How Apple’s Siri Got Her Name

by: The Week Staff







It may be a household name now, but the first time Steve Jobs heard the word “Siri,” he wasn’t sold. That’s according to Dag Kittalaus, the Norwegian cocreator of the iPhone 4S’ famed virtual assistant, who offered new details this week on how the technology was named, and how it seduced the late Apple founder. Today, 87 percent of iPhone 4S owners say they use Siri each month. But how did the increasingly famous digital assistant end up with her unique name?

Who came up with the name?
Kittalaus did. As he revealed at a startup conference in Chicago this week, he planned to name his daughter Siri after a former coworker (in Norwegian, Siri means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”) and even registered the domain Then he and his wife had a son, and the website was shelved. But when Kittalaus was ready to launch his splashy speech recognition technology, he resurrected Siri. “Consumer companies need to focus on the fact that the name is easy to spell [and] easy to say,” he said.

How did Apple get involved?
Siri, Inc. was incorporated in 2007, and the technology was launched as an IOS app available in the Apple Store in early 2010; plans were in the works to make the software available for the Blackberry and Android phones. Things changed when Kittalaus, then the start-ups’s CEO, received a call three weeks later from Steve Jobs.

Then what happened?

The Apple CEO flew Kittalaus to his home in Cupertino, CA, where the two had a three-hour chat in front of Jobs’ fireplace about the the future of technology. “And, you know, he talked about why Apple was going to win, and we talked about how Siri was doing,” said Kittalaus. “He felt that we cracked it.” Apple went on to purchase Siri for $200 million in April 2010, ending plans to make it available for rival operating systems. There was one problem, however — Jobs wasn’t fond of the name.

Why didn’t Jobs change the name?
Kittalaus, who worked for Apple until October 2011, tried to convince the notoriously hardheaded Jobs that Siri was a great name. But in the end, the company stuck with the name for a more straightforward reason: No one could dream up anything better. (According to Wikipedia, the name is now also used as shorthand for “Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface.”) “Jobs was similarly on the fence about the names ‘iMac’ and ‘iPod,’ but failed to find a better option,” says Leslie Horn at PC World. But it seems Kittalaus was right about Siri. Today, she’s an indelible part of pop culture, and a benchmark other companies are trying to top.

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Hello. My name is Caleb Eadens, and I am an intern at Grimes Legal.   I am also a sophomore in High School.  Outside of work, I participate in indoor percussion.  Our last competition was the SCGC Championships, on Sunday, March 20th at Belmont University in Tennessee.  We placed first in our class, Scholastic Concert Open.

When they called us to the floor to get our awards, we were placed on a red carpet with huge bright lights shining down on us.  Our instructor lined us up and presented us each with a gold medal with a blue ribbon.  It was so exciting to be in front of all those people with their cameras flashing.  Finally, the announcer called our name and said we were Kentucky State Champions!  After the competition, we had numerous people come up to us and congratulate us on our fantastic performance!

Where Have You Gone HUD-1?

Bill AukampBy William M. Aukamp

It has been a long time since I last represented banks or borrowers at residential mortgage closings, but one of my colleagues does and the other day I noticed he was carrying a folder as thick as the Manhattan telephone directory used to be back in the days when such directories were printed. I was curious about what kind of transaction could generate enough documents to account for such a thick file. I was surprised to learn that it was a garden variety residential mortgage closing. I had a general familiarity with RESPA and the HUD-1 disclosure form mandated by its implementing regulations, but that knowledge is useless today. The HUD-1 has mushroomed into three forms. This reminds me of Fourth of July fireworks, when a rocket rises and then splits into three pieces. I asked my colleague where one would go to become better informed about the new rules. He suggested doing a Google search for T R I D. I had never heard of this acronym before. I followed his suggestion, which resulted in my winding up on the web site of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It was chock full of information about T R I D, more than enough to make me glad that I no longer represent parties to residential mortgage transactions. Among the resources available on the CFPB site was a Small Entity Compliance Guide. In the hope that it would make me an instant expert on the subject, I downloaded the Guide. But the Guide, intended to explain the new rules in simple terms, was 90 pages in length. To save paper and ink, I opted not to print the guide. However I did scroll through it in order to try to find the salient provisions.

Here are some of the things I discovered. As best I can tell, three, or possibly, four forms are required. There is a Closing Disclosure, a Loan Estimate Disclosure and, if there should be any modification to the Closing Disclosure, a Modification To Closing Disclosure. In Addition, lenders must provide to borrowers a list of service providers. The latter could prove to be troublesome. What criteria, if any, should lenders apply in determining who gets to be included in the list. The form also provides space for listing service providers who borrowers may not use, which seems to amount to a sort of blacklist. All of this could result in corrupt behavior involving loan officers and service providers desperately trying to get on the list or, at least, avoiding the blacklist. The information required to be disclosed is voluminous and includes such critical information as the real estate brokers license ID.

