1997 WWDC Steve Jobs closing keynote

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    Posted: 30 June 2011 06:19 PM

    I found this linked on the BGR anonymous letter to RIMM executives.  I’m just halfway through it, but it’s SO good, and so interesting, I thought it merited its own topic.

    1997 WWDC Steve Jobs closing keynote

    Probably the only time I’ve seen Steve fielding questions directly from developers.  Even back then, you can see the focus and intent, which were key to reshaping Apple for the next 15 years.  It’s an hour long, but it’s definitely worth it.  Definitely one of the best pieces of Apple history out there.

         
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    Posted: 30 June 2011 06:47 PM #1

    Ratty put that up on Sunday. Great stuff! I ripped it and played the opening sections for my staff.  The part about focus derived from the word NO and other comments about adding value resonate with where our organization is about to go. Keep the main thing the main thing!

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  • Posted: 30 June 2011 06:59 PM #2

    The most interesting part of this presentation is toward the end when he is asked about the Newton.  He said he terminated the product because he didn’t believe that Apple (or any other company) could handle three operating systems at the same time.

    He also said he tried it for three (?)  months and hated it.

    He tthen went on to say that what he wanted in a small device like that was connectivity (a modem) and a key board.  He didn’t want a thing to scribble on.  Sounds like he was already thinking about the iPad.

    Don’t miss the last ten minutes!

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  • Posted: 30 June 2011 09:27 PM #3

    westech - 30 June 2011 09:59 PM

    The most interesting part of this presentation is toward the end when he is asked about the Newton.  He said he terminated the product because he didn’t believe that Apple (or any other company) could handle three operating systems at the same time.

    He also said he tried it for three (?)  months and hated it.

    He tthen went on to say that what he wanted in a small device like that was connectivity (a modem) and a key board.  He didn’t want a thing to scribble on.  Sounds like he was already thinking about the iPad.

    Don’t miss the last ten minutes!

    I would suggest that no one miss the entire keynote.  On several occasions I saw glimpses into the iPad and iCloud vision.  Both of these are several years ahead of today’s competition.  If Jobs was thinking in these terms 14 years ago, then he truly is a single minded visionary.

    Makes you catch your breath when you think what might come out of that innovation factory in the next 5 years.

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  • Posted: 30 June 2011 10:39 PM #4

    Gregg Thurman - 01 July 2011 12:27 AM

    Makes you catch your breath when you think what might come out of that innovation factory in the next 5 years.

    Agreed. The analogy often used is that Apple is playing chess while everybody else is playing checkers. Apple looks not just at the next move but many, many moves down the line.

    Just look at iCloud. First Apple had to conceive it. Then they had to plan how to execute it. Then they had to build the data center in North Carolina and build all the complex software to support it. It took YEARS for Apple to plan out and execute iCloud. Apple has probably been thinking about iCloud since 2008. Or 2007. Or, perhaps, even before the iPhone was announced.

    As you say, the sheer scope of it takes your breath away.

         
  • Posted: 30 June 2011 11:11 PM #5

    FalKirk - 01 July 2011 01:39 AM
    Gregg Thurman - 01 July 2011 12:27 AM

    Makes you catch your breath when you think what might come out of that innovation factory in the next 5 years.

    Agreed. The analogy often used is that Apple is playing chess while everybody else is playing checkers. Apple looks not just at the next move but many, many moves down the line.

    Just look at iCloud. First Apple had to conceive it. Then they had to plan how to execute it. Then they had to build the data center in North Carolina and build all the complex software to support it. It took YEARS for Apple to plan out and execute iCloud. Apple has probably been thinking about iCloud since 2008. Or 2007. Or, perhaps, even before the iPhone was announced.

    As you say, the sheer scope of it takes your breath away.

    I think Apple started planning for today the day after Amelio departed.

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    Posted: 01 July 2011 12:35 AM #6

    I was at this keynote live…

    It was, and will always be the day I rejoiced that Steve was back.

