bugs, but so what?
I started to understand where the
cracks were starting to begin
and where we didn't have a real message,
and a real clear what we were building,
and what we weren't building,
and for whom, and for how much
was it gonna cost,
and when it was going to ship.
This is kind of the pet
shop where the animals are kept,
and the animals have different
behavior when you pick them up.
When I pick the cat up, it kind
of scrunches up against
the glass and when
I drop him, he tumbles.
These really creative people,
but they would have these flights of fancy.
I mean, they would just go off
in all kinds of crazy directions
and they were amazing ideas, but, dudes, we
got to ship a product at the end of the day.
And during that time,
the Newton shipped.
and gentleman, Newton is here.
Newton was the product
that was ready to go.
It was all about
new technologies.
The most important thing that I've ever
been involved with in my entire life.
It's bad enough you
get betrayed by them, but now
they're gonna try to
put you out of business.
There was always
something else to be tuned up,
there was some bug
to be caught,
there was some memory leak
to be plugged up
and the date got later
and later and later.
I'd made commitments.
The company had made
and the commitments
were now being undone
by our inability, or maybe
even cultural unwillingness
to let something out the door
that wasn't like perfect.
And I felt the first wave,
that first zap of terror.
We were too dazzled by
what it could possibly do
to kind of realize we were biting
off more than we could chew.
I was still in creative mode,
working on a flipping coin,
uh, so the game room would
have something in it.
Whereas you tap the coin and it
would flip around heads or tails
and gave you a random number
for feedback and all.
And I was setting a bad example
for the team by doing stuff
that was relatively
frivolous when we needed
to concentrate on the boring,
uh, but necessary parts.
And it really made me do some soul
searching that I was kind of, uh...
leading people astray
and not having
quite the right, uh,
seriousness of our situation.
The deadline is everything,
meet this date or miss your opportunity
I don't think we had
anyone saying that.
I was like,
"Huh... OK, I'm not crazy,
I love all the people I work with,
but something ain't right."
My heroes, these icons,
that I know as people now,
how are they letting
this happen?
Don't they see? Don't...
Aren't they listening?
Kind of like parents, right?
At some point when you grow up,
your parents can do no wrong,
and then they can only do wrong.
It was kind of that same thing.
I grew up as a person,
and these people who I saw
as parents and as educators
started to become
you know, humans as well
in my eye, not just icons.
And that's when it kind of flipped
for me like, "I can't just follow
the leader anymore. You need
to be a leader yourself."
One night, Sunday I think,
and I walk into the building and I hear
slam, slam, bang, bang, bang.
No idea what was going on, no idea.
And just banging away building
what looked to me like bunk beds.
I said, "Guys, what, what are you doing
here?" They said, "We're building bunk beds."
Why do you need to build a bunk bed in your
office? Why don't you go home to sleep?
We had to go up against it,
pull it together to get
something out the door.
We've got to get serious.
I remember like sleeping on,
you know, some random
mattress on the floor,
we didn't care about all this,
we didn't care whether we had furniture or
anything, we were just doing this thing.
So we're just working all out all the
time, uh, and I... I was actually sleeping
under my desk sometimes and then I would get
up in the morning and just start working again.
It's night time, people are
clustered around a handful of machines.
The rabbits are running around under
their feet, the parrot is squawking
and shitting all the time.
It smelled horrible.
Uh, it... it was dank,
musty, you know it smelt of sweat
and exhaustion and no one
wanted to be anywhere else.
We'll have it, we'll have it
tomorrow morning, alright? So...
Every single one of us,
it was all hands on deck, ship or die.
There was this
constant drum beat of,
"We have to ship, we have
to ship, we have to ship."
In terms of intensity and
pressure it was the best of times
and it was the worst of times. In some
ways we were never closer to each other
and we never felt better about what we
were doing, because we were getting there.
- My fingers?
- Uh-huh. Both hands.
- That'll never work.
- One finger at the other end.
It's quick, it's...
there's a pleasing pace to it.
- A little better? OK.
- Yeah, much better, much better.
It's this
incredible experience
of sort of all these different people
working, you know, like a symphony.
This thing that we
imagined, now has become real.
We've done it, and now you can
see it and touch it and use it as well.
It's time to ship.
We need to get this out.
It was one in the morning,
everyone was there,
everyone was exhausted.
