Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 15:09 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless I'm currently reading Jerry Kaplan's excellent book "Startup: a Silicon Valley adventure". In this book, Kaplan, founder and CEO of GO Corp., details the founding, financing and eventual demise of his highly innovative company, including the development and workings of their product. What's so surprising about this book is just how timeless it really is - the names and products may have changed, but the business practices and company attitudes surely haven't.
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Innovation and Apple
by jkaplan on Sat 24th Mar 2012 00:55 UTC
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First of all, thanks for the kind words about my book!

I wouldn't fault Steve Sakoman or Apple in general for developing an idea that may have some of its roots elsewhere. You have to look long and hard to find something that is utterly, completely original. There were certainly attempts at pen computers before GO, but as some posts here note, the hard part is developing and delivering an appealing, functional product.

At the time that I had my early discussions with Sakoman, 'pen computers' were little more than a vague idea. What they would look like, how they would work, etc. wasn't fleshed out. He rightfully deserves tremendous credit for the creativity and diligence he brought to the Newton effort.

The criticism that Apple 'steals' ideas is unwarranted. Everyone builds on ideas from others, but not everyone can start with a concept and build a coherent product. Imagining a 'touch screen phone' is light-years away from designing the iPhone. Other companies developed portable solid-state music players, but Apple perfected the iPod. A lot of that success was Job's ability to use his star power to strike a deal with the music publishing companies, which no one else had been able to do, then to link the product with the iTunes store.

As my friend Nolan Bushnell once said (paraphased here), "Anyone can get an idea in the shower; it's what you do after you dry off that matters." Let's give credit where credit is due!

Jerry Kaplan

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