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RohinGupta

STUDY GROUP ON HOW iPHONE WAS CONCEPTUALIZED AND DEVELOPED

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Look at your mobile phone, and the mobile phone of people around you. Chances are that these devices will either be iPhone by Apple, or Android based phones from Samsung, Xiomi, Lenovo, or Sony. Small differences between the two types apart, they are overwhelmingly similar in overall look, use and feel. Just ten years back, smart phone market was filled with very different devices. Ranging from Nokia N series phones dominating the product category, to Motorola devices, to Blackberry by RIM. What was that which transformed the mobile devices landscape in a short span of 10 years?

Multi-touch technology and software innovations like virtual keyboard were the primary drivers of this world altering change. Taking keyboard hardware out of the picture, and allowing the extra space to be used for better display experience while using the phone. How did these ideas originate? Who were the key people behind these ideas? What were the motivations of these people? What was their background and work experience? How these ideas then transformed into a delightful product?

Study-Group is a powerful medium to get in-depth knowledge of subject, and I invite you to study How iPhone was conceptualized and developed. Having spent almost 5 years in various study-groups, I now move on to understand something that deeply impacts many or all of us. Check out next thread to understand how exactly the journey will begin, proceed, and conclude.

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We will be studying relevant chapters from the book Becoming Steve Jobs: How a reckless upstart became a visionary leader. The content to be studied is evenly distributed, and plan is to study delimited portion each week. It is a five week long Study Group, with fifth week reserved for concluding posts. Please check the following link to know exact schedule and content.

If you plan to participate, please sign up in objectivismonline.com forum. After signing up, please convey your intent by posting in this thread. The post can be as small as containing the text “I will participate”. However I think if you post your work, education, and personal information (like Hobbies and activism related activities), it will lead to better collaboration with other Study-Group members.

Actual Study-Group will take place in this thread - 

Looking forward to have insightful group study.

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Am I too late to chime in? Anything Steve Jobs, I'm all about.

Don't suppose you have a link to the pdf or eBook?

I'm new to the forum so bare with me :)

Passed my GED test with flying colors!

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6 hours ago, Marzshox said:

Am I too late to chime in? Anything Steve Jobs, I'm all about.

Don't suppose you have a link to the pdf or eBook?

I'm new to the forum so bare with me :)

Passed my GED test with flying colors!

@Mars, Thanks for participating. You can buy Kindle version of the book here -   http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Steve-Jobs-Evolution-Visionary/dp/0385347405/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454938114&sr=8-1&keywords=becoming+steve+jobs

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On 2/17/2016 at 6:32 AM, RohinGupta said:

Please join following event in facebook to get regular updates.

https://www.facebook.com/events/196626720696513/

Looks like people who are not invited cannot join the event. So please send me friend request to get invited and follow the event.

My facebook id - https://www.facebook.com/rohin.gupta.18

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25 minutes ago, RohinGupta said:

Looks like people who are not invited cannot join the event. So please send me friend request to get invited and follow the event.

My facebook id - https://www.facebook.com/rohin.gupta.18

I have created the clone of above private event, and made it public.

Now even people who are not my friends can join and get notifications.

Here is the link - https://www.facebook.com/events/1019012018169364/

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Little more than a month left for the start of main study-group (Monday, 11th July). From tomorrow (Monday, 6th June) I plan to start study of preparatory sections. As always, participants can summarize, outline, or chew relevant portions. The preparatory studies will happen in this thread itself. Schedule for preparatory sections is as follows :

Week 1 - Monday 6th June to Sunday 12th June

How was iPod conceptualized and developed 

CHAPTER 10 - FOLLOW YOUR NOSE

Week 2 - Monday 13th June to Sunday 19th June

Impact of Pixar venture on Steve Jobs - Part 1

CHAPTER 5 – A SIDE BET

Week 3 - Monday 20th June to Sunday 26th June

Impact of Pixar venture on Steve Jobs - Part 2

CHAPTER 7 – LUCK

Edited by RohinGupta

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Good Morning, today is Monday 6th June. As per schedule I am starting the study for chapter on iPod. So here it goes...

CHAPTER 10 - FOLLOW YOUR NOSE

Timeline discussed here – Beginning of the year 2000, when iTunes was first thought of, to the end of year 2001, when iPod was first launched.

Summary: It was iTunes software product in Mac Desktop, that acted as a precursor to iPod. iTunes could play music files, sort them using various fields, could rip them from or write them to CDs. Using iTunes consumers could organize music and playlists in Mac Desktop for devices like Sony CD walkman. [iTunes music store came later though(after the success of iPod).] iTunes was developed, because consumers needed to integrate Mac to fast growing consumer electronics category. And unlike iMovie before, consumers could use it every day. Rather than building from scratch, iTunes was adopted from already existing 3rd party Mac jukebox, Soundjam (after acquisition and merger with Soundjam teams).

While using iTunes, Apple employees realized that major improvements can be made to music devices like Sony Walkman. Plus building music player would enable Apple to have hardware device also in consumer electronics category.

In late 2000, when Jon Rubenstein, head of Apple’s hardware R&D, saw flash drive technology at Toshipa. He realized that it could be used as storage disk for Apple’s music players. It had all needed qualities like very small size, huge storage density, and random access capabilities. So engineers and software from older and failed handheld device Newton were reused. Also, enterprising and ambitious engineer Tony Fadell was hired from Philips to lead the effort. User Interface being the major challenge, Jonathan Ive invented flat thumb wheel for browsing songs. (Touch iPods were developed after iPhone). Using thumb wheel users could scroll and select any song. Plus they could see details of song playing, and go to next, previous, or replay same song using buttons in the circumference of thumb wheel. While there were other innovations like easy synchronization with PC in iPod or shuffle songs that added element of surprise. It was user interface that made this product a success.