It was a classic decision
that every project has
to make like, go or no go.
So here we all were, in it together and
saying like, "Is this it, are we done?"
Marc Porat said, "Anyone
could speak about whether we should ship.
Is the software ready?" And a ton of
engineers said, "We should wait."
Marc listened and he said, "Our partners
have given us a deadline, we're shipping."
So welcome to the first public demonstration
of... of General Magic's technologies.
I wanna talk a little bit about, um, you know,
we worked really hard the last four years
putting all this stuff together.
Uh, I feel, you know, emotional about it.
Uh, people, uh, people...
What I wanna do is, uh, is talk about the, uh...
The incredible... the best part of working on
this the last four years is not the invention,
I... I love helping create this stuff,
but the best part was working
with the incredible team that we
have assembled at General Magic.
This isn't the work of just me and Bill,
but the work of some incredibly brilliant,
passionate people that I'm honored to be
able to work with and I think these guys
these... We're working with a bunch of
young programmers in their twenties
that are going to go on to do things that
dwarf anything that Bill and I have ever done.
They are just incredibly great and so, without
further ado, with, uh, great pride, uh,
here it is world, Magic Cap.
It's a new way to
reach just about anyone -
...anywhere, anytime.
You're only a press
of a button away.
Sony Magic Link,
and what it takes off your desk
is only matched,
by what it takes off your mind.
Sony Magic Link Intelligent Communicator.
It clears your desk, it clears your mind."
Still so very disturbing when you,
when you work on something for so long
and then you let it out into the world.
It's like having this baby
and like, have you raised it well enough?
Is it going to be okay on its own out there?
Uhm, it's a little traumatic,
actually to let something out like that.
Hey, these really belong to you,
somebody asked me that. They are yours!
Whatever doubts we had or whatever
disagreements or anything, we were on.
We were, this was the moment,
this was the launch.
We were gonna make it, we were gonna
succeed and it was gonna be amazing.
So, what are we doing?
Today we are making the first steps.
This afternoon it's out there, the devices
are out there and the service is out there.
We had arranged to have
a demonstration day at Fry's,
a famous place
for new product introductions.
And a few famous people from Apple came,
just out of courtesy.
We went into the store and all of the, all of
the demonstration stuff was way in the back,
behind the refrigerators, you couldn't see
anything. It became clear that the Fry's staff
had not been trained on how to
demonstrate the devices, or even knew
what they were or who we were,
or why we were there.
We talked about
our user as being Joe Sixpack.
And I do remember sitting around thinking, "You
know, Joe Sixpack really doesn't have email."
And if that was our target,
it was very early for... for Joe Sixpack.
I worried about the size,
I worried about the battery life,
I worried about the 800 dollars.
I don't even know
which button to push.
No, I don't need that.
- You might need it.
- I don't.
What it really comes down to
is a personal decision
as to whether or not you really
wanna be in touch all the time.
My stomach turned sour
and I thought we're doomed.
No one came, no one
bought it. Nothing.
And so we are waiting for the sales
to happen and the sales numbers were low.
Very low, and there were some problems
with the AT&T Network. So bit by bit
we began to get evidence that this
thing wasn't gonna rocket right,
it was gonna be more difficult, and that's
the reality that starts to sink in,
is that, this is not
as easy as it seems.
We had sold fewer than 3000
devices, and almost all of those
had been sold to friends and family
of the company and our partners.
Virtually none
to ordinary consumers.
I was looking at the list
of the names of the buyers
and I recognized all of them,
I knew who they were, and I thought
that we don't have a business here,
we are not gonna make it.
Share price, that's I think,
the greatest concern in this room and that's
what we're going to take on,
head on.
The explosion of the Internet has
forced a rethinking of strategies
across the entire industry.
I have believed for years,
and continue to believe,
that the notion of taking
intelligent devices with you,
of the scale from this big
to that small
is for real as a market.
I continue to believe
in the wireless dimension,
there will be smart phones,
there will be smart pagers,
and maybe even things like
intelligent watches, for all we know.
It's a question of resources,
priorities and market readiness,
uh, for us to figure out
where the sweet spot is. We...
Can we make some money while this is going on?
This guy from the San
Francisco Chronicle, I mean, I remember
he just drilled me.
He was like,
"You guys are going
out of business.
Sony is going to drop you.
I have sources that have told me that.
