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Jobs Blasts Glass from Beyond the Grave

May 21st, 2013 - 5:11 am

True story:

I was once at a Town Hall meeting in Cupertino where Steve Jobs commented on this type of wearable computing. An Apple employee in the audience asked Steve a question to the extent of: “How can we reach out to our leadership if we have a really good idea”. Steve immediately put him on the spot and made him pitch the idea in front of everyone there. An opportunity to pitch Steve Jobs. What? The employee proceeded to pitch an idea about glasses you can wear that display various types of information. A heads up display a’la terminator cyborg vision if you will. He continued to explain how he wished he had a way to see projected information while he perhaps went for a run outside. Keep in mind this is happening in a room filled with a lot of people. Steve immediately shot his idea down and told the guy that he would probably trip and fall if that were the case. Steve also suggested he should get a girlfriend so he has someone to keep him company while running.

Me, I flashed on on William Shatner and “get a life.”

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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Funny thing, decades ago I had a promotional Apple Video that showed a hypothetical wearable goggle computer (complete with a tiny floppy that slipped in the side).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think "get a girlfriend" is a better retort than "get a life". lol

I remember an article, I think by our esteemed Pundit, where Jobs asked what a particular item was supposed to do. Someone answered him correctly, and Jobs thundered, "The why the f*** doesn't it do that?!?"

It is easy for the geeks to get bright ideas about some whiz-bang new tech that they think is just so cool, but such tech will only be bought by geeks who have no girlfriends.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The irony is that this is pretty much what happened between Steve and HP.

This guy should go out and make his own fortune with his idea.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd argue that this shows more the rigidity of Steve Jobs' vision for the future than the problems with the technology. He had an idea of what a shiny teched-up future would look like, and I get the impression that things with screens figured big in it. That's... kind of expected, actually. I remember reading about Henry Ford's engineers designing a prototype of a low-slung Model-T. When they showed it to him, he tore it apart with his bare hands. The price of genius, and the necessary self-trust and self-reliance to exercise it, is often acute myopia. Which is not to say it's a bad thing that he rejected the guy's idea, since he'd never have implemented it as well if he couldn't visualize it.

As for ME, I'm very excited about Glass. I've been waiting for and tracking similar technologies for almost five solid years. In terms of functionality, I think Google is doing Google Glass in the best way current technology allows. It's basically a real-life HUD, for a start, rather than full VR goggles... which makes it both more practical and more aesthetically acceptable (It also, incidentally, severely mitigates the chances of falling down the stairs, since it does not obscure your field of view). It has a specific set of well-thought out programs which make the most of HAVING a real-life HUD. Granted, that stable is more limited than what was originally rumored, but some things... like the GPS image you can have just up in your peripheral vision rather than having to look down at a phone or other GPS device... made it through and would be VERY helpful. Yes, you still have to take your eyes off the road, but the trip is shorter and the image simpler.

Now, I understand saying it's not perfect. It's REALLY expensive for what it is. It still uses head gestures for some actions, which are indiscreet. So is dictating your E-mails aloud. I see people complaining about battery life and wireless functionality (although, really, I see people complain about that with most new technologies). It can't act standalone... EG, it needs to interface with a smart-phone. These are problems, but they certainly aren't deal-breakers. All except the last one, I expect to be resolved by customer feed-back and time.

And I strongly suspect that the younger generation, which is fond of things like instagram,will be glad of any tech that gives them an excuse to wear a camera on their head at all times.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Steve immediately put him on the spot and made him pitch the idea in front of everyone there." ... "Steve immediately shot his idea down and told the guy that he would probably trip and fall if that were the case. Steve also suggested he should get a girlfriend..."

Way to encourage your employees, big guy! Force an employee to muster up the guts to expose himself to ridicule from the entire company... and then be the first to ridicule him. I'll bet that particular employee won't raise his hand again soon.

A better approach could have been to listen to the idea (briefly), and say something like "that's an interesting idea. I can see pluses and minuses to it. I'll ask my secretary to make you an appointment; you'll have ten minutes to sell me your idea." That's how companies encourage innovation from the ranks.

Steve Jobs was undoubtedly a genius, but it seems he was not a particularly kind man.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
SJ had a rep as the 'Boss From Hell' in house. While still being (sorta) loyal and generous with $$. When needed. Being The Universal Genius doesn't always equal Mr. Nice Guy. Edison and Ford were demanding SOB's too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry, but
1: The idea is crap. The guy didn't deserve any positive feedback for it
2: Steve gave the guy a chance to shine. The fact that he didn't isn't Steve's fault.
3: The real world isn't like kindergarten, and shouldn't be. If you're not ready for the pressure of the big times, don't try for them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
that wearable display idea has been around for awhile. I remember a commercial, set in Italy somewhere, with this guy totally geeked out with excitement wearing the thing. Company developing the device was public for awhile...i cant remember the symbol but it was something like XZYZ.....that was back in the day when I was throwing money at start-ups. Back when there were start-ups.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

In general, it's a good idea. Why on earth should I have 3 monitors going, when I could be wearing the display and just swiveling my head from one display area to the other?

But Google Glass? I do NOT need Sergey literally seeing the world through my eyes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Something tells me Jobs had heard of this guy already...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Steve immediately put him on the spot and made him pitch the idea in front of everyone there. An opportunity to pitch Steve Jobs. What?"

Holy crap. I'd probably pee my pants.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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