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  1. Game of Thrones Reviews

    CHAPTER 3 - CHARACTER SKETCH OF DAENERYS **************SPOILER ALERT******************** Introduction Many a times I face dilemma while reviewing literary works. Whether I should give primacy to plot, or to characterization. And this confusion is mostly resolved by looking at the content to be reviewed. There are novels like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, where major characters play little or no role in events. They just go with the flow of externally triggered events. And then there are works of Shakespeare or Victor Hugo, where characters often drive the plot. In such literature it makes sense to analyze characterization first. Game of Thrones is clear case of Romantic literature, plot driven by choices of characters. Converse being Naturalism of Dickens, and also some of the early 20th century writers like Ernest Hemmingway. Having understood the key theme of this webseries, understanding characters becomes relatively simple. We need to separate out and classify motivations, and connect these to key actions. So connecting the threads of motivations, actions, and events, forms the essence of characterization. With this objective in mind, we begin the review of various characters of webseries. Character Sketch of Daenerys Looking at overall trajectory, she is one of the most well written characters. Moving from timid girl being pushed around, to the most powerful person in the world. Apart from the first episode, liberating people from slavery and plunder is her primary motivation. This is visible in various events, ranging from treatment to Dothraki captives to unsullied or slaves of Yunki and Mareen. Judging by the punishments she gives, from witch who sent Khal to comma, and also punishments to various slave owners for their brutalities. It’s clear that her love for liberty is driven by deep sense of Justice, rather than benevolence being an out of context absolute. It is this purpose to liberate that determines her emotions also. So her emotion towards lovers also changes, depending on how connected they are to this purpose. Ranging from relatively weak feelings towards Daario Naharis of second sons, to quite strong ones towards Jon Snow. Khal Drogo, while antithesis of her principles, still commands her passion. Because at that time she is unsure of her true potentialities, since there are no Dragons with her. But as her growth in Season 1 itself shows, she applies reason to liberate her own soul first of all. Taking control of her intercourse with Drogo. Few impulsive decisions like burning Tarlys apart, she comes out as a rational person in her interactions, strategies, and selection of advisors. One major troubling aspect in her character, and all relatively good people like Jon, Arya, Stannis etc. It is the role of supernatural in their rise. Daenerys is not harmed even after having contact with the extreme heat. Given the nature of biological beings, they are not capable of synthesizing fire within themselves. So Dragons also can be considered as supernatural. Though one can redeem this supernatural aspect to some extent, considering how dragons were raised, had many natural qualities similar to how children are raised. So in that sense, writer is conveying that without aid of supernatural, good has no chance in this world. And by implication, to succeed in the natural world we live in, one has to deal with others through threats and force. Being dishonest and manipulative like Peter Baelish and Cersei. But the reality is that without honest thoughts a productive person will neither build efficient factory, nor select committed people. Survival of humans depend on fidelity towards facts of reality. Conclusion being that character of Daenerys is good because of her full commitment to the principle of Liberty, and also trying her best to be rational. But if Dragons or their material counterparts like the jet planes were product of natural knowledge rather than supernatural, she would have been a perfect idol to emulate. Very much like Dagny Taggart, John Galt, Howard Roark, or Jean Valjean from classic Romantic literature. Acting in the webseries Daenerys is played by Emila Clarke. The skills here required great transformation of a person, but in subtle steps. This in turn required constant reinvention of sensibilities and corresponding expressions. The character has been accurately portrayed in this regard. Unlike negative powerful characters like Cersei and Eujon, who could afford to be reckless, Daenerys had to be less expressive. And should be seen as holding her calm even in desperate situations. This makes Emila a natural fit, despite limited acting abilities. In Acting of Jon Snow part, I will explain further why there is limited room for expressiveness for these two. And why this is bad!