The CFPB has also provided a Guide To Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure Forms, that can be downloaded from its web site. If you are looking for a nice, simple explanation you will be disappointed, because it is 96 pages in length. So we now have “simple” explanations of the new rules and the required forms that total 186 pages. One shudders to think of how many pages it would take to describe all of this in non simple terms. Aside from the content of the forms, one can easily get tangled up in the timing requirements. The Loan Estimate Form must be mailed to the borrower no later than the third business day after receiving the application and again mailed no longer than the seventh business day before consummation of the transaction. The CFPG has pointed out that consummation is when the parties become legally obligated, a determination to be made under state law, and not necessarily the closing date. Adding to the confusion is the fact that two different definitions of business day are used. For purposes of providing the loan estimate,  it “is a day on which the creditor’s offices are open to the public for carrying out substantially all of its business functions.” The creditor must ensure that the consumer receives a revised Loan Estimate no later than four business days prior to consummation. For this purpose, a business day  “means all calendar days except Sundays and holidays specified in 5 U.S.C. 6103 (a) such as New Years Day, the birthday of Martin Luther King,Jr., Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.”

I could go on to point out other features of the new rules, but I do not want to get in over my head, so I will stop here. What I can say, without equivocation, is that as a result of the new rules, residential mortgage closings have become more time consuming and expensive, to a point that they provide a disincentive to banks to make residential mortgage loans and for attorneys to become involved in such transactions.

Oh for the good old days. Where have you gone HUD-1?

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Interview with Anita Johnson, a Partner with Litchfield Cavo

By:  Pixie Meredith

Anita JohnsonAnita Johnson’s situation was not ideal for her practice.  Although she had received a lot of calls from recruiters, Nancy Grimes’ voicemail got her attention.  What was different?  Anita felt that Nancy actually reviewed her biography, did her research and was knowledgeable about her practice before she ever attempted to dial her number.  Anita’s expectations were all over the place when she decided to dip her toe in the water; however, Nancy certainly listened and guided her through every turn of the road, even focusing her on what she really wanted out of a move.

Anita indicated that Nancy knew what she wanted and picked up the phone, called her contacts and found a home for her practice.  “Nancy knows where there is chemistry, calls the firm, and gets it done.”  Anita also added, “Nancy has a way of being upbeat and positive, which just automatically causes you to be up.  Even though you think you know everything about interviewing, she can analyze the situation and give you guidance in the most positive and palpable way, including how to best handle yourself and the personalities of others in interviews.”  When asked if Anita would recommend Nancy’s services to others, Anita answered, “Everyone knows Nancy and loves her.  She has continued helping me even after placing me.  It didn’t end just because I started at my new firm. I would gladly recommend her.”

Anita Johnson is a member of Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Workers Compensation CommitteeAmerican Bar AssociationIllinois Bar AssociationChicago Bar Association

10 Troubling Habits of Unhappy People

By: Travis Bradberry

Happiness comes in so many different forms that it can be hard to define. Unhappiness, on the other hand, is easy to identify; you know it when you see it, and you definitely know when it’s taken ahold of you.

Unhapunhappypiness is lethal to everyone around you, just like second-hand smoke. The famous Terman Study from Stanford followed subjects for eight decades and found that being around unhappy people is linked to poorer health and a shorter life span.

Happiness has much less to do with life circumstances than you might think. A University of Illinois study found that people who earn the most (more than $10 million annually) are only a smidge happier than the average Joes and Janes who work for them.

Life circumstances have little to do with happiness because much happiness is under your control—the product of your habits and your outlook on life. Psychologists from the University of California who study happiness found that genetics and life circumstances only account for about 50 percent of a person’s happiness. The rest is up to you.

 Unhappy habits

When people are unhappy, it’s much more difficult to be around them, let alone work with them. Unhappiness drives people away, creating a vicious cycle that holds you back from achieving everything that you’re capable of.

Unhappiness can catch you by surprise. So much of your happiness is determined by your habits (in thought and deed) that you have to monitor them closely to make certain that they don’t drag you down into the abyss.

Some habits lead to unhappiness more than others do. You should be especially wary of the ten habits that follow as they are the worst offenders. Watch yourself carefully to make certain that these habits are not your own.

1. Waiting for the future. 

Telling yourself, “I’ll be happy when …” is one of the easiest unhappy habits to fall into. How you end the statement doesn’t really matter (it might be a promotion, more pay, or a new relationship) because it puts too much emphasis on circumstances, and improved circumstances don’t lead to happiness. Don’t spend your time waiting for something that’s proven to have no effect on your mood. Instead focus on being happy right now, in the present moment, because there’s no guarantee of the future.