    His demeanor was spot on, and I was left with shivers down my back. I at the time thought some of his decisions were wrong. I even internally hissed several times. I left feeling very deflated. It was not the best conference to the 7 color believers. We collectively drank ourselves into oblivion, and consoled each other.

    Looking back 14 years, I am certain, that when Steve came out, he knew what he was going to do, how he was going to do it, and when it would be done! Amelio was nothing more than a speed bump in the road.

    I hope to have the Steve for at least another year, as I do not think his work is done, close, yet not done.

    I fear my lust for another year will fall deaf on gods good ears.

    [ Edited: 01 July 2011 12:44 AM by MacManus ]

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    Posted: 01 July 2011 01:03 AM #7

    It will, as all of our collective hopes and dreams.  Life is random, who knows what’ll happen.

    Whatever happens though, I think you are looking at the best-prepared company to move on from its star CEO era that ever existed.  This isn’t all about Steve, or even Jony Ive.

    Apple has superior people, and a leader who seems to really get that actual corporate culture is more sustainable than a temporary leader’s reign.  Steve’s personal challenges have ironically provided ample opportunities for Apple to get ready to move on when today’s top execs inevitably move on.  One thing that’s clear from Steve’s Q&A is a strong element of planning much longer-term with a clear strategy that transcends fads and the corporate buzzwords of the day.  The most careful planning is no guarantee of success, but I think Apple is exceedingly prepared to carry forward “Steve’s” vision - really, its own vision - with little difficulty in the years ahead, as long as the Apple Way, Magic of Apple, whatever you want to call it, survives.  Having so many top execs living and breathing the Apple Way, having worked with Steve for so long, certainly helps.

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    Posted: 01 July 2011 02:17 AM #8

    Mav

    I could not have said it better.

    Steve’s DNA is now ingrained into all things AAPL. That DNA will hold AAPL in good stead, as the thing about DNA, is it is the key to inheritance, when leaves do not fall far from the tree.

    And oh what genes they are!

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  • Posted: 01 July 2011 07:42 AM #9

    adamthompson3232 - 01 July 2011 05:38 AM

    As revered as SJ is, he is a far brighter genius than anyone can really comprehend. Most people struggle to anticipate and plan for three months down the road in their own lives. SJ is anticipating and planning for the entire world 10+ years in advance. WTF?!?!? How can anyone really be this friggin’ smart? He’s almost psychic. I am more convinced than ever that Apple is still just getting started. Maybe now it’s the 3rd inning as opposed to the 1st back when SJ was giving that speech but it’s still only the first trimester of the game. When SJ said Apple is “firing on all cylinders” in the PR for the last quarterly earnings release does anyone really think he was spouting hyperbole? SJ says they’re firing on all cylinders = I am putting all my money into AAPL. I know it’ll be a rocky road and I don’t care.

    One of your best, Adam.

         
  • Posted: 01 July 2011 01:07 PM #10

    Yes, looking at that video now, 14 years later, really puts one in awe at how forward-looking Jobs is.  And he had not yet been appointed as CEO then, he was just an ‘advisor’ for Amelio.

    No one gets everything right, he did change the Mac clone strategy once he became CEO, thank god.

         
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    Posted: 01 July 2011 03:33 PM #11

    Steve is great, but I don’t know why everyone is so flabbergasted that someone could plan out amazing products 14yrs in advance.  I’ve been dreaming up the devices I want years in advance too.  One of those devices was similar to the iPhone, which is similar to the old Alan Kay “Dynabook” concept. Hardly a unique concept.  Clearly we see from that video that Steve had a good idea of what computer devices he wished he had. Steve just had the leadership abilities and the persistence to push on that vision for long enough to make it happen.  That’s where the real amazing part is. Clarity and persistence of vision + leadership ability + persistence in working hard for a long time. 