What is the company's response?
What happens
when Sony drops you?
You guys are dead."
It's like, dude, you didn't work
here for three and a half years,
pulling all-nighters,
seven days a week.
You didn't see the future
and know what's coming
and, and now it's all
just in ashes around you.
I'm looking
at spreadsheets, in my office
and thinking, "In a half hour I'm
gonna have to get on the phone
and talk to the analyst from Goldman Sachs
and I don't know what the hell I'm gonna say.
How do I create the impression
that there is a future here."
Marc did it,
but, uh, I was at a loss.
The initial experience is terrific,
and where we are headed
is sublime, and to get from
terrific to sublime takes time.
- I don't want to be negative.
- Why is this tilted?
- It's not titled.
- It's been a lot of hype.
I would not say that in the video.
Where we are starting, as exciting as it is,
is not where we are going
to end up. This will take time.
It's a voyage that takes time, it's a journey
that takes time. This will take time.
It takes time.
You have to be patient.
absolutely perfect.
You know, I just thought
as you were talking
how complicated it is
for you to be figuring out
- what you can and can't say.
- Yeah, it's true.
It's a whole other issue
I wasn't thinking about.
I was torn up, it was...
To walk in, there was a week, you know,
Phil actually had to set me aside
because I was so distraught, that there was
a week or two that I actually just took off.
I didn't even show up for work
because I was so distraught.
And then Phil actually had to sit me down
and go, "Tony what's wrong? You're not you."
Like to go from 80,
120 hours a week to none.
And so for me personally that
was a major rocking event.
Then the next one disappointment for me is,
you know, I started design devices
and I started to try to mold
General Magic technology
into something
that I thought was sellable.
And so I created basically a whole
product plan, and technology plan
for what I thought was going
to be a successful product.
I go back to General Magic, I said,
"Look I have a firmed up product plan,
you need to mold your software to build this
kind of device." And they just looked at me
and said, "Sorry, we can't do that.
We have other priorities."
For General Magic, as I saw it,
was, basically the end.
They were defeated.
That was the saddest part about that meeting,
is that, and Andy in particular
I think was the one who said,
"We're not gonna... we can't do this.
We're not going to do it," and...
they just didn't...
They didn't have anything left.
I am a particularly loyal person,
so it was, it was
very hard for me
to leave General Magic.
I was fully bought into
what we were doing, uhm,
and I stayed perhaps even longer than
maybe I ought to have, to try to help
change the direction, uhm,
but it was, it was beyond,
uhm, saving, unfortunately.
It looked like
a massive disaster,
a failure, a catastrophe.
It was a sense of rejection that
penetrated right to your heart
and your gut,
and I... I just felt sick.
It was, uh, devastating.
For me it was, it was really devastating
and, uh, I thought immediately,
"I have to take time off.
It's... it's going to be a long
time before I start committing
to yet another blue sky,
uh, proposition."
The vision that
Marc, Bill and Andy had sold,
not just to the world,
but to us,
that this was a cool, fun,
lovely thing to have, and that everybody
would want one because we did.
And we were wrong.
I think the conceptual ideas
were there, the user base was not there,
the technology was not there,
the things to do on it were not there,
it's like inventing the television
in the 1880's, you just couldn't.
Like it doesn't matter if you invented
it because you didn't have shows,
you didn't have capabilities.
I think there was actually nothing
General Magic could have done
to succeed, because they were
at the wrong time.
The way I think about that, it's like a wave.
If you start paddling too early
your arms will be tired
by the time the wave arrives,
and the wave will slide right
under you and leave you behind.
That's sort of what happened with General
Magic. They saw the wave before anyone else,
and they thought it was coming sooner
and they got tired before it arrived.
Yeah, but they had
all the right talent.
You can become
so focused, and such a believer
in what you are doing that you can miss
the change of context in an industry.
In this case, the World Wide Web and
General Magic probably didn't pivot,
uh, fast enough to the post world after
the Web, but I missed it as well.
I was getting increased
pressure as a CEO of Apple,
by the Apple board, you know,
why was I wasting Apple's time and money
on these post PC devices and not
just focusing on the Macintosh.
The result? I eventually
got fired by Apple.
I learned from failure how incredibly
painful it can be when you fail publicly.
It wasn't just the little failures,
but, you know, I had to fail
in front of the whole world
when I was fired from Apple.
