Event: Film Screening + Discussion: "General Magic" | Harvard…
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Apr 03, 2024

Film Screening + Discussion: "General Magic"

Join us for a screening of "General Magic," a documentary about the 1990s Silicon Valley startup that built the world's first smartphone.

Join us at the Harvard Innovation Labs for a 6:15-7:45 p.m. screening of "General Magic," a documentary film that tells the story of one of history’s greatest tech teams, who after a great failure, changed the lives of billions. Produced and directed by the Emmy-nominated Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude, this award-winning documentary features interviews with members of the original Macintosh team, along with the creators of the iPhone, eBay, Apple Watch, NestLabs and LinkedIn, among others.

After the screening, members of the General Magic team will moderate a 7:45-8:30 p.m. discussion about the many questions the film raises about tech startups, like how to assemble an effective team, build an outstanding product, and fail well.

On hand to share their experiences and answer your questions:

  • Megan Smith (CEO of shift7; Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer)
  • Sarah Kerruish & Matt Maude (Directors of General Magic)
  • Mike Stern (Former Legal Counsel, General Magic)
  • Dee Gardetti (Former Head of HR, General Magic)
  • Alex Gruzen (Former Director of Marketing, Sony with General Magic; HBS MBA 1990 alum; Founder, WiTriCity)

This event is open to the entire Harvard community. Pizza and drinks will be served.


In 1990, at a secretive Silicon Valley start-up, a small and passionate group of innovators and engineers formed to build a magical device that would allow everyone to connect, communicate and share knowledge everywhere – the world's first smartphone. Although their initial product failed, the technologies developed by General Magic, and its team, have changed the lives of billions.

The award-winning documentary weaves rare archival footage from 1990s Silicon Valley alongside modern interviews with the founding General Magic team, as they reflect on the meaning and importance of failure in innovation, and share lessons on how to bring great vision, products, and ideas into the world of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Featuring interviews with:

  • Tony Fadell (Co-creator of the iPod and iPhone and founder of Nest)
  • Megan Smith (Former U.S. CTO and VP of Google)
  • Andy Hertzfeld (Software Engineer for the original Macintosh team with Steve Jobs)
  • Joanna Hoffman (Head of Marketing for Apple with Steve Jobs)
  • Marc Porat (Founder of General Magic and visionary of the smartphone)

Watch the trailer and learn more about the documentary.


The Harvard Innovation Labs welcomes attendees of all abilities to our events, both in person and online.

Requests for American Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance, if possible. Please note that the University will make every effort to secure services, but that services are subject to availability.

If you would like to request accommodations or have questions about physical access, please contact i-lab@harvard.edu in advance of the event.


Please note: By registering, you agree to receive emails about this event and future communications from the Harvard Innovation Labs.