A Behind the Scenes Look at a Steve Jobs Keynote

Friday January 11, 2013 7:46 AM PST by Jordan Golson
NewImageFormer Apple employee Don Melton has been sharing a unique look behind the scenes of the Safari development team. Melton was the team leader on both the Safari and WebKit products that are now used by millions of users on iOS, the Mac, and Windows.

Previously, Melton explained how the Safari name came about, and the tale of Safari's User Agent string and the strategies his team used to keep the project under wraps.

Today, he shared details of the launch of Safari some ten years ago at the Macworld Expo in 2003. One of the more revealing sections of the piece looks behind the scenes at Steve Jobs' rehearsals for his presentation and some of the things that could have gone wrong.

Of course, thanks to Jobs' impeccable preparation, the Safari presentation -- and everything else that was revealed that day -- went off without a hitch.
Until I watched that video I found and posted of the Macworld keynote, I had completely forgotten what else was announced that day. Which is pretty sad considering I saw Steve rehearse the whole thing at least four times.

But you have to realize I was totally focused on Safari. And Scott Forstall, my boss, wanted me at those rehearsals in case something went wrong with it.

There’s nothing that can fill your underwear faster than seeing your product fail during a Steve Jobs demo.

One of my concerns at the time was network reliability. So, I brought Ken Kocienda, the first Safari engineer, with me to troubleshoot since he wrote so much of our networking code. If necessary, Ken could also diagnose and duct tape any other part of Safari too. He coined one of our team aphorisms, “If it doesn’t fit, you’re not shoving hard enough.”

[…]

Most of the time during those rehearsals, Ken and I had nothing to do except sit in the then empty audience and watch The Master Presenter at work — crafting his keynote. What a privilege to be a spectator during that process. At Apple, we were actually all students, not just spectators. When I see other companies clumsily announce products these days, I realize again how much the rest of the world lost now that Steve is gone.
The full article is worth a read for anyone who wants a peek behind the Apple curtain.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

23 months ago
I was excited about reading this article, until I realized it was another Don Melton story with zero content in it.

SUMMARY: I SAT IN AN EMPTY AUDITORIUM 4 TIMES WATCHING STEVE JOBS, WITHOUT ANY SPECIFIC COMMENT ON WHAT HAPPENED, AND I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT WENT ON OR WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS WERE THERE.

I'm not joking when I say -- are you even sure it's Don Melton making these comments, or are you being trolled? Literally anyone could have written these 3 stories, there are absolutely no details in any of them

I've read MacRumors for years now and these are probably the lamest stories I have ever seen run
Rating: 12 Votes
23 months ago
Miss you Steve...... :apple:
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago

I was excited about reading this article, until I realized it was another Don Melton story with zero content in it.

SUMMARY: I SAT IN AN EMPTY AUDITORIUM 4 TIMES WATCHING STEVE JOBS, WITHOUT ANY SPECIFIC COMMENT ON WHAT HAPPENED, AND I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT WENT ON OR WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS WERE THERE.

I'm not joking when I say -- are you even sure it's Don Melton making these comments, or are you being trolled? Literally anyone could have written these 3 stories, there are absolutely no details in any of them

I've read MacRumors for years now and these are probably the lamest stories I have ever seen run


Cool story bro.
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago

I was excited about reading this article, until I realized it was another Don Melton story with zero content in it.

SUMMARY: I SAT IN AN EMPTY AUDITORIUM 4 TIMES WATCHING STEVE JOBS, WITHOUT ANY SPECIFIC COMMENT ON WHAT HAPPENED, AND I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT WENT ON OR WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS WERE THERE.

I'm not joking when I say -- are you even sure it's Don Melton making these comments, or are you being trolled? Literally anyone could have written these 3 stories, there are absolutely no details in any of them

I've read MacRumors for years now and these are probably the lamest stories I have ever seen run


Yeah, I was actually hoping to get to read about those keynote rehearsals.
Rating: 7 Votes
23 months ago

Cool story bro.


Cool, I remember when people used to say that like 2 years ago
Rating: 7 Votes
23 months ago
MR -- why do you guys keep posting "stories" from this guy?

They are uninteresting, uninformative, and are constantly misrepresented by the story's title.
Rating: 6 Votes
23 months ago

I was excited about reading this article, until I realized it was another Don Melton story with zero content in it.

SUMMARY: I SAT IN AN EMPTY AUDITORIUM 4 TIMES WATCHING STEVE JOBS, WITHOUT ANY SPECIFIC COMMENT ON WHAT HAPPENED, AND I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT WENT ON OR WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS WERE THERE.

I'm not joking when I say -- are you even sure it's Don Melton making these comments, or are you being trolled? Literally anyone could have written these 3 stories, there are absolutely no details in any of them

I've read MacRumors for years now and these are probably the lamest stories I have ever seen run


I found the story interesting and entertaining to read. I love these ex-apple employee stories working on Apple projects and around Steve JObs like a fly on the wall.

I'd like more stories like these.
Rating: 4 Votes
23 months ago

Cool, I remember when people used to say that like 2 years ago


Cool, I remember when I couldn't give less of a ******* what dorks on the Internet were saying when.
Rating: 3 Votes
23 months ago
10 years ago! Wow. Birth of Safari!
Rating: 3 Votes
23 months ago

I was excited about reading this article, until I realized it was another Don Melton story with zero content in it.

SUMMARY: I SAT IN AN EMPTY AUDITORIUM 4 TIMES WATCHING STEVE JOBS, WITHOUT ANY SPECIFIC COMMENT ON WHAT HAPPENED, AND I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT WENT ON OR WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS WERE THERE.


For completeness sake, here's the summary of the 2 other articles.
Article 1: Safari Developer Doesn't Remember Where the Name 'Safari' Came From.
Article 2: Safari Developer Used a Fake User Agent String Before Safari's Official Release
Rating: 2 Votes

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