It really hurt me for a long,
long time, and it wasn't
till about 15 years later that I could
actually get my head around and deal with it.
But the stories of Silicon
Valley are always the stories
of these incredibly
successful companies,
and yet here is a company,
General Magic,
that wasn't commercially successful
and eventually went bankrupt,
and yet so much of what came out
of General Magic
is the foundation of everything
we take for granted today.
Failure doesn't...
doesn't stop me as long as it's
on a path towards
something really wonderful.
But with General Magic there was a
certain deflation in me personally,
where I felt like, uh, "Will I be able
to do this one more time? I'm not sure."
Because the potential was so phenomenal
and you could see this is going to happen.
You know that this is going
to happen, and you realize
you're not gonna be the one
that makes it happen.
It's even more comprehensive
than I remembered.
Now that I look at it,
I think, what were we thinking?
We were trying to do all this?
And, you know...
And we thought we could push the industry,
we could make them do it.
Not there, it wasn't there.
I'm old enough now to know that it's
behind me, you know, it's... it's, uh...
To create technical revolution
is... is really a game for people
in their, in their twenties.
The stamina, you're also not
as contaminated by the past.
More than anything else
it makes me feel old.
That, uh, stuff I... I worked on
or bought, you know, is... are...
they are now museum pieces.
Yeah, so there is a General Magic device,
the Sony Magic Link.
Now I have thought about it a lot,
there is a whole litany of things,
uh, we should have
done differently.
A lot of blunders that I'm
personally responsible for.
It was completely possible
to achieve the most ambitious
of our visions, uh,
but in a staged fashion.
We sometimes need closure
on things that are not closeable.
A peak experience, positive or negative
happens, it's not easy to resolve.
In the moment we all do the best we
can do in the moment, at that moment.
It's in retrospect that you see
what the impact was.
I felt, a profound
feeling of humiliation.
Shame that I had brought everyone
along with such high anticipation
and then couldn't at the end,
deliver it for them,
and for myself, and for them.
So I remember coming home one evening,
so the kids were still up.
"Daddy." And daddy had given
it all to perfect strangers.
And my wife said,
"Don't come home like this."
Can you, Marc
slide over to your right,
so you are not
bracketing the plate.
"If you need to sit
in your car, for hours
or for all night,
don't come back.
Don't walk in the door if you're not
a person, if you're not present,
because, you're not wanted."
And you know in... in...
it collapsed,
it all came tumbling down, and the company
didn't work, and my marriage didn't work,
in the same 12 month period,
you know.
And it all fell apart.
Have you
told your children about this?
Well I'm talking to them now,
aren't I?
It's one of the reasons
I agreed to make this film.
Life is ebbs and flows,
when a wave crashes on the shores
and the rocks hear,
you don't think of the wave as having failed.
You think of the wave as having done its thing
and the next wave will come and the next wave,
and that's how I think of
General Magic. A moment in time.
It always amazed me, because I
haven't seen Marc in many, many years,
you know, why there wasn't
a second act.
Because here is an individual
who was so good,
so exceptional
at what he did well.
Brought together
perhaps the best team
and the reality is,
in my mind Marc never failed,
you know, because he actually
did conceptualize
so many of the products
that we have today.
It was a decade of failure
in Silicon Valley for me.
General Magic was a disaster, Phillips was a
critical success, but a business disaster.
Then I had my start up and then, you know,
during the start up times the Internet crunch
happened and I couldn't get any more
funding and that was a disaster.
So it was a disaster after disaster
from a business perspective.
But from a personal perspective it
caused me to grow up each time,
and learn because I was faced
with this real reality
of like, this isn't working and you
better understand why and learn from it.
Because I had to go through that to be
able to set my... to set the stage up
for what was to come
in 2001 and beyond.
General Magic gave us a
glimpse of what the future could be.
The technology unfortunately
wasn't there at the time,
but those dreams,
we kept dreaming.
Tony is very big on music and he
would talk about music a lot and how,
how someday we were gonna have,
you know, a little device
with all our music on it and I'm
like, "OK, why do I need that?"
I loved music growing up in Detroit,
and I was always sick
and tired of lugging my CD's and
all this other stuff around.
I wanted something where
I could take it all the time.
MP3 showed up.
I was like, music is coming.
