Sunday, 27 September 2015

How do entrepreneurs do it?

A look inside NeXT. "Video: Steve Jobs brainstorms with the NeXT team (1985)"

Reality distortion field warning. Does this remind you of what goes on inside your own company? I'm tempted to think that the atmosphere the Jobs was recreating at the time was drawing on his experience with Apple, specifically trying to replicate the best bits (for him). My sense of the initiative is that they reverted very quickly into death march mode.
NeXt was 90 days old at the time, they initially anticipated a price point of $3,000. They were talking about an 18 month design and delivery schedule. At the second retreat the company was 180 days old and the project was already over budget, behind schedule and with an unclear feature list. Finally the first NeXT Computer shipped in limited quantities in 1988/89 with beta software and a price tag of $6,500. Not only had they designed a new computer and operating system embodying the most advanced and sophisticated technology of the day, they had also constructed an almost completely automated factory capable of manufacturing 150,000 units per year. Anecdotally they only ended up selling 50,000 units (Wired Magazine article and Wikipedia article).