Couverture de Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley




512 p.



5 août 2018 chez Amazon (10,99 €)

Dernière lecture

19 août 2018 — 12 septembre 2018




Littérature américaine



Lu en 2018


Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley

Adam Fisher

Un livre étonnant, une sorte de mosaïque narrative formée par collage de citations, une illusion de discussion à bâtons rompus. Comme les petites mains qui ont tissé la broderie de Bayeux, l’auteur est discret (il introduit les chapitres avant de laisser place aux citations) mais omniprésent (il confesse avoir beaucoup réécrit en transcrivant ses entretiens), un jeu d’équilibriste plus ou moins réussi. Le paragraphe n’est jamais que l’avis d’un individu, mais le chapitre dessine l’esprit d’un groupe conscient de sa singularité. Le livre entier, lui, peine à véritablement conter l’histoire « sans filtre » de la Silicon Valley.


Ev Williams, sur le rôle de la ville dans la Silicon Valley :

My theory is that as these tech companies have become more culture makers, then they gravitate toward the City, because that is who makes culture—people who live in cities. And now it’s maturing to a degree where you can be in tech and be a pure businessperson and there’s lots of them. And lots of lawyers, and now there’s lots of artists and those people are part of tech, too. And they live in cities and they live in San Francisco.

Steve Wozniak, critique tout au long du livre, sur l’iPhone comme ordinateur impersonnel :

The iPhone is the coup de grâce. When you use your iPhone you still have a personal computer—but your PC is in a data center. It’s taking data off hard disks, analyzing it and determining what to show, and it sends it to your iPhone to show you, so you really have a PC but you don’t see it, it’s not yours, so it’s not personal. You have a computer but it’s not personal.

Clive Thompson, sur la construction de la réalité informatique :

Pong was so bare to the metal that you really felt like you were interacting with the substance of computation: This thing hits that thing and we calculate a new trajectory.

Stewart Brand, sur Alan Kay et l’ordinateur personnel :

Alan Kay was definitely my avenue into understanding the Xerox PARC and a great deal more. He just introduced me to his perspective on what was going to become personal computers, and probably he used that term offhandedly, which I’d then put in print. It became the standard usage.

Steve Wozniak, sur la conception de Breakout :

So I programmed Breakout, and in half an hour I had tried a hundred variations that would have taken me ten years in hardware if I could’ve even done it. So I called Steve Jobs over to my apartment, and we sat down on the floor next to the cable snaking into my TV that had the back off of it so I could get the wires inside. And I showed him how I could change the colors of things and change the shape of the paddle and change the speed of the balls. So easy! And he and I looked at each other and we were both kind of shaking, because we knew that the world of games was never going to be the same now that they were software. I mean up until then there were no software games in the arcades. But we now knew that animated games were going to be software. Oh my God. A fifth-grader could program in BASIC and make games like Breakout. This was going to be a new world! We saw it right then.

Larry Tesler, sur la fameuse visite de Steve Jobs au PARC :

Apple would be allowed to see some PARC technology, which they’ve heard of from the graduate students that they’d hired from various places. And PARC would help Apple to do the kind of hardware they were doing with mice, and bitmap displays, and so on. They would give a limited amount of technical help, and more sourcing help, help them find manufacturers who would make things like the mouse for them. And Xerox’s view was this would be a benefit to Xerox.

Steve Jobs lui-même, sur le même sujet :

I remember within ten minutes of seeing the graphical user interface stuff just knowing that every computer would work this way someday. It was so obvious once you saw it. It didn’t require tremendous intellect. It was so clear. It was one of those sort of apocalyptic moments.

Larry Tesler, encore :

I was getting better questions from the Apple management than I ever got from the Xerox management. It was clear that they actually understood computers.

Jim Sachs, sur la vision de Steve Jobs :

I credit Steve Jobs with having the vision that that is the way the masses would use computers. One would never have concluded that that would be “the primary interface to millions of computers in the future.” But he was correct. I think he’s not been recognized enough for that. I think people tend to spend more time thinking about the young, brash, rude, obnoxious Steve Jobs of the 1980s, not that he truly had a vision for seeing this gem in a lab in Xerox PARC, and saying, “They may not be able to commercialize it, but we can.”

