“In an unexpected twist, Segway chief technology officer, Doug Field, has been hired away from the company to join Apple as vice president of product design,” Jonny Evans reports for Macworld UK.
Evans reports, “A note on the Segway forums reads: ‘Doug has been the driving force in making the Segway what it is today and will be sorely missed at the company. However, with every change comes good and bad. So while it’s bad the rich history and experience of Doug is leaving, it’s good in that perhaps the team will get a fresh perspective into possible engineering solutions for future versions of the Segway (or Segway-like applications). And hey, what can be better than a gig at Apple? These days, in the design and engineering world, not much!! We wish Doug all the luck in moving on!’
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Adam W.” for the heads up.]
MacDailyNews Note: Excerpt from Code Name Ginger: The Story Behind Segway and Dean Kamen’s Quest to Invent a New World, by Steve Kemper:
“What does everyone think about the design?” asked Doerr [John Doerr, American venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; see iFund], switching subjects.
“What do you think?” said [Steve] Jobs to Tim [Adams of Segway]. It was a challenge, not a question.
“I think it’s coming along,” said Tim, “though we expect—” “I think it sucks!” said Jobs.
His vehemence made Tim pause. “Why?” he asked, a bit stiffly.
“It just does.”
“In what sense?” said Tim, getting his feet back under him. “Give me a clue.”
“Its shape is not innovative, it’s not elegant, it doesn’t feel anthropomorphic,” said Jobs, ticking off three of his design mantras.
“You have this incredibly innovative machine but it looks very traditional.” The last word delivered like a stab. Doug Field and Scott Waters would have felt the wound; they admired Apple’s design sense. Dean’s intuition not to bring Doug had been right. “There are design firms out there that could come up with things we’ve never thought of,” Jobs continued, “things that would make you shit in your pants.“
There wasn’t much to say to that, so after a pause Tim began again: “Well, let’s keep going, because we don’t have much time today to-” “We do have time,” said Doerr curtly, changing his own ground rules. “We want to get Steve’s and Jeff’s [Bezos] ideas.”
“The problem at this point is lead time in our schedule,” said Tim. Jobs snapped his head from Doerr on one side to Dean on the other, as if he’d been slapped. “That’s backwards,” he said, his voice rising.
“Screw the lead times. You don’t have a great product yet! I know burn rates are important, but you’ll only get one shot at this, and if you blow it, it’s over.”