Recently I watched the 1984 Macintosh Presentation at the Boston Computer Society. What a great peek into the creation and the thinking behind the first Macintosh computer in 1984. What a great inspiration for people who are trying to build great products and great software. The principles by which the first Mac was built are in my view highly relevant in today’s world and for today’s entrepreneurs.
- I was impressed by how the manufacturing was set up. When you create hardware, it’s very important to think about manufacturing from the beginning, to make it easy and cost-efficient to build. The production was set up so that an 8 hour shift could produce one thousand Macintosh’s. They were ready to produce a Mac every 27 seconds.
- The team that created the Mac was initially only a handful of people. At the end they were a hundred people. You don’t need to have a team of 10.000 people to create great products!
- What Apple did right was to put the available pieces of technology together. They didn’t invent the technology. What they did is they hooked everything together and polished it into an intelligent, affordable, light-weight, easy to use product. In today’s world there is incredible opportunity in combining available technology into new compositions. The very foundation of the Mac was the usability, the ease of use. They just didn’t compromise. Ease of use and intelligent functionality was the most important thing. There is a lot to be learned from this approach for today’s entrepreneurs.
- I was deeply impressed by Bill Atkinson’s demo of MacPaint. Must see for software developers. What a cool piece of software this was. Pay attention to all the details. I was just blown away by this level of details and perfection. They really thought it through and created a beautiful piece of product.
- I was impressed as well by Apple’s approach to create a second computer standard besided the IBM PC. This was quite courageous. I don’t know whether it’s really true, but Steve Jobs said in the presentation that they considered building an IBM compatible product. Sometimes it’s enriching for the ecosystem to have multiple products/standards with different approaches. It’s hard to say what would have happened if they had developed an IBM compatible product. In any case, it’s interesting to think about this strategic decision in terms of computer history.
Remember: Real artists ship! Stop talking. Start building.