Next thing I know I get a call, "We've looked
at all the MP3 players, we think they are bad.
We think there is one that can
be done in the Apple way."
And then Steve said, "Now we need you to
come on the team to put it together."
And then I started calling
all kinds of companies
all around the valley, around world.
Trying to figure out displays
trying to figure out batteries,
trying to figure out storage
and then Steve was able, and the team
was able to build on top of those
and make it even better,
and so we were like, it's happening.
Boom, that's iPod.
I happen to have one right here
in my pocket, as a matter of
fact. There it is, right there.
The Magic lesson was,
we have to ship it as fast as possible
so you could learn from the market
and you can iterate quickly.
Every year we made sure we had
a new version of the iPod.
And then we added
downloadable apps,
games, email,
communications, wireless.
We had these different pieces and I'm
like this is starting to come together.
I remember this,
and it was like I was back at General Magic
again in a way, because it's what we
talked about, just 15 years later.
This is real, Steve goes,
"It's taking off, we need
to put it on a cellphone."
Today Apple is
going to reinvent the phone.
And here it is.
This is one device.
This has been, at that point,
17 years in Silicon Valley,
and we were finally able
to realize the dream we had
in 1991 on stage
and Steve Jobs talking about it.
We're going to use the best
pointing device in the world.
We're going to use a pointing
device that we are all born with,
we're born with ten of them,
we are going to use our fingers.
So, let's go ahead
and turn it on, alrighty.
I was proud to think that,
"Yeah, my god, we did it."
Tony did it. Everything
we wanted to do, there it is.
and on the other hand,
I was sad that it wasn't us.
But I also felt vindicated
in some way.
That the ideas had been right,
the timing had been wrong.
Steve would often call me after
like the big product introductions,
just to see what I thought. 4:00 p.m. I
was in my office, I got a call from Steve.
He said, "What do you think,
what do you think?"
And it was like the worst cell
phone connection I've ever heard.
You know it was all like,
you could hear Steve, say:
So the first thing I ask him, I said,
"Are you talking on an iPhone?"
He goes, "No, no, no."
But I think he was.
Steve told me on the phone,
he thought a lot about Magic Cap
during the course
of the iPhone development,
and in particular mentioned the
projected keyboard, he had seen that
and used it with Magic Cap
and that gave him faith
that, that was the right
direction to go.
- Hey Zarko.
- Hi, Andy.
Hi, I'm in the middle of giving a
demo of Magic Cap for cellphones.
It's really exciting,
it's working great.
- You guys... You guys did a great job.
- It's incredible.
Yeah, yeah it's almost like you
are in the next room or something.
- Yeah, amazing. Bye.
- Yeah, OK.
Had I thought that
it would be done by Steve Jobs,
if I had known that then,
I think I wouldn't have been as devastated.
Because then I would know that it would
be done and it would be done right.
It was very gratifying,
because it had come full circle, you know?
Started with the Mac,
and had spawned General Magic.
General Magic progeny had
spawned iPhone and Android.
I mean, we can't
forget the Android.
Thank you for joining us today.
You know Android
obviously, you know,
being an open source project,
we consider ourselves
the shepherd of it.
So you see the vision continues.
You know, if you look at Android,
Andy Rubin droid, Andy was right there
with us and then he carried it to Android
and he makes it to now where we are.
I mean, here's the test,
what if General Magic
never happened,
would we have had Android?
Not a chance, I mean all these things
were linked together, one after another.
One out of every five
people on the planet uses
an Android phone, uh,
growing every month.
The vision was true, the vision
was accurate, the vision is the idea
that basically got computing
to the last hurdle.
The last hurdle was
when computing got into
the palm of the hand
of everybody in the world.
And between Tony and...
and Andy, that's about 98%
of the world's smartphones,
is those two guys who sat 15 feet apart.
That's pretty amazing,
and that by itself is...
brings such satisfaction.
It's, uh... I can't even describe it.
First obvious thing to mention
is that we are not alone here today.
We are being filmed for posterity as
part of our... our introduction video.
Who knows if any of this
will really be in the video.
Imagine a star
that went supernova
and everything
that you touch today,
everything you interact
with today technology wise
is because that star power
touched it.
I mean, all these companies,
and I don't know
if you add up the value
of those what it would be,
but they all had
their genesis with this crew
of just a few dozen people,
who were at General Magic.
