How General Magic created the iPhone
No other event in the brief history of the exponential world was as perfectly timed as the iPhone moment. The moment Apple released the iPhone in 2007 is such an important date, we argue that technology will be defined as pre-iPhone and post-iPhone. The iPhone was a major catalyst for mass digitization and mobilization. This was not just another product launch; Apple launched disruption that would forever change the world.
It was a similar moment to when Gates released Windows. The world went digital. Suddenly, people wanted a computer even if they did not think they needed one before. When the iPhone launched, people already had smartphones or flip phones with many of the features. Yet, the iPhone made them desire smartphones. Consequently, the world went mobile. In 2007, when Steve Jobs and Apple released the iPhone, they nailed the timing. The guy who created the first iPhone did not. His name is Marc Porat, the exponential leader that never was. He single-handedly laid the vision for the iPhone seventeen years earlier.
The Pocket Crystal
In 1976, Marc Porat was a student at Stanford and had just finished writing his PhD thesis, arguing that the “Information Economy” would be the future of the United States. Information technology, Porat claimed, “. . . would become the dominant driver of the US workforce.” Simply put, information technology is “The study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving, and sending information.” Porat argued that computers would become so powerful that they would build their own economy. This economy would be superior to all previous economies, and would fundamentally change how business is done in the future. Porat defined the future in a way few had done at this point in history.
Marc Porat is credited as the first person to coin “Information Economy,” the term that encompassed an entire economy built on the use of information technology and the “knowledge workers” that built them. Surely, Porat had no idea how important his assertion would become in 1976. Forty-three years later in 2019, Harvard Business Review argued that data economy power “could determine the next world order, much like the role that oil production has played in…