Last week I jumped on a call with Andy Hertzfeld, a Silicon Valley legend who really shouldn’t need an introduction.
However, in case you aren’t familiar with Andy’s work, he was an early Apple employee, including being a founding member of the original Macintosh team headed up by a then young Steve Jobs.
He’s also started three companies: Radius, Eazel, and General Magic. The latter, founded in 1990, was a handheld “personal intelligent communicator” that pre-dated smartphones.
Along with Andy, General Magic’s alumni includes Tony Fadell (iPod, iPhone, and founder of Nest), Megan Smith (founder of Planet Out, CTO of the United States), Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger and founder of Android), and Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay).
Now aged 63, Andy spent the most recent part of his career at Google where he worked on a range of projects, including Circles (the well-received friends feature of Google+), Gmail’s profile image picker, and photo software Picasa.
As a bit of background, I first interviewed Andy all the way back in September 2004 when I was filming In Search of the Valley, a documentary film that I wrote and directed (reviewed by Mike Arrington and now available on YouTube). We then met up again in London last year, 10 years after the film’s release, when he was visiting the UK in part to promote a new documentary being made on General Magic.
In our call, we discuss how Hollywood depicts Silicon Valley, the late Steve Jobs, the triumph and failure of General Magic, Andy’s time working at Google and how he almost became a founder of Android, what the future has in store for technology, and more.
You can listen to a lightly edited version of the interview below.