Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pirates of Silicon Valley (the must see classic)

I finally got to watch Pirates of Silicon Valley last week. This and an interview with Guy Kawasaki have vastly improved my opinion of Steve Wozniak. A proper one, unlike the one with Steve Colbert, that interview is both inspiring and humbling by virtue of Wozniak's genius and humanity. Back to the movie, though, you really don't have perspective unless you know the environment under which Wozniak/Jobs and then Gates/Allen won over the industry.

First of all, the Apple I and the II to a lesser extent, were truly revolutionary. Windows is a really direct rip-off from the Macintosh, but the inspiration for that really came from developers at Xerox. Interestingly, the scene where they spill all the beans to Apple engineers shows the Xerox developers really reluctant to share their management-stifled innovations. That leads us to the infamous quote by Bill Gates that Mike shared via a comment:
Get real, would ya? You and I are both like guys who had this rich neighbor - Xerox - who left the door open all the time. And you go sneakin' in to steal a TV set. Only when you get there, you realize that I got there first. I got the loot, Steve! And you're yellin'? 'That's not fair. I wanted to try to steal it first.' You're too late."
The movie starts with Jobs announcing a new partnership with Microsoft after which it goes back to the beginning of why Bill Gates drops out of college and the founding of Apple. It delves deeply into Jobs' personal life (with many scenes of him very much a cult leader) and leads all the way back to the opening scene. Anyhow, the movie is dramatized to the extent that dialogue was imagined and gaps were filled, but as far as I know, those impersonated in the movie don't object to its content.

SOURCES: TUAW [via DIGG] for the Kawasaki interview, DIGG for the Colbert interview

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