  2. Game of Thrones Reviews

    CHAPTER 2 GAME OF THRONES – THE PLOT THEME **************SPOILER ALERT******************** Plot Theme A theme of what motivates humans can be realized in multiple forms to create a plot. A theme of what motivates humans can have modern context, as in The Godfather or Jerry McGuire. Or it can be extremely personal as in Pursuit of Happyness. The scale here is world capturing, bigger than even The Godfather. Action takes place in two fictional continents in a fictional world. And time spanning across 8000-12000 years, if full story is considered. It’s a fiction that is constructed by selective recreation from facts of reality. Facts ranging from Medieval Europe, to Mongol Herds, to modern Middle Eastern conflicts. Children of the Forest quite similar to contemporary tribals and environmentalists. White Walker zombies in some ways concretization of lethargic cultures of past and present. These specific elements help in building the plot theme from a more abstract theme. Power struggle, its causes and consequences, in a fictional continent of Westeros. This is theplot theme. From Stark plotline, to Lannisters and other Southern plotlines, to plotline in Essos. Every plot and sub-plot is connected to Iron Throne in some way. White Walkers, while very limited is known about them, also look like they want to dominate Westeros, based on legends and excavations. In that sense, they are also after Iron Throne in a metaphorical way. Motivations other than quest for political power highlighted in the theme, from revenge to public good to servitude, are related to this power struggle. Starks carrying most of revenge part, earlier through Rob and later through Arya, is a consequence of harm done through power struggle. Good Daenerys pursues is good of people of Essos and Westros. The good of Essos is realized while building resources for Westeros conquest. Clash of Five kings, emanating from internal power struggle in Westeros, has made life of common people and even feudal lords miserable. Daenerys intends to break the wheel by recapturing Iron Throne of her ancestors. So her motivation of doing good is also connected to Iron Throne. Jon Snow works to protect people from White Walkers, who want to capture Westeros in in their second reincarnation. So Jon’s motivation is also related to this power struggle. Similarly, allegiance of those serving is impacted by the wars in power struggle. Brianne and The Hound being few of the examples. Finally, while specific movements of plots will be discussed in Plot chapters. In the theme part of plot we can discuss prime movers of plot. Essentially there are three independent plot lines. War of five Kings, Rise of Daenerys, and expansion of White Walkers. As is revealed in later seasons, manipulations of Peter Baelish are prime mover for the clash of five kings. Her brother Viserys, while now dead, starts the movement of events for Daenerys. Though their motivations are still not completely clear, we know for sure that zombie-parasitic nature of White Walkers makes them villainous. So basically, the evil is the prime mover of plots in all three scenarios, and good merely responds. Responding either through revenge, servitude, or through its own quest for power. Next section discusses evaluation of idea of evil as a prime mover, and deeper excavation of this idea in context of the webseries. Review of Plot Theme Criteria of evaluating the plot theme is relatability of plot elements. That is the elements used for translating Theme to a more concrete Plot Theme, how relatable these elements are for humans. For better or for worse, power struggle of Kings, Tribals, and Priests, deeply impacted every civilization on earth. Even White Walkers can be related to Islamic invasions of Medieval Period, killing and converting tribes and civilizations, as they march on. The Medieval world projected, apart from deep emphasis on hedonistic sex, is also very similar to medieval world of Asia and Europe. The feudal system, while not prevalent extensively in modern times, has still transmitted many of its attributes across centuries. The Ethics of Duty that is often called upon in interpersonal and social context, being the most dominant characteristic of feudalism. So elements, except hedonistic and subjective view of sex, which make our present, are shown through the prism of past. This is quite inspiring aspect of series, because it connects evaluation of who we are, from where we have come. The evil as the prime mover is the most disagreeable aspect of the plot theme. Not agreeable with facts of reality that is. If we look at history and pre-history of man, its productive aspect of man that has moved the humanity. Whether it’s improving stone tools to flints and javelins, or inventing stitching of clothes, or forward thinking that invented agriculture. True, for most part the productive activity was misrepresented and disproportionately exploited, as in Ancient Egypt through slavery and worship of death. But the fact remains, its productive that move the world, and evil can only manipulate the fruits of production like a parasite. Same is true for later prime movers, from Aristotle, to Newton, to Watt and Jobs. So literary work to be more meaningful, ought to reflect this critical aspect of humanity. A small clarification. While at a normal level it’s true that Peter Baelish, Viserys, and White Walkers are the prime movers. But they derive psychological and existential powers from the good (or the weakness of good to be more specific). Jon Arryn’s oversight to understand what’s happening with Lysa, timid nature of Daenerys sanctioning his exploits, and children of forest misunderstanding sovereign power of their own creation. The evil prime movements at a deeper level are indeed just the creation of good. But this still does not salvage RR Martin from the false view of evil as the prime mover. In real world, as reflected in works of Ayn Rand, the role of good in getting things moving is much more visible. So overall, the plot theme accurately translates theme, but with a mistaken view of prime mover.
