About the Original

GENERAL MAGIC is a feature documentary about how great vision and epic failure changed the world as we now know it - from the smartphones that sit in our pockets to an array of technologies we now take for granted today. Many of the ideas that now dominate the tech industry and our day-to-day lives were born in 1989 at a Silicon Valley startup just outside of San Francisco no one has ever heard of - General Magic. The first smartphones. Social media. E-commerce. Touch screen. Even the beloved emoji. But this was before the Internet, before 3G, before Google, before most people had mobile phones. The world was not ready in 1995 to hold the world in its hands. Fierce competition, incredible hubris and heartbreaking betrayal dominated behind the scenes of General Magic. While some never recovered from the failure that accompanied its downfall and bankruptcy, others went on to soar. The lessons learnt at General Magic were instrumental in the creation of the iPod, iPhone, Android, eBay, even in the corridors of President Obama’s White House. And although General Magic died, those concepts and the people work worked there went on to change how the world connects today. Described by Forbes as “The most important dead company in Silicon Valley” and combining rare archive footage with contemporary stories of the General Magicians today, this documentary captures the spirit of those of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, fail better, and ultimately succeed.



Lauren Kleiman