Most importantly, iPod led Apple to rediscover innovation process that could also succeed in market. Encouraging Apple executives to think about future in a new way. And it is this thought process that ultimately created iPhone.

 

 

Edited by RohinGupta

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Good Morning, today is Monday 13th June. As per schedule I am starting first part of the study from Pixar section. It deals with how Pixar culture impacted innovative aspects of Steve Jobs. So here it goes...

1.       CHAPTER 5 – A SIDE BET

      Summary: Pixar was bought by Steve Jobs from George Lucas in 1986, primarily for its 3D technology. Despite Steve's efforts for many years however, the software division did not take off. Instead, hire from Disney to Pixar John Lasseter created small movies here. Short movies like Luxo Jr. which had little lamp as hero were really liked. It was the success of this short movie that was primary reason Pixar could venture into full animation film Toy Story, in collaboration with Disney.

Pixar adventure helped Steve Jobs rediscover self-respect, made him billionaire, and taught him more about management than anyone he had worked with. In short, Pixar made second act, which had iPhone at its climax, possible.

From the very beginning Pixar was called “a great fraternity of geeks”, and they shared the dream of creating full length feature film. It was founded by Alexander Schure, and later headed by Ed Catmull. The offices and labs of Pixar moved from Long Island (in East coast) to California, where the team helped George Lucas do Graphics for Star Wars.

Ed Catmull, as he steered company of odd and talented people from one crisis to another, considered management as an art in itself. In 2014 he went on to write the book Creativity Inc., and is considered to know more about managing and motivating creative people, than anyone else (including Sony’s Akio Marita, Intel’s Andy Grove, or Bill Gates). And after Toy Story(1995) in particular, his success through Pixar proved to be a powerful example for Steve.

Though contributing Graphics for Star Wars movies and Indiana Jones series, the ultimate aim at Pixar was to create full length animation film. So Catmull hired young and frustrated Disney animator John Lasseter. Lasseter was assigned the task of creating a series of animated short films that could show the potential of 3D computer graphics. The brilliant 30 second pieces like The Adventures of Andre and Wall-B and Luxo Jr. were screened at annual imaging convention, SIGGRAPH. These screenings served as advertisement for the group, made clear its startling technology, and showed that Lasseter had a rare gift for storytelling.

Unlike Apple and NeXT, Steve did not shape the culture in Pixar. Here he was not the center, and could not change the company to reflect his image and sensibilities. Being micromanager Steve could have been major hurdle for Ed Catmull. But having kept previous owners away, he knew keeping Steve at a safe distance was possible. So he observed Steve closely, and over time became his keenest observer. And after developing understanding based on the observation, he became one of Steve’s most valuable mentors.

Steve told the author what he thought of Ed. He thought of Ed as someone who was really, really, smart, even though quiet. Plus since he managed really smart people, he listened to them. Specifically, Ed showed Steve how a movie came together, and the pieces fit together – digging deep into 3-D technology with Steve. Further, he explained managerial decisions to Steve with sincerity and depth of feeling. Though Steve never directly acknowledged what he learned from Ed, or came across as somebody who was introspective about these learnings. But he did say to Ed that he valued what Pixar did, and understood that it was very different from what Steve himself did.

Even though Pixar was financially unprofitable, Steve had great respect for people of Pixar. Especially Catmull and Lasseter. Former for his business and management expertise, and latter for his grand vision of life full of possibilities. Lasseter’s short films achieved great ovation in SIGGRAPH imaging festival, and later he won Oscar for animation Tin Toy. These achievements made Steve really happy, and motivated him to persist with Pixar’s animation, despite no revenue coming from there.

 

Edited by RohinGupta

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Good Morning, today is Monday 20th June. So I am starting second part of the study from Pixar section. It deals with how Pixar helped Steve Jobs to understand talented people, and therefore work with them better.

CHAPTER 7 – LUCK

When people list industries Steve has revolutionized, they include 3-D animation movies [among PC, phone, tablet, music, and app-development]. But author thinks that credit for revolutionizing this business should go to Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, and not Steve Jobs. When Pixar actually started making movies, from them Steve started absorbing an approach to management that made him much more effective on returning to Apple.

As Steve watched Toy Story develop, he started to truly love Pixar. He started coming to Pixar office once a week, even though he did little there. He had no input to the development of Toy Story plot. It was developed by Lasseter in collaboration with Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft. They also took help from Jess Whedon. Stanton went on to make A Bug’s life, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E. Doctor would direct Monsters, Inc. and Up. Ranft was co-writer and story in chief of many Pixar movies, and Whedon went on to create Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Avengers. Four men became the core of what Catmull calls “The Brain Trust” – “collection of Pixar writers, directors, and animators who provide constructive criticism to director of every Pixar movie”. The uniqueness of this setup is that The Brain Trust does not have any authority whatsoever. Directors are asked to listen and deeply consider the advice of its members. It became a powerful tool helping reshape movies like The Incredibles and Wall-E.

Watching Lasseter, Stanton, Docter, and Ranft develop Toy Story, Steve witnessed creative thinking at its best – choke full of failures and dead ends, but still working hard to move forward. Because when you are on the edge, some things go right and some things go wrong. Watching Toy Story develop fuelled Steve. Thus on returning to Apple, his understanding of talent of people had improved drastically. He was in better position to be inspired by talents of people he worked with, and in turn inspire them.

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