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Siri founder on Steve Jobs: ‘He felt that we cracked it’ but didn’t like the name

Network World summarized a recent talk given by former Siri founder and subsequent Apple Engineering Director Dag Kittlaus (profiled here). Among the topics discussed were Steve Jobs’ dislike of the name “Siri” for the speech/AI interface. Jobs could not come up with anything better, so it stuck (Jobs also did not like “iMac”—he preferred “MacMan”). The best passage is the first face-to-face meeting between the two men, described as such:

Three weeks after we launched I got a call in the office from someone at Apple that said, “Scott Forstall wants to talk to you and he’s the head software guy.”

And I said sure…

Only it wasn’t Scott that called it was Steve. And Steve never announces where he’s gonna be and what he’s gonna do because there’s too much commotion around it. So he said, “Dag, this is Steve Jobs.”

And he wanted me to come over to his house the next day, and I did, and I spent 3 hours with him in front of his fireplace having this surreal conversation about the future.

And, you know, he talked about why Apple was going to win, and we talked about how Siri was doing. And he was very excited about the fact that.. you know, he was very interested in this area in general but, you know, they’re patient, they don’t jump on anything until they feel they can go after something new and he felt that we cracked it. So that was his attraction.

I ended up very lucky, timing wise. I got to work with him for a year before he got real sick. And he’s pretty incredible. The stories are true. All of the stories.

Kittlaus had the opportunity to work with Jobs for a year before he got sick. He left to be closer to his family in Chicago. The whole thing is here. Nice read. Thanks Yoni!

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Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites.

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