  3. Here I will be posting reviews of various aspect of Game of Thrones web series. Done according to tools learnt from The Romantic Manifesto and Eight Great Plays by Dr. Peikoff. Introduction Game of Thrones is a webseries by HBO. Having run for seven seasons so far, it has now become a cultural phenomenon. In all continents from Pacific to Atlantic to Indian Ocean, it now commands a passionate fan following. Yet, more than just a decade back, there was a series F.R.I.E.N.D.S, that also had massive cultural impact. While having a similar level of impact, the two serials are drastically different. Understanding nature and scope of this webseries can give insights into the world we live in, how it has changed, and where it is going. Most importantly though, I think the insights we gain here, will also help us to define our own sensibilities, motivations, thought process, and decision making. Because how our mind responds to artistic values, is often how our conscious, sub-conscious, and their connection is tuned. Art being the fuel of mind, it’s important it goes through quality check and analysis, to help us move and rise in right direction. So let the dissection begin… ******SPOILER ALERT********* Theme The world this series projects is diverse. Geographically, culturally, even biological elements involved are vast. Yet there is an essence, the skeleton of an art work, which can be seen in every frame, every dialog, and beyond. The actions and reactions of characters, and therefore the storyline has this undercurrent. This essence extracted from more than 60hrs of run time is what we call The Theme. “Primary motivations of humans”, this forms the main clause of theme. Primary motivations of humans, ranging from seeking revenge, to seeking political power, to seeking good of the masses, to seek to serve”. This forms the theme of the web series. I think it underscores the main, secondary, and tertiary aspects of the series. From beheading of Eddard Stark, to rise and rise of Daenerys, to Tyrion, Cersei, all the way down to Arya and Brienne of Tarth. I think this theme can explain the similarities of actions despite wide differences in individual circumstances. Lust for asserting his power moves Joffrey against all reason. Applying principle of Liberty for freeing slaves in Essos, or breaking authoritarian wheel [metaphorically speaking] over masses in Westeros. This is what comes to be motivation of Danaerys. Motivations of Tyrion are little bit more complex, but can be understood as the combination of these elements. Service to those in power, whether it’s Tywin, or Joffery, or Daenerys. Objective being the good of masses, and also to assert his own power despite all odds. Denied to him by the nature of his physical being. Cersei vacillates from revenge based motivations, to power for its own sake. (Though she rationalizes power lust and revenge by saying "its Game of Thrones, you win or you die"). Arya of course is clear case of revenge, though there is a positive variation which I will discuss when we go into the depth of her characterization. And Brianne of Tarth clear case of pursing to serve under oath. One might say that people like Bronn are motivated by money. But means of getting money is force of sword. So ultimately they are also motivated by power to force, in a narrower scope compared to Cersei though. Similarly, I think we can understand the motivations of most of the characters, as well as the movement of various plot lines. Review of Theme Before I go into the analysis of different types of motivations, let’s look into the theme of motivation as such. How valuable is the theme? Is it worth exploring, to the extent that RR Martin has devoted 26 years and counting? The answer is unambiguous Yes. Its motivated people that drive the world. Quest for truth and its tool logic, motivated Aristotle all his life. Most visible products are phone we use, and relative liberty we live in. Newton was motivated enough to apply Aristotelian logic to unleash principles of science. James Watt applied science to unleash technology. Steve Jobs combined key elements of Engineering, Business, and artistic sensibilities to unleash what he called tools for human mind. Passionate, motivated people move us and our world, no doubt about that. Yes, there have been people in history (and also currently), motivated by revenge. World War I was triggered by one such vengeful assassination. Revenge can also have positive references. Its resentment towards the British policies that moved Benjamin Franklin towards warriors for Principles of Liberty. George Washington and other founding fathers of America clearly left a world much better for masses, than the one they entered in. Very similar to what Danaerys intends. Positive instances of quest for power. But lust for power institutionalizing corrupt and irrational like Joffrey, is also littered in history. No need to go till Attila or Aurangzeb or Caeser, when you have recent examples of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ayotollah Khomeni, and Al Baghdadi backed by ideology of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. While revenge and power lust are visibly lethal motivations. Motivation to serve can also be a double edged sword. Here again there are positive and negative references. One positive instance of service given in ancient world I can think is Chanakya. His service to Chadragupt ultimately brought concept of truth (Satyameva Jayate) to the collective conscious of ancient India. Though