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    • Part 1: Samsung asked me to speak at their conference about products people love. I decided to speak about how smartphones were invented because I was one of the lucky few who was an eyewitness to their development.

      When Steve Jobs gave his famous commencement address, he said: “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking back.”

      It was a wild and crazy set of dots that had to connect to build one of the most loved products in history and the amazing applications it made possible.

    • Part 2: It started way back when Steve left Apple with 8 people and started NeXT. I was in developer relations and the idea was simple: we would make a computer with beautiful design that didn’t crash like the Mac and Windows did, and that developers would love. We had no idea we were writing the code that would power the iPhone.

      👆That was 1991. You probably see a young Steve in front of a black computer, but there is a critical dot here — a man so obsessed with design the computer had to be turned at 28 degrees to the front of the desk because our logo was turned at 28 degrees to the vertical.

      He fussed over the particular shade of black and we had to make a special demo desk with the exact same black paint for his keynotes, and that desk had to be turned at 28 degrees to the stage, measured with a protractor.

      👆 The small e was homage to e=mc**2.

      I was on my hands and knees with a protractor on many stages to get that right. For those too young to know what a protractor looks like:

      In the day, I used one like this:

      I didn’t know any other tech exec obsessed with design like him; he said that was something he had over Bill Gates. We couldn’t see then that one day we’d hold our computers in our hands at hipster coffee shops and if they weren’t beautiful and didn’t make us look good, we wouldn’t love them.

    • Part 3: Selling a new computer was hard and around 1992 a few of us became intoxicated by the idea of a device to hold in our hands to send electronic postcards to each other. The original Macintosh team got together, who were famous for humanizing technology to make it loveable.

      For example, the designer Susan Kare, who had given the Mac its smile, joined the new company and designed its logo:

      I think that’s the most loveable logo ever created. The office rabbit’s name was Bowser, btw. It wasn’t house trained.

      I joined the company with the mission of recruiting developers to create applications you couldn’t live without. We tried hard to use loveable language for everything. For example, we needed a data center so we named it The Cloud. The name stuck.

      It was probably Joanna Hoffman, former product manager for the Mac, who was portrayed by Kate Winslet in the Steve Jobs movie, who thought up the name cloud. English was her fourth language, but she really understood humanizing products, making them emotional. 
      This is what a Telecard looked like:

      You could add animated emoticons (we called them stickers) way ahead of their time. Very loveable.

    • Part 4: We hired several very young engineers to make it happen: Andy Rubin, who went on to develop Android:

      Tony Fadell, who went on to play a big part with the iPhone:

      Megan Smith, who went on to become America's CTO under Obama:

      I remember them looking so young. Tony had a blonde mullet. Here was Megan back then:

    • Part 5: Steve came over to try a device. This is what Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson gave him to use:

      Steve sent Telecards back & forth for a few weeks and got the experience in his bones. I had what I thought was a great application: you could search for an address and get a map! Revolutionary. It would even give turn-by-turn instructions from the cloud, and with this device you could get them wirelessly in your car! 

      But Steve crushed me and said it should come with all the apps you’d need. We shouldn’t make consumers install them. How many apps for something like this do you even need?

      We thought people would love it more if they could program it. 

      Of course, what we really envisioned was a smaller, cheaper device with all the things we didn’t have then: good battery life, color screens, wireless infrastructure… Here are the original drawings:

    • Part last: My friends on the iPhone team said Steve made them crazy with his passion for perfection and design, insisting the screen be glass and the back be one piece. I’ve heard similar tales about Elon from my friends at Tesla. At the last minute, Steve included the mapping application on the original iPhone that I had loved so much on Magic devices:

      It wasn’t until iPhone 2 that Steve agreed to a development environment, and that’s when things really took off because creative people built great apps that Apple and Google could never have imagined. Who predicted ride sharing back then?

      We couldn’t solve all the technical issues back then but the people who were there went on to change the world.

      The lessons of humanizing language and great, humanizing design can now be seen everywhere in the world’s most loved products. Personally, I love the language Slack uses.

      20 years after General Magic, we made a documentary about it. I didn’t think many people would watch it because the company went bankrupt, but the movie became the #1 documentary on iTunes last year and part of in-flight entertainment all over the world.

      I think the movie’s success is because people are fascinated by what it takes to develop truly great products — the twists and turns, the emotion, the failure, a chance to achieve a dream and change the world. 

      Probably a lucky few who read this will change the world with a great new app we didn't know we need.