Steve Jobs fazia História em 2007 – mas o que aconteceu nos “bastidores”?

Em 9 de Janeiro de 2007, Steve Jobs fazia História. Sim, com letra maiúscula mesmo.

Foi neste dia em que ele apresentava o primeiro iPhone. A íntegra da apresentação dele é esta aqui:

Na edição da última sexta-feira, dia 04/10, o New York Times trouxe uma reportagem longa, interessantíssima, sobre algumas coisas que aconteceram antes dessa apresentação – e algumas que estavam acontecendo DURANTE.

A reportagem (AQUI) é restrita a assinantes, mas destaco alguns trechos abaixo:

Grignon had been part of the iPhone rehearsal team at Apple and later at the presentation site in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. He had rarely seen Jobs make it all the way through his 90-minute show without a glitch. Jobs had been practicing for five days, yet even on the last day of rehearsals the iPhone was still randomly dropping calls, losing its Internet connection, freezing or simply shutting down.

“At first it was just really cool to be at rehearsals at all — kind of like a cred badge,” Grignon says. Only a chosen few were allowed to attend. “But it quickly got really uncomfortable. Very rarely did I see him become completely unglued — it happened, but mostly he just looked at you and very directly said in a very loud and stern voice, ‘You are [expletive] up my company,’ or, ‘If we fail, it will be because of you.’ He was just very intense. And you would always feel an inch tall.” Grignon, like everyone else at rehearsals, knew that if those glitches showed up during the real presentation, Jobs would not be blaming himself for the problems. “It felt like we’d gone through the demo a hundred times, and each time something went wrong,” Grignon says. “It wasn’t a good feeling.”

[…] Grignon knew the iPhone unveiling was not an ordinary product announcement, but no one could have anticipated what a seminal moment it would become. In the span of seven years, the iPhone and its iPad progeny have become among the most important innovations in Silicon Valley’s history. They transformed the stodgy cellphone industry. They provided a platform for a new and hugely profitable software industry — mobile apps, which have generated more than $10 billion in revenue since they began selling in 2008. And they have upended the multibillion-dollar personal-computer industry. If you include iPad sales with those for desktops and laptops, Apple is now the largest P.C. maker in the world. Around 200 million iPhones and iPads were sold last year, or more than twice the number of cars sold worldwide.

[…] It’s hard to overstate the gamble Jobs took when he decided to unveil the iPhone back in January 2007. Not only was he introducing a new kind of phone — something Apple had never made before — he was doing so with a prototype that barely worked. Even though the iPhone wouldn’t go on sale for another six months, he wanted the world to want one right then. In truth, the list of things that still needed to be done was enormous. A production line had yet to be set up.Only about a hundred iPhones even existed, all of them of varying quality. Some had noticeable gaps between the screen and the plastic edge; others had scuff marks on the screen. And the software that ran the phone was full of bugs.

The iPhone could play a section of a song or a video, but it couldn’t play an entire clip reliably without crashing. It worked fine if you sent an e-mail and then surfed the Web. If you did those things in reverse, however, it might not. Hours of trial and error had helped the iPhone team develop what engineers called “the golden path,” a specific set of tasks, performed in a specific way and order, that made the phone look as if it worked.

But even when Jobs stayed on the golden path, all manner of last-minute workarounds were required to make the iPhone functional. On announcement day, the software that ran Grignon’s radios still had bugs. So, too, did the software that managed the iPhone’s memory. And no one knew whether the extra electronics Jobs demanded the demo phones include would make these problems worse.

Jobs wanted the demo phones he would use onstage to have their screens mirrored on the big screen behind him. To show a gadget on a big screen, most companies just point a video camera at it, but that was unacceptable to Jobs. The audience would see his finger on the iPhone screen, which would mar the look of his presentation. So he had Apple engineers spend weeks fitting extra circuit boards and video cables onto the backs of the iPhones he would have onstage.The video cables were then connected to the projector, so that when Jobs touched the iPhone’s calendar app icon, for example, his finger wouldn’t appear, but the image on the big screen would respond to his finger’s commands. The effect was magical. People in the audience felt as if they were holding an iPhone in their own hands. But making the setup work flawlessly, given the iPhone’s other major problems, seemed hard to justify at the time.

The software in the iPhone’s Wi-Fi radio was so unstable that Grignon and his team had to extend the phones’ antennas by connecting them to wires running offstage so the wireless signal wouldn’t have to travel as far. And audience members had to be prevented from getting on the frequency being used. “Even if the base station’s ID was hidden” — that is, not showing up when laptops scanned for Wi-Fi signals — “you had 5,000 nerds in the audience,” Grignon says.“They would have figured out how to hack into the signal.” The solution, he says, was to tweak the AirPort software so that it seemed to be operating in Japan instead of the United States. Japanese Wi-Fi uses some frequencies that are not permitted in the U.S.

There was less they could do to make sure the phone calls Jobs planned to make from the stage went through. Grignon and his team could only ensure a good signal, and then pray. They had AT&T, the iPhone’s wireless carrier, bring in a portable cell tower, so they knew reception would be strong. Then, with Jobs’s approval, they preprogrammed the phone’s display to always show five bars of signal strength regardless of its true strength. The chances of the radio’s crashing during the few minutes that Jobs would use it to make a call were small, but the chances of its crashing at some point during the 90-minute presentation were high. “If the radio crashed and restarted, as we suspected it might, we didn’t want people in the audience to see that,” Grignon says. “So we just hard-coded it to always show five bars.”

O artigo é longo, realmente longo, mas vale cada vírgula. Ele ajuda a entender um pouco da “mágica” que acabou fazendo parte da personalidade marcante de Steve Jobs – e, convenhamos, que teve um papel central no crescimento e na expansão incrível da Apple.

Porém, o texto também revela que a inovação que fez Steve Jobs e sua Apple famosos não era APENAS fruto da genialidade de um homem. Aliás, quanto mais eu estudo sobre a vida de Jobs e seus métodos na Apple, mais fica evidente que o que estava por trás da inovação da Apple, pelo menos enquanto Jobs era vivo, era o exato oposto do improviso, da liberdade: Steve Jobs era extremamente metódico.

Ele ensaiava exaustivamente as apresentações públicas e palestras que fazia – especialmente as apresentações de produtos. Não havia espaço para improviso – era MÉTODO.

O processo de desenvolvimento de produtos também seguia o método rigoroso de Jobs.

Sim, ele tinha uma personalidade única. Mas se não aliasse esta personalidade marcante a um conjunto de métodos rigorosos, não seria o inovador que foi.

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