there was an element of revenge against Nanda dynasty, also in his motivation. Not very different from what Tyrion is doing with Danaerys. The service derived from faith rather than reason is what’s the prime mover for Brianne of Tarth, and The Hound serving Joffrey earlier in the series. Brianne however escapes negative consequences, because the actions her service involved had relatively rational people. But The Hound serving Joffrey was forced to give disproportional punishment to people. The servitude of Manmohan Singh to Congress party, though different in particulars was similar in essence. Some of the motivations indirectly relate to listed motivations of revenge, power, collective good, or servitude. Tywin Lannister’s(also later Cersei’s) vision of lasting legacy for e.g. is related to maintaining power. Though making world a better place would have formed a better legacy. Also Danaerys is attracted to Jon Snow, and the attraction serves as motivation for some of her actions. But reason behind attraction is similarity in their prime motivations. Thus feeling of love derived from similarities of values and corresponding motivations. So love is a derivative rather than a primary here. Finally I share following clip to highlight a critical hole in the theme. https://youtu.be/UKLNB0FY2e0 This is the video of Hot Pie explaining process of preparing really tasty and high quality pie to Brianne and Podrick. Though it’s just few minutes, it highlights most important motivation, otherwise missing in the series. The motivation to produce values. From harnessing existing fire to creating fire using stones, to cars, skyscrapers, genetic crops, and eCommerce. Businessmen and intellectuals (or the thought process behind their being) producing better and better material and spiritual values is what built modern civilization. If humans were motivated by just revenge, power, servitude, or even collective good without proper comprehension of production. Similar to motivations of all of the characters, then I doubt humanity would have even discovered agriculture. So final take away for me as an audience is to understand the concept motivation, and how it relates to decision and action. But finally integrate the understanding to instances of production of goods, services and intellectual tools like logic. E.g. integration being integrating concept of Liberty by Danaerys, with production as in enlightenment era, through the concept of private contract enforced by government. Then the webseries can act as a genuine fuel for the soul.
  4. Good Morning, today is Friday the 14th of July. Today I post chewing related to blog from a special perspective. CHEWING: The aspect I would like to chew is, role of ideas in building and sustaining institutions? Key elements being, understanding of idea, how it applies to institution being studied, and how the institution grows or falls [had grown and fallen] based on the idea? Going deeper, we get origin and evolution of idea? Further, how that idea resonates with those in decision making power, and what impact that resonance has on dissipation of the idea? So here is my answer to these questions, from the blog Role of ideas in building and sustaining institutions? - Attempt to integrate Americanism to American Catholicism has caused downfall of American Church. The blog gives facts that show American Church has fallen. And causal connection by explaining how Americanism caused Catholics to adopt elements of secular culture around them. Bigger take away being, don’t compromise with enemy idea. (Though you can highlight elements of your ideas in enemy, in proper context, forum, and audience. Like Plato emphasizing importance of abstractions, though in supernatural context). Understanding of idea, how it applies to institution being studied, and how the institution grows or falls [had grown and fallen] based on the idea? Going deeper, we get origin and evolution of idea? - Americanism, its integration to Catholicism in particular is studied. Aspects including prediction of centrality of America in world, separation of Church and state, direct communication with God (element of independence here, a secular idea), basis of religion being requirement to lead good life rather than divine revelation. These aspects are ante-room to the main idea of Americanism, secularism and Catholicism are compatible. (I think that this is the idea that has allowed Trump, a non-practicing Christian, to win Republican nomination, even though majority of republicans uphold Catholicism). Further, how that idea resonates with those in decision making power, and what impact that resonance has on dissipation of the idea? - Even though the idea did not resonate with Vatican, and was explicitly criticized. Still it continued to spread in Catholic Church of America. The plausibility structure also looks like a very important concept in institution building. That is, if we need to build institution around the fundamental idea. It’s not sufficient to apply idea for one aspect of institution, but for all. In software firm for example, not just in requirement gathering and product development. But also in work allocation, marketing, hiring, training, and mentoring. Going forward though, I would like to know more specifics on how the idea was spread in America. Sample sermons or books will be good. Also how the people disseminating structured the idea, into overall Catholicism? How similar or different from Aquinas integrating Aristotelianism into Catholicism?