Randy Wigginton, sur le nom du Lisa :

Jobs was angry at the Lisa group because they named it “Lisa” after his daughter to make fun of him. Steve lived with a girl for several years, Chrisanne. And she got pregnant and insisted that the baby was his. He always claimed that she was sleeping with other people and it was probably someone else’s, and no one inside of Apple believed him. And when the baby came she was named Lisa. Steve absolutely insisted that it was not his baby. And so that is why the Lisa was called “Lisa.” It was a big fuck-you from the engineers and the people over there. So he hung around with all the Lisa folks basically until they drove him off.

Kristina Woolsey, sur les hyperliens :

It was basically a way to take your personal documents and link them together. Just remember, when the Macintosh came out, it had an object on it that no one had ever seen. Nineteen eighty-four is when the mouse was something you could buy on a machine. And the mouse and linking go together. If you have a pointing device, linking is a natural piece. You can click on this, click on that. Fundamentally the mouse and linking are the same. Bill Atkinson: Looking back, I sort of see that HyperCard was kind of like the first glimmer of a web browser—but chained to a hard drive.

Stewart Brand, à propos de sa citation sur l’information :

The quote in full is “Information wants to be expensive and information wants to free, and that’s a paradox which will never go away.” And the quote keeps reviving, because that paradox keeps driving people mad. Ha-ha!

Michael Stern et Marc Porat, sur General Magic :

Stern : Marc Porat was an incredible visionary. His Pocket Crystal project at Apple was really a previsioning of everything that we now take for granted.

Porat : I wrote a book on it, all the things that this thing is supposed to do and why this computing-communication object would change the world. Michael Stern: Devices in your pocket, social networking, social media, a notion of an electronic community, anytime-anywhere communication, handheld devices that could enable you to do just about anything from shopping to research to talking to your mother. It’s all there, in that book he wrote. He was at Apple to help springboard the project and get it funded.

Tony Fadell, sur General Magic :

I was humbled in the first ten minutes of being there, I was like, Oh my God, this is not like Michigan, these are the smartest people ever, I have got to be working here. Whereas Apple was still making computers, these people were making the next form of a Mac! It was the iPhone, fourteen years too soon. It had a touch screen, it had an LCD, it was not pocketable but it was portable—the size of a book. It had e-mail. It had downloadable apps. It had shopping. It had animations and graphics and games. It had telecommunications—a phone, a built-in modem. I was like, I want to go with them, where they are making this stuff from scratch. I can be part of it.

Fred Davis, sur le rôle du Macintosh dans la transformation du monde de l’édition :

Desktop publishing was the killer app for the Macintosh. It fueled an explosion of people buying Macintoshes just to have the LaserWriter—which cost $6,000, by the way. That is the most anyone in the personal computer industry had ever charged for a printer. People bitched about the price. But the Apple LaserWriter could do real typography and allow you to create camera-ready copy from a device that cost a tiny fraction of what a big printing press cost. This was a whole new thing in publishing. It was a whole new underground culture, which was the Mac culture.

Heather Cairns, sur Facebook :

We didn’t have a business plan, and they would tell me that their actual mission statement was “to rule the Earth.” I’m thinking, Well, whatever you want, just make sure to sign my check and I’ll go on my way when it crashes and burns in a couple of years.

Tony Fadell, sur la conception de l’iPod :

For the final option, which a bunch of us thought was the best option, I made a Styrofoam model, with laser printouts of what I thought would be the right interface and everything, and then weighted the model so it felt about the right size and everything… I then had all the little blocks that would go inside, because I wanted to show that this was real enough. So I showed it to him. He picked it up and he was like, “Okay,” but then he said, “But I do not think this is the right user interface for it.” And then Phil goes, “Can we tell him?” and Steve looks at me and goes, “Yeah, we can trust him.” Because they were all Apple employees except me. I was a consultant. So Phil Schiller runs into Steve’s office, picks out a device, and has the device in his hand and says, “See that? Look at that wheel. We want something like that on it. Do you think you can do that?”

Mike Slade, sur le même sujet :

Phil had a Bang & Olufsen remote, because Phil was one of those guys with Bang & Olufsen stuff all over his house, and he brought in the remote and showed us the scroll wheel, which Bang & Olufsen never patented, by the way, and I remember being there going, “You’re right, this is cool, this is a really cool user interface.”

