General Magic Memories
Marc commented on the General Magic closure with some interesting tidbits about a guy named Steve Perlman (I never heard of him before):
This was the dream team - the superstars - nobody could tell them anything. They were gonna change the world - and no they didn't want your help or input.
I myself (I was still kind of famous then) was sent to talk to Steve Perlman - who has gone on to prove that he's quite a case unto himself - about Telescript 2.0 and the future of multimedia and General Magic. Basically Steve would have nothing to do with me. He wouldn't even answer my phone calls. Oh well.
Steve as we all know, went onto to form WebTV (now called MSN TV) - clearly a leader in...failed platforms, but who cares - 'cause Microsoft paid $400M for that hedge. Who cares if all the customers who bought it were ripped off?
Steve then took all this money to prove that he could squander even more on his ego-driven dreams (the Moxi box cost over $500 to build - and was eventually sold to Paul Allen's Digeo (losing untold millions$$$) - and is now available from Motorola....... Just goes to show - that nice guys finish last. But if you're a real asshole, arogant, obnoxious and tend to fail upwards - well THEN you can get all the money you want. Moxi bought a chip company along the way and paid their workers top dollar - to produce a box - priced WAY out of control.... Steve currently has a little playbox, with lots of toys - called Rearden Steel...
Man, I hope to be a complete failure like that guy some day! ;-) Actually, follow these links and you'll see that they're playing domain games. Reardon Steel (a made-up name if I remember correctly) is now Reardon Studios...
Later... Joi Ito adds to the fray (he's been hanging out on Menorca, it seems. Welcome to Spain Joi!):
I remember when Megan Smith who was working at General Magic took me to see Marc Porat. I was really excited about General Magic and tried to find some way to work with them since they had some licensees in Japan, and I had actually given a high level presentation to NTT about General Magic before their deal with them... Marc seemed very uninterested in seeing me and told me he didn't need any help.
There were so many people who were excited about General Magic and there were really a lot of cool people working there. It's really too bad they weren't more open technically and socially.
And later in his comments:
I always liked the name too... I just registered openmagic.net, openmagic.biz and openmagic.org... That would have worked. Open Magic.
Nice. Once a domain-name addict, always a domain-name addict. Serial (wanna-be in my case) entrepeneurs always looking for great names. I broke down and re-registered "janywhere" the day before it was going free... I'm such a bonehead. ;-)