  5. Good Morning, today is Thursday, 13th of July. Today I post outline of the blog. Essentially a more detailed summary. OUTLINE: The blog is Book review of _American Church_ by Russel Shaw. It starts with address to audience of the blog, pro-reason activists. Apart from redescribing reason in the sidenote, the section explains why the knowledge from book is useful for pro-reason advocates, even though the book is about Church. Understanding the most powerful component of enemy, Catholic Church advocating mysticism, and therefore devising strategies accordingly. Affirming the understanding that mysticism is inherently inconsistent even for achieving its own goals, is the other takeaway. Final takeaway being establishing that ideas influence individual actions in culture, attempt to integrate Americanism with Catholicism in this case. Moving on, the review describes the subject of this book, portion of history of American Catholic Church that is. Impact of attempt to integrate Americanism to Catholicism in America. Various aspects of Americanism are described, as written in the book. The properties including assertion that America will play a key role in future, so Vatican should also consider the integration. Its result, opposition of Vatican to separation of Church-State and bypassing of Papacy in communication to God is also discussed. Aspects of Americanism in post-enlightenment "secular" ideas, skepticism in particular is also mentioned. Before purpose, audience, and theme, the qualifications of writer are discussed to assert the subject. Competence as a freelance writer, and 18 years as spokesperson of important Catholic organizations being most significant. Changing direction of Church by showing historical flaws being the purpose. Facts based assertion of current fall of Catholic Church, “acceptance of Americanism” as an important cause of the fall, and proposed rise by integrating new sub-culture. Few examples of rising subculture being reclaiming of catholic identity by educational institutions, and Catholic social services rejecting (secular) government agenda. The structure of book involves chapters on origins, high point in 1950s, current fall, and guidelines for rising again are discussed. One minor flaw related to obsolete reference is pointed, final conclusion in blog being special insights in the book. Special insights section further emphasizing takeaways for advocates of reason, in more detail. Not compromising with principles one is advocating, description of common enemies of Church and reason, enemy like liberalism (more like nihilism in the form of Egalitarianism) of Jon Rawls. Deeper understanding of how depravity of current "secular culture" is leading to rise of religion. And how (any) idea can be reinforced on the individual by building social and political ecosystem involving institutions of idea, referred to as plausibility structure. Overall, the blog concludes by stating that the read of book will strengthen fight of pro-reason advocates for reason against mysticism [and skepticism, nihilism etc.].
  6. Good Morning, today is Wednesday, 12th of July. Today I post summary of the blog. SUMMARY: Blog is review of various aspects of the book. The book primarily is about impact of attempts made in last 200 years to integrate Americanism with Catholicism. The blog explains importance of book for pro-reason activists, explains Americanism, and its history. It gives fact based inputs on rise and fall of American Church, and role Americanism played in it. History involves attempts to propagate idea even to Vatican. Recognizing centrality of America in World (around 1800 when it was not apparent), separation of Church and State, and direct communion with God bypassing pope being the key takeaways of Americanism. The surrounding ecosystem of other ideologies is also discussed. Secularism during and after enlightenment, and its Modern skeptic-nihilist form. Also, impact of reinforcing Catholic ideas on individuals by building corresponding social-political structures is discussed, inside new urban settings in particular. And how pro-reason activists can use the book in understanding the mystic enemies is discussed. The enemy [of reason] like Catholicism degrading because its anti-reason nature does not allow it to clearly follow path to its own goals. And also “secular” enemies of reason, like modern skepticism, nihilism; liberalism [actually Egalitarianism] of Rawls being one example. Personally for me, this blog helps in understanding role of ideas in building and sustaining institutions.
  7. The event is postponed by 1 week as I have some priority activities. Really sorry for the last minute communication. Keep your posts ready for next week though... Happy Studying!
  8. The event is postponed by 1 week as I have some priority activities. Really sorry for the last minute communication. Keep your posts ready for next week though... Happy Studying!
  9. Please confirm your participation, along with purpose for participating, in the following thread. Actual study will take place in current thread.
  10. Continuing the tradition of honoring Burgess Laughlin, on his 73rd Birthday week, we study one of his blogs. The blog being studied here is part of series classified as “THE MAIN EVENT”. And its objective is to explain “IN TODAY'S PHILOSOPHICAL CONFLICT OF REASON VS. MYSTICISM: WHO ARE THE MAIN ADVOCATES ON EACH SIDE? WHAT ARE THEIR KEY IDEAS? WHAT SOCIAL ACTIONS ARE THEY TAKING TO WIN?” The particular blog is titled “BkRev [Book Review]: Shaw's American Church”. As in any study-group, we can summarize the blog, outline it, or do in depth study of some or all parts of blog. Complete blog can be viewed here - http://reasonversusmysticism.blogspot.in/2013/08/bkrev-shaws-american-church.html The study-group starts on Monday 3rd July, and ends on Sunday 9th July. Please confirm your participation, along with purpose for participating, in this thread. Actual study-group will take place in the following thread.
