Guardian Unlimited Technology has an inside look at the preparation behind an Apple Macworld keynote. Steve Jobs is probably one of the most charismatic and demanding CEO's in the world, and his presentations are not to be missed.
If the chief executive of Cadbury-Schweppes speaks at a conference, or Nike's boss introduces a new kind of trainer, you might expect to see it covered in specialist magazines, then quickly forgotten. But on Tuesday a chief executive will stand up and announce something, and within minutes it will be scrutinised across the web and on stockbrokers' computers. It will be in newspapers. They'll talk about it for months.
That chief executive is Steve Jobs, and I know why that speech makes an impact. To a casual observer it is just a guy in a black shirt and jeans talking about some new technology products. But it is in fact an incredibly complex and sophisticated blend of sales pitch, product demonstration and corporate cheerleading, with a dash of religious revival thrown in for good measure. It represents weeks of work, precise orchestration and intense pressure for the scores of people who collectively make up the "man behind the curtain". I know, because I've been there, first as part of the preparation team and later on stage with Steve.
I've been watching Bill Gates present Windows Vista at CES and while he's improved over the years, his keynotes are informational, and are not dramatic like Apple's. I've seen Gates and Jobs present live, and only Jobs has the ability to bring an entire audience to the edge of their seats with the words, "...and one more thing."