Andy Grignon, sur le même sujet :

So some friends of ours from Apple reached out. They said, “Hey, we’re making this new thing, and we’d like to see if we could use your software. Can you make us an example application?” And we were like, “All right, what do you guys want?” They were like, “Just a sample MP3 player.” I’m like, “Great!” So we whipped up a sample MP3 player app. But what was funny was we didn’t know what we were building! We never saw the form factor. We never saw anything. It was just “make your stuff work” and that was it. Obviously it was an iPod, right? But we just made a sample app. And to this day in every iPod that’s ever shipped, “TMP3SampleApp” is what gets launched when you turn on your iPod.

Wayne Goodrich, sur le même sujet :

The evening before the launch, Steve was looking at it and playing with it and Jon Rubinstein was walking up the aisle and just as Jon got there, Steve pushed his glasses up on his head and looked at the screen and he goes, “You know, I really wish we’d been able to get color on this thing.” And then Jon just patted him on the back and said, “Next version, Steve, next version…”

Alan Kay, sur la transformation de Steve Jobs :

When Steve came back to Apple he was not the same Steve. He was a very effective Steve, but he had lost his zeal for what computers are really good for socially—like education. Completely lost it. And you know I would try to get him back interested in wheels for the mind—“Remember that, Steve?”—instead of dumbed-down user interfaces.

Andy Hertzfeld, à propos de l’influence de General Magic sur l’iPhone :

Steve Jobs himself told me he thought a lot about General Magic while he was working on the iPhone. And, reading between the lines, I think he was mainly talking about the projected keyboard. That’s the main breakthrough of the iPhone: to not have the keyboard. But because he had used the General Magic devices he knew that you can do the projected keyboard effectively. It turns out that the screen resolution of the original iPhone was identical to the General Magic devices.

Guy Bar-Nahum, sur Scott Forstall et la conception de l’App Store :

And so he went to Forstall and told him, “Hey, Forstall, we have to open up an ecosystem,” and that’s where Forstall shined the second time, after making the iPhone UI. He told him, “I was working on it the whole time.” So Forstall had actually ignored Steve’s verbatim order and he worked on it in the basement and made it happen. You have to have balls of steel to do something like that.

Nick Bilton, sur Twitter :

I think we’ll look back at Twitter in ten, twenty, thirty years—in the same way we look back at The Well today—and say, “Well, that didn’t work out so well, did it?”

John Couch, sur Steve Jobs :

One of the stories that I tell is from when we were very close to each other in the early Lisa days. And you know Steve was a minimalist: He had a beautiful English Tudor home; he had a Maxfield Parrish painting; he had a Tiffany lamp; he had a Swedish sound system; and then he had a mattress on the floor and a dresser. And I walked up to the house one day and it was always impeccable, but there was a piece of paper on the front lawn, and I thought, Well, that’s really strange, and I picked it up, and it was an Apple stock certificate: seven-point-five million shares of stock. And I knocked on the door and I said, “Steve, I think this belongs to you.” And he goes, “Oh, oh yes,” and he just kind of opened the dresser drawer and he put it in and he closed it and he said, “It must have blown out the window.” And so I knew from that point on that it was never about money for Steve.

Jim Clark, sur l’importance de la biologie dans les futurs progrès technologiques :

Yeah, I don’t get excited about the virtual reality stuff, the car driving and robotics and stuff like that. It’s just going to happen. The parts that really get my juices going are the human-computer interface, through the nervous system, and biology transformation. If I was a young man just getting a PhD, I would definitely do biology, because I think that’s where it’s going. A biologist armed with all this knowledge of computer science and technology can make a huge impact on humanity.

Alvy Ray Smith, avec une autre manière de concevoir la « loi de Moore » :

Moore’s law means one order of magnitude every five years—that’s the way I define it. And so what do you do with another two to three orders of magnitude increase in Moore’s law? We humans can’t answer that question. We don’t know. An order of magnitude is sort of a natural barrier. Or another way to say it is, if you’ve got just enough vision to go beyond the order of magnitude, you would probably become a billionaire.