Insider secrets reveal behind-the-scenes of a Steve Jobs Macworld keynote

“If the chief executive of Cadbury-Schweppes speaks at a conference, or Nike’s boss introduces a new kind of trainer, you might expect to see it covered in specialist magazines, then quickly forgotten. But on Tuesday a chief executive will stand up and announce something, and within minutes it will be scrutinised across the web and on stockbrokers’ computers. It will be in newspapers. They’ll talk about it for months,” Mike Evangelist writes for The Guardian.

“That chief executive is Steve Jobs, and I know why that speech makes an impact. To a casual observer it is just a guy in a black shirt and jeans talking about some new technology products. But it is in fact an incredibly complex and sophisticated blend of sales pitch, product demonstration and corporate cheerleading, with a dash of religious revival thrown in for good measure. It represents weeks of work, precise orchestration and intense pressure for the scores of people who collectively make up the ‘man behind the curtain.’ I know, because I’ve been there, first as part of the preparation team and later on stage with Steve,” Evangelist writes.

Steve Jobs is “the closest thing to a rock star you will find in the world of business,” Evangelist writes. “When Apple announces something new, people pay attention. This is due, in large measure, to Steve and the way he delivers Apple’s messages.”

Mike Evangelist tells the insider secrets of the gruelling preparation that goes into a Steve Jobs keynote presentation in the full article here.

[Mike Evangelist left Apple in 2002 and is writing a book about his time there, provisionally called “Jobs I’ve Known,” live on his site: ]

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Former Apple exec writes about life at Apple, offers it free online – October 28, 2005


  1. And in this little story is the reason why Job’s keynotes appear to be slicker than those of his “peers” like Bill Gates et al.

    The fact that he is completely involved in the rehearsal is probably the key differentiator: I can’t imagine that Bill Gates is allowed the space in his diary to be so obsessively involved with an MS keynote on such a detailed level – this is probably where MSFT’s overweaning ambition to have Gates meet with heads of government lands up being a liability.

    Of course, MSFT then get to roll out Steve Ballmer for a conference audience – but they fall down here, because Ballmer is simply too sales-oriented and doesn’t have enough “skin” in MSFT’s technology game to obsessed with the the quality of how it is being presented.

  2. Ampar – Bill already knows full well how to “execute” a demo ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” /> He’s done it quite a few times… BSOD and all!

  3. in why so many newspapers, market watchers, and others hang on every word of SJ’s keynotes. All the hard work and polish in the world wouldn’t be worth squat if Apple didn’t have a history of innovative and–recently–business success!
    The polish and showmanship help, of course.

  4. Bill Gates knows how to deliver a “Steve Jobs” type of presentation. Afterall, he had Justin Timberlake on stage with him at CES yesteady to introduce MTVs Outhouse of a music server. All Steve Jobs could muster was John Mayer and Bono.

  5. All the polished presentations in the world are no good – without brilliant people producing brilliant products behind them.

    Gates could spend a year on his presentation, but if its still, this what you might see x months its still just hot air…

  6. With all due respect for Steve’s intelligence, good judgement, and showmanship, it ain’t all about Steve. It’s also about Apple’s products. Apple’s rollouts draw such a big audience because computer users everywhere know that, whatever platform they use, Apple’s sending something good their way. Whether it’s a better GUI, drag-and-drop, plug-and-play, self-configuring networking, or whatever, most of the innovation comes from Apple.

    Giving sole credit to Steve’s dramatic presentations is really a disservice to Apple. It confirms the characterization of Mac fans as cultists, and it downplays the self-evident appeal of the products. Remember that even during the dark era of Sculley, Amelio, and Copland vaporware, Apple attracted disproportionate attention because even then it was a leader in technology. The most rabid Mac-bashers draw their negative energy from the insecurity this simple fact instills in them. They know that without Apple there would be no Windows.

    Let us applaud Steve for his excellent stewardship of Apple, but let us also applaud the vast treasure of talent and creative ambition that Apple represents.

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