“Get things right, and show it to me again.”

Great answer to a Quora question: What was it like to deliver a presentation to Steve Jobs?

We were in a meeting one time, and Steve commented on how much he hated the ‘wart’ that was the external iSight camera. I said, “I can make it internal.” Steve asked how long it would take to have a prototype ready. My team worked on it (with many other teams both software and hardware), and we developed a prototype. We had the demo set up and ready to go for the next day. The only ‘glitch’ we had not anticipated was one of the software guys upgraded the OS on the machine AFTER we had run through the demo and felt it was ready. So the next day when we showed it to Steve, there was a color shift in the video we had not seen the day before. He asked why, and the software engineer spoke up and said he had updated the OS and it probably changed the gamma settings. Steve I think was more amused, and just said, “Get things right, and show it to me again.”

Another time, I was presenting a feature for Motion I came up with. Real-time, green-screen, high-definition chroma-keying in software. Steve asked me in the presentation if another company could come up with this feature. I said, “Well, since I thought of it, I imagine someone else could come up with the idea, but it is rather unlikely that they could solve it the same way I did.” (By the way, the ‘peanut gallery’ of VPs and Directors standing behind Steve tried to tell me how to answer Steve’s question. The problem was, half of them were nodding yes, and the other half were shaking their heads no.) Steve decided that since it was hard to duplicate, that instead of going for a patent on it, we were going to keep it a trade secret. And as far as I know, no one has been able to duplicate the real-time, green-screen, high-definition chroma-keying feature in software… (the key being real-time).

I find these glimpses inside Apple fascinating.

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