It was one of the only
times I've ever felt like
there's no weak link
in this chain,
everyone on this team,
uh, is brilliant,
is so committed and passionate.
What's so rare is having all
those things at the same time.
When you look at
that class of people
and what the world looks like today,
that was the training ground
for us, for what has
shaped the world of today.
We all carry things from
General Magic, in terms of our view
of what could be
possible in the future.
And as engineers
you can't help but think,
"There's... there's... Can we
do this now? How about now?"
I am so, so excited to show you our work,
and I'm wearing Apple Watch right here.
A lot of General Magic was imagining what the
world would be like if some things existed
that maybe we would make,
and that's so fun to do.
You can control both the eyes
and the mouth to get just
the right expression you would
like to send to somebody.
And that is so true in so many fields
right now, you are able to actually
transform industries
by your work in technology.
When you look at someone like
Megan taking all of her knowledge
and all the things she learned,
and now bringing it
to the government and seeing
how the US Government is
transforming through that.
Hello, everybody, how you doing?
- Good to see you, is this my seat right here?
- Yes, it is.
President Obama had created the US Chief
Technology Officer, which is my job
and our team and really said:
"Come and help me using those new methods
on some of these harder problems,
these problems that are in our civic space."
There is the future right here.
One of the things
that I like to work on is
how to use technology
to make people's lives better
and sort of harness talent
and unlock talent.
I love thinking about,
uh, how magic is anywhere.
Uh, in everyone,
and how do you pull that out
and really make sure that the talent that
wants to do its thing is able to do it.
You know, as the human
race thrives really on this planet
it creates all kinds of problems,
education, uniting people, climate change.
There is not enough water, there is not
enough food. What are we going to do?
Those can all be solved with technologies,
it's just a question how humanity uses it.
But, the reliance on technology for everything,
for human interactions is worrisome.
Where people are, you know, you go to
anything and everyone is like this, right.
Um, so I worry about what
happens to society and children
and how they interact
with each other.
You can't change the human race,
yeah, but you can start
to educate them so that they
change their behaviors.
And so the question is, can you
take these powerful tools
and do something that really
does help a lot of people?
Can you inspire a group
of young people now, to really,
to be creative and come up
with these new ideas?
Tonight, we feature an iconic
inventor of iPod and iPhone,
I would like to bring up
five numbers to introduce him.
Seven billion, two hundred
and seventy nine million,
three hundred and ninety five thousand,
eight hundred and seventy three.
This is the number of kilowatt hours
saved by Nest Thermostat owners.
Eighteen, the number of
generations of iPod's shipped.
Three hundred, the number
of patents authored.
Three hundred and fifty million,
the number of iPods sold.
Join me in welcoming
the one and only Tony Fadell.
Hi, everybody.
Let's say, you show up now, you're a kid,
you show up here in the Valley,
um, what would you tell someone
similar to you who just walked in,
you know, wet behind the ears
in Silicon Valley today?
You know I am only up here because
of many people in this audience,
who helped me get here,
and that's the magic of Silicon Valley.
We all started in the same place
you are in today.
Everyone has the same self
doubts and no one's perfect.
And when you meet your heroes
and when you work with them
and they treat you as a peer,
learn from it.
Keep moving. If you're
dreaming the right dream,
you're on the right path.
I've been there before,
it's tough, keep going.
These people helped me
to become the person I am.
How can we take this same idea
of bold dramatic change
to help create a better society?
We are going to have
to invent those things
and do it in all of these other domains that are
being touched or revolutionized by technology.
It may seem daunting, it may seem difficult,
it may seem impossible,
but if you just find the right
people and keep seeking out
knowledge and advice and keep
staying open to make a better world
regardless of where you come
from, great things can happen.
We judge things
by the moment in which we feel
that they have made an impact
on the mass culture.
They are in the anthropology,
they are in the culture of how we see
ourselves, and how we come
to expect the world to be
and I don't think that will
happen for another ten years.
I think we will build to it
incrementally and every quarter
and every year it will
get closer and closer,
but I don't think it will be until
the 21st century when the stuff
we are working on today becomes
unexceptional, unexceptional.
Not worth making a video about,
and, and that's the test...
Except for historical documentary purposes.
And, and that's the test
of, uh, of hey, we've made it.
We've really made a difference.
We've really changed the world.