GENERAL MAGIC

The company that invented the iPhone — two decades too early.

You’ve probably never heard of General Magic, but in Silicon Valley the company is a legend. An Apple spin off in 1990 with most of the original Mac team on board and a brave new product idea: a portable gadget they called “personal communicator”.

Connected to a telephone socket, it could manage e-mails, dial phone numbers and even send SMS, like instant messages, complete with emoji and stickers.

Provided with an app store equipped with games, music and downloadable programs that could do things like check stock prices and keep track of expenses.

In the original Vision he could take pictures with an accessory (optional). There was also a prototype with a TOUCH SCREEN that could make cell phone calls and surf the web wirelessly, then embryonic. In other words, General Magic pulled out of his proverbial hat the technological equivalent of a working iPhone, a decade before Apple started working on the real one. Shortly after, General Magic himself disappeared.

The early ’90s iphone story

Fueled by hugely positive press, General Magic’s concept IPO in 1995, the first of its kind, raised $96 million before the product had been launched. The stock nearly doubled on the first day, closing at over $26 per share. By 1999, the stock had plunged to $1.38.

Money wasn’t an issue the early ’90s iPHONE were super founded!

General Magic had its origins in Marc Porat convincing Apple CEO John Sculley in the late eighties to spin off a new division to invent an early prototype of the smart phone. Under Sculley’s leadership, Apple developed General Magic’s operations.

A spin off of APPLE … can you imagine … WoW

“I came to Apple in 1988 and remember one of the first things I said to Sculley was that Apple had no future unless they did something beyond the computer,” Porat recalled. “They were so insecure and chaotic and dysfunctional that we [General Magic] were able to work our way through and recruit amazing people.”

The team who invented the future … today are considered some of the best and brightest minds in business and technology.

The 98% of the world’s smartphone market can be traced back to two people who sat no more than 10 feet apart at a company called General Magic? That’s Tony Fadell and Andy Rubin, in case you were wondering.

So too in that office sat the founder of eBay Pierre Omidyar, the original Macintosh engineer Andy Hertzfeld, their head of marketing Joanna Hoffman (played by Kate Winslet in the Steve Jobs movie), Kevin Lynch aka the man behind the Apple Watch, the former CTO of the USA Megan Smith and a host of names who went on to great success and today are considered some of the best and brightest minds in business and technology.

Such an AMAZING team again and again WoW so what went wrong?

General Magic had what it takes to become a very successful company, a BIG TECH like APPLE to MICROSOFT, so money, the right partners a great team, what went wrong?

the General Magic original logo

“Simply” the fact that the CEO was not able to be faithful to the original vision, letting himself be distracted by the good intentions of his stakeholders.

The Vision is so important that only those who are able to be faithful to it to the end and uncompromisingly succeed as Steve Jobs has shown, but that’s another story that hopefully many future CEO’s will be able to repeat in the future, and for one time, why not also in the old EU continent.

VISION and REALITY

The story is now available also in movie and always remember:

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Alan Kay

©2020emanuelebertoli  Images in this post are considered to be in the public domain since found on the web and media therefore supposed to be copyright-free images – it’s not intended from the author of the post to violate any copyright right infringement laws, or to offend anyone; in the case you advise a violation, would you advise me and I’ll promptly remove them. The post it’s also an expression of my personal opinion, and do not intend as well to have any commercial purpose

SERENDIPITY

serendipidity

In a few days I will be testimonial in some events, from Sunnyvale to Milan, speaking about different arguments related to innovation, sustainability and internationalization.

In all of them I see a red thread that links every moment of my life lately and that we can call Serendipity.

“This discovery I made by a talisman [a procedure achieving results like a charm] … by which I find everything I want … wherever I dip for it. This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word.” Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip.

He explained that this name was part of the title of “a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip[1]: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of….”

serendipidity4

Being curios and open minded is not so obvious, how you can understand who is?

  • An open mind person has almost always an open heart
  • An open heart has almost always shining and charming eyes
  • Charming eyes has almost always a gentle attitude
  • A gentle attitude has no envy
  • No envy means you can appreciate your fellows
  • Having fellows means you are not alone
  • Being Social minded means you know the meaning of giving back
  • Giving back is the secret of happiness

happy 2If you recognize yourself in this description you are a lucky person like me.

What are you waiting for? Join the club 🙂

[1] .[From the characters in the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, who made such discoveries, from Persian Sarandīp, Sri Lanka, from Arabic Sarandīb, ultimately from Sanskrit Siṃhaladvīpaḥ : Siṃhalaḥ, Sri Lanka + dvīpaḥ, island; see Dhivehi.]

 

nasir-ol-molk-mosque-shiraz-iran-persia

©2018emanuelebertoli  Images in this post are considered to be in the public domain since found on the web and media therefore supposed to be copyright-free images – it’s not intended from the author of the post to violate any copyright right infringement laws, or to offend anyone; in the case you advise a violation, would you advise me and I’ll promptly remove them. The post it’s also an expression of my personal opinion, and do not intend as well to have any commercial purpose

Finally Good design is the new black

Hypercity

So distant in time so near in vision Steve Jobs and Adriano Olivetti.

jobs olivettiGreat companies in the past as Olivetti and now such as Apple and Tesla are all design-driven companies.

These companies adopt design thinking when they are creating new products and solving business problems.

Last year, Forrester Research and Adobe found that design-driven companies have outperformed the S&P Index by 219% over 10 years.

From ELF <<“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

— George Washington Carver

Design is a key differentiator in driving business success and customer engagement. In a study conducted by the Design Management Institute reviewing business performance for design-driven companies as compared to the S&P Index over a decade (2004-2014), design-driven companies consistently outperformed the S&P by 219%.>>

And if you like numbers, take a look at these. Design-led companies reported:

  • 41% higher market share
  • 46% competitive advantage overall
  • 50% more loyal customers
  • 70% digital experiences beat competitors

Take Apple as an example, it wasn’t always the mega-success that it is today. In 1997, Steve Jobs conducted a major company overhaul. He cut several product lines and pushed the company toward developing a distinctly Apple experience. To this day, all of the “i” products’ look, feel, and user-friendliness set Apple apart from its competitors.

Design thinking showed us that Apple was a company with a soul and vision.

Design is the new black

the-white-house-beThe speed of innovation is only getting faster and it’s because of the internet. It’s permeating every business. Take television and film, i.e. House of Cards was bought by Netflix somewhat because Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, looked at the data of Netflix users’ streaming behavior and concluded that there was an audience for Kevin Spacey.

Everything that any profession does—from research and development, to strategy, to content creation—can gain a soul only through design thinking. This is why I love design.

Images in this post are considered to be in the public domain since found on the web and media therefore supposed to be copyright-free images – it’s not intended from the author of the post to violate any copyright right infringement laws, or to offend anyone; in the case you advise a violation, would you advise me and I’ll promptly remove them. The post it’s also an expression of my personal opinion, and do not intend as well to have any commercial purpose.