  11. SCHEDULE START – Monday, 3rd July END – Sunday, 10th July.
  12. INTRODUCTION Catholic Church is one of the oldest and most powerful institution. How did idea of Americanism enter into its American stream 200 years back, and what was its impact? What exactly was the idea? Through the blog involving book review on the subject, we attempt to answer these questions. As in any study-group, we can summarize the blog, outline it, or do in depth study of some or all parts of blog. Complete blog can be viewed here - http://reasonversusmysticism.blogspot.in/2013/08/bkrev-shaws-american-church.html Individuals come and go, but ideas and institutions they associate with often outlast them. Lets deep dive and understand one powerful example of these subjects.
  13. CONCLUSION Good Morning. Today, in this 5th week, I conclude. Overall impact of iPhone was discussed last week. It included economic as well as technological impact. Couple of weeks back we also discussed how iPhone impacted people like Steve Jobs, Jonnathan Ive, and Eddy Cue personally. This week I will discuss about this study-group. How can the learnings of this study-group be leveraged? iPhone being one of the most important and impactive innovations of recent times, studying its conceptualization, implementation, and development environment will help us to understand the mindset of innovation better. More specifically, what is needed to make innovation successful in bigger organizations. The principles can be abstracted from this study, to build processes for enabling more useful innovations inside bigger organizations, with minimal risk. The overall adoption can sustain and build the environment of innovation further. So to conclude, I am looking forward to further understand 3 things from the learnings of this study-group 1. Idea to product (I2P) principles. 2. Product to Market (P2M) principles. 3. Principles for facilitating useful innovation within organization.
  14. Good morning, today week 4 begins. This is the last study week, we conclude next week. THE EVENT WHERE iPHONE WAS FIRST INTRODUCED ON JANUARY 9, 2007 29. The premature nature of product that was demoed: The handset was nowhere near ready to ship. This made demo a high wire act. It had serious software shortcomings, and hardware glitches. The individual components were connected using wringer [two rollers that compress object using high pressure]. It was hardly tested “in the wild”, that is in a way consumers would test – shifting back and forth from phone to music player to computer, quickly and indiscriminately. 30. Reasons why Steve reluctantly pre-introduced iPhone: He never liked pre-introducing, because software or screen can start behaving wildly. And this also meant showing your cards too early in this competitive business. Four good reasons that trumped above factors were as follows: a.) AT&T had to be shown something, because it had not seen anything since the contract with Apple was signed. Not even mockups or prototypes. For major delays it had a clause where it could pull out if certain development milestones failed. Though unlikely, it was possible. b.) Steve, like 19th century circus showman P.T. Barnum, liked to have element of surprise in his demos. While there was complete secrecy on iPhone till then, he was not sure he could continue with the cone of silence for next few months. [In iPhone demo introduction he mentioned that he was looking forward to do this demo for past two-and-a-half years.] c.) The iPhone was soon to be tested by Apple employees in real world. And it was possible that it would be spotted sooner or later. This would have diluted Steve’s message. But in MacWorld confab he would be able to showcase iPhone in his own terms. d.) The January announcement would upstage anything coming out of Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas [at year end], where other handset makers showcased their product. The timing of iPhone demo was perfect to steal the headlines. 31. Elaboration of 31b, which is why Steve was eager to show iPhone to the world: Steve and his team knew in their bones, that the iPhone was something truly special. For Eddy Cue it was the culmination of everything Steve had learned. And everything Eddy Cue himself learned. This made them very eager to showcase iPhone. In fact this was the only official Apple event Eddy Cue took his wife and kids. Everyone could feel this was huge, once in a lifetime kind of event. 32. Actual demo, few of the features, and a worry: The demo went without any problem. Multi-touch user interface looked very “magical”, and the way Steve showed made it truly engaging. Scrolling through lists like liquid smoothness. Double tap on website column filling the screen. Google Maps application in fact turned out to be more useful and flexible than dedicated pocket sized GPS devices. It was delightful presentation overall, except one worry. Why weren’t third party applications allowed in the [then] iPhone? 