Best of the week’s writing & talking for tech entrepreneurs. Part 4

Here are some of the things we read and saw that made us think this week that we found interesting even if they were more than 140 characters long.

Excellent story in the New York Times about the story behind the original iPhone launch.

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.”

Also worth reading this critique of the story from the inside – Ken Segall – who explains why the product was announced before it was finished. Turns out it was pretty simple.

As Twitter prepares to IPO, this is a great, sometimes scurrilous story about the founding of the business.

“As the new service evolved, though, the power struggle between Williams and Glass, which had been simmering at Odeo, moved to Twitter. Glass, protective of his new idea and distracted by his divorce, was growing increasingly edgy and anxious. When a lower-level employee mistakenly let a well-known tech entrepreneur join the service, Glass went into a tirade. “This is our enemy,” he yelled in front of the staff. “We need a war map. They’re going to attack us.” He also pulled Dorsey aside and confessed his fears that Williams wanted him out.”

How a journalist tried to save Nokia.

In 2008, a Finnish journalist, at Helsingin Sanomat wrote a letter to Nokia explaining why their new phone was crap and what to do about it. Great story about what they wrote and the response from Nokia.

“And then there is another, different example: I send a text message, which is something that I do dozens of times every day. First, I press messages, then I select create message, and then I need to choose from among four options: text message, multimedia message, audio message, or e-mail. So each time, dozens of times a day in the years that follow, I am bothered by this extra message, and each time I give the same answer.

“I would guess that this is the case with others. My guess is that out of every 1 000 messages sent, 999 are ordinary text messages. It is as if my telephone had not been designed in such a way that it would make it as easy as possible to do what I am doing with it all the time, and that instead, the telephone is constantly promoting all of the amazing things that I could do with it.”

Bug: Government keeps shutting down

You don’t need to be a code monkey to appreciate the excellent comments on this post in GitHub about the US government shutdown…

“I noticed a bug over the past week or so and it seems reproducible:

  1. Go to U.S. Government.
  2. U.S. Government is shut down.

“Hope you can resolve this soon. It would seem that the U.S. Government would value 100% uptime in order to be a reliable and trustworthy source for the rest of the world.

America’s greatest inventor.

Some view Tesla as America’s greatest inventor – Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal for example – and see Edison as a stealer of credit and other people’s ideas. Bill Gates argues that Edison is America’s greatest, not because of the things he is often credited with inventing such as lightbulbs, but for the legacy he left in terms of the way he worked.

Ten challenges the IOT Community needs to master.

Stefan Ferber, VP IoT Innovations at Bosch outlines ten of the challenges that the Internet of Things needs to overcome to be a success. Neat overview but also think we should be focused on making more people understand how to make products people actually want rather than developing technologies.

Drop us a line if you find anything that makes you think that deserves wider appreciation.