    Most people give up before they try, many people give up after a short while, and many other people lose their vision and start wandering in all the wrong directions or stop trying to do anything amazing.  Some people aren’t about amazing products that they love, but really are after a quick buck and an opportunity. That’s where a lot of PC clone makers are.  That’s where TAGheuer is with their unimpressive and overpriced luxury phone.  Anyone who’s just reactive rather than proactive is like that.

    Of course, Steve is also really good at understanding the market and consumers.  Here is where his brain happens to be really smart.  You can see in this video how he says “I don’t buy that” talking about advertising. He said PR is where it’s at. Well, that’s how Apple has run their company: make everything top secret to get the media all hyped up and do their advertising for them.  That’s a brilliant move.  There are several other things like that about what consumers really want that demonstrate Steve’s intellect.

    So, he’s awesome, but I don’t think he’s awesome because he could think up iPhone, iPad, and iCloud.  I can think that up, and many computer scientists in the last 50 years can and have thought that up.  But he does have a lot of great qualities that all come together so he can execute.

         
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    Posted: 01 July 2011 03:47 PM #12

    webjprgm,  I much enjoyed your post.  Hey, tell us one or two disruptive products Apple ‘could’ produce in the next 15 years.

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  • Posted: 01 July 2011 04:47 PM #13

    Steve jobs is a great figure in tech history.  A genius.  Like Edison or Westinghouse or Land.  A few elements jump out at me in tryuing to understand how Steve is Steve and I am not.

    He was born in Silicon Valley at the right time, just before it became Silicon Valley.  Timing is important.

    He had intelligence and a bit of arrogance.  He called Bill Hewlett.  Bill did not call him.  He stayed in contact with Woz and organized the first production of the Apple.  Woz invented it, but, he saw his future living and career to be at Hewlett Packard.

    He had great communication skills.  They became known as the “reality distortion field.”

    He seemed to know and remember that security was but an illusion and was willing to “risk it all” again and again.  He almost died on a spiritual pilgrimage in India before he even got started.  He pretty much checked out of high school.  After a short stint in college he left that behind.  In his second carrier at Apple he kept replacing products long before the competition had caught up; even, in the case of iPods, when there no longer was any competition. 

    Steve’s direction came from within.  He did not look to others for direction.  He did what he wanted to do.  I do not think it was easy being Steve.  He would not have been able to fit in too many, if any, organizations.  He got fired from his own company!

    Steve learned his lessons.  Bill Gates taught him to keep his cards close to his vest.  He learned to treat others with respect.  Apple employees used to avoid riding in the elevator with him for fear they would get fired. He learned to empower others.  Although, I think they always knew they would be reporting back to him with their results.

    At Apple Steve was the “focus group.”  He dreamed what could be, appraised what was and motivated those he employed to keep working.  In the video from 1997 we see Steve relating his experiences and how he would like his interaction with electronic devices to be.  He stuck with the vision and it has pretty much come to fruition.

    All this understanding and I cannot answer the question, Does Steve Job have today a vision of similar proportion to the great one he did in 1997?  I have seen no clues.  Left to simply guess, I still cannot. ?

    I am a “mere mortal.”  I ask, “What could be next?”  Who will do it?  How long can Apple keep its focus without Steve.  That I know the answer to.  For a while, but, not forever.  Ten years max.  The bean counters and marketers will take over, the pursuit of security will ensue over and Apple will fall into line with the other guys.

    It is so hard to see Steve fighting with basic health.  Something I take for granted.  I pray God, Long Live Steve Jobs.

    [ Edited: 01 July 2011 04:49 PM by Not Bill ]      
  • Posted: 01 July 2011 06:36 PM #14

    @Not Bill,

    Superb.

         
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    Posted: 01 July 2011 06:56 PM #15

    Not Bill - 01 July 2011 07:47 PM

    ... How long can Apple keep its focus without Steve.  That I know the answer to.  For a while, but, not forever.  Ten years max.  The bean counters and marketers will take over, the pursuit of security will ensue over and Apple will fall into line with the other guys ...

    As an AAPL investor, this para is most valuable.  Thanks.

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