33. Reasoning behind Apple not opening up third party integration right away: The author went with Fortune magazine’s Peter Lewis for the interview that was scheduled just after the demo. Steve was relieved that demo went well. However, he got a bit angry when Peter and author kept asking him about opening up iPhone software. Their reasoning was that YouTube and google maps, the non-Apple applications were working really well on iPhone. The look and feel of these being testimony to the fact that iPhone can be “opened up” to third party developers. Steve’s response was that Apple collaborates with those companies to help them build on iPhone. So Apple had control on what went into those applications. For third party apps however, he was not sure how to vet them or police them. Viruses had to be prevented, their impact on network had to be checked etc. In short, he did not want a monster in iPhone. Plus he thought developers can build specialized websites for iPhone if they were interested in development. iPhone being like a terminal in this case. 34. Discussion with prominent venture capitalist John Doerr on building App system for iPhone: Many people both inside and outside of Apple were talking to Steve about opening up App system. One of them was John Doerr, managing director of a prominent venture capital firm “Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers”. Though Doerr never had direct business with Apple, he knew main players there, and was aware of many things going on in Silicon Valley. Steve knew him, and showed him iPhone several months before it was shipped. On getting the iPhone first time, he asked same question regarding third party applications. And at the end of conversation said that he would like to fund 3rd party application development, because he thought that this was a big opportunity. Steve promised to call him back if he changed his mind. 35. Problems when iPhone was first released: iPhone was finally shipped on June 29, 2007. AT&T’s spotty network rather than lack of applications was the main problem customers encountered. Steve sent two phones to prominent novelist Mike Slade, but he could not try it out due to bad network. He was able to try only when he traveled out of Seattle. Many of the techies living in San Francisco Bay area were early adopters. But here also AT&T’s network was weaker than Verizon’s. Also the area between San Jose and San Francisco, used for commute and by these techies had bad network coverage. So they faced hassles with voice coverage, and even more with Internet. 36. Why Steve changed his mind about opening up system for 3rd party people: iPhone proved to be a tougher sell than imagined. It sold about 1.5 million units in the first quarter. Spotty network coverage and very few applications were the reason. People had expected video games, reference books, fancy calculators, word processors, and financial spreadsheets in the box . In opinion of some industry watchers, “iPhone was crippled when it first came out”. So quickly but not gracefully, Steve changed his mind on opening up iPhone for applications. He called John Doerr to talk on the subject. After few negotiations “100 million dollars” were committed for the project and it was called iFund. 37. Announcement on App development and response: Just four months after shipping, Apple announced iPhone SDK (software development Kit). This propped up Apple in the valley, and suddenly this was the thing most people were talking about in Silicon Valley and VC community. After some time App store was announced, and iPhone 3G released on July 2008. The second version had better wireless [to reduce call dropping] and faster microprocessor. Though there was certainly scope for improvement, but the basic framework of iPhone was complete with this release. iPHONE IN RETROSPECT 38. Economic impact of iPhone: Eight years since January 2007 demo, Apple has sold more than half a billion units. This makes it most profitable consumer device ever by units sold, dollars of profit generated, number of its global carriers, and number of apps written for it. Even though Procter & Gamble sells few products on similar volume, but none of its products can boast of ownership cost being $1000, and volume of hundreds of millions of units. 39. Smart phone market before and after iPhone: Before Apple smartphone market included Palm and RIM . These phones had keyboards and very small screens. They had very limited functionality like checking mails, messages, calendar, and contacts. After iPhone, consumer expectations dramatically changed. Google understood this and developed Android OS, which was clearly lifted from iOS. Samsung, LG, HTC, and later Xiomi sold phones on Android. Android OS phones went on to outsell iPhones. But so far Android has not done to iPhone, what windows did to Macintosh. 40. Impact of iPhone on technology market in general: Earlier, technological change was driven by wealthy entities like military and big corporations. Because these were the only consumers of leading edge components. But now its consumers like you and me who drive the change. This change is driven by volumes smart phone now commands, hundreds of millions that is. Smart phone supply chain includes Corning’s Gorilla glass as screen, and especially the cellular microprocessor designed by ARM. The mobile phones are giving these technologies so much scale, that they have now become technologies of future. 41. Impact of iPhone on computing power: Mac, iPhone, and iPad today have computing power that Cray XMP supercomputer had 20 years ago. But it costs just 600 dollars and can fit into your pocket. [This analysis is attributed to Marc Andreesen, co-founder of Netscape and highly successful venture capitalist.]
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