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Feel the Fear — and Then Move Past It

By:  Amy Cosper

“Fear is the mother of foresight.”  Fear
— Thomas Hardy

I had an idea for a business, and it made me giddy. It was so full of possibility, so compelling and dynamic and burning and beautiful, that I devoted my days and nights to thinking about it. I wanted to make this idea real. I wanted to live it.

And then I got a chance to make it happen. I scored a meeting with Brad Feld, cofounder of Foundry Group, Mobius Venture Capital and Techstars, and generally just one of the most influential VCs of our decade. Instantly, my veins felt colder. My idea no longer felt exciting. It felt like a horrible secret I’d have to reveal — like a thing I’d take out of my briefcase and say, in my most pathetic voice, “This is all I have.”

But the meeting was set. I arrived at Feld’s office on a snowy day in Boulder. I said things. I attempted full sentences: “I, well, you see, I think…” Feld was courteous. He was professional. He did not fund my idea, of course. Why should he? What he saw that day was a founder full of fear — and no business can survive if its leader is afraid to stand out in front.

Fear sucks. It really does. It is a raw emotion that stands between you and greatness. It invades your body and makes you forget that you ever had strength. And it is the reason that you didn’t.  Didn’t chase that dream. Didn’t take that risk.  Didn’t give yourself the opportunity to see what’s on the other side: the dream achieved, the risk rewarded, the person who survived jumping in and now understands the value of taking a leap in the first place.

This is easier said than done, but I’m going to say it anyway: Stop being scared.  Right now.  It is the single most important thing you can do — and you can do it.

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4 Lessons Learned From This Year’s Super Bowl Advertising

By Jim Joseph

Weiner Dog Commercial

The Super Bowl has been universally called “the marketers’ holiday.” At $5 million a clip, there certainly is a lot of time, energy and investment put into showing up for the game. So it’s fair to say that much of this activity is reserved for the big brands. Even still, there is a lot to be learned across the board, regardless of the size of your brand.

Every year during the big game, I host a Twitter Party at #SuperBowlExp, where we gather to talk about all of the advertising during the commercial breaks. For us, the commercial breaks are the game — and we skip through the game!
Here are a few takeaways from this year’s big-brand advertisers, at least from the crowd on my hashtag.

1. Nostalgia wins.
People were longing to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. They are a Super Bowl tradition but were barely seen. And the spots with classic music from David Bowie and Queen were insanely popular.
Lesson learned? Remember to keep your own brand heritage alive in your marketing efforts, because that’s how your loyal customers relate to you. Sure, keep on progressing and innovating, but remember where you came from too!

2. Context is everything.
The multiple spots discussing healthcare issues didn’t resonate so well with viewers. There’s nothing wrong with advertising solutions to these issues, but perhaps not when people are at parties with family and friends. Perhaps it’s just not the right time and place. Lesson learned?
Be conscious of where and when you run your marketing messages to make sure the context is right. Make sure your customers and potential customers will be in the right mindset to accept your message.

3. Humor isn’t always funny.
Super Bowl viewers expect the advertising to entertain them, and humor is often a great way to have a memorable and engaging spot. This year didn’t seem to be so funny to people. Sure, the Doritos and Heinz dogs got a good chuckle, but I’m not sure much else did.

Lesson learned? Be careful with humor in your marketing, as it might not resonate across all of your customer groups the way you might think it will.

4. Give it all you’ve got.
Lady Gaga stole the show, setting a new standard for the National Anthem. It was a wow. Lesson learned? When you show up, show up big. Give it all you got, and put your best foot forward. You’ve got one chance to wow your customers, so make sure it nail it.
The truth is, good marketing is not reliant on big budgets. A small business and an entrepreneur can do just as effective marketing as the big brands. We just have to be a bit smarter and a little more clever.

I am a big believer that marketing is a spectator sport. So let’s learn from the activity of the big guys — during the big game and beyond.

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In BigLaw, Why Morale Matters

By: Gaston Kroub
hands in

While President Eisenhower’s legacy lives on for most of us in the form of the Interstate Highway System, all of his achievements must be measured against his performance as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during the re-conquest of Europe from the Nazis during World War II. Any student of history appreciates the enormity of the undertaking that Eisenhower spearheaded, and the importance of his role as a strategist and symbol of leadership during the most trying moments of the 20th century. While the idea of a “mobilized” America may feel a little strange in the current age of a professional (and shrinking) armed forces, circumstances during WWII compelled the involvement of every segment of the American citizenry, with Eisenhower personally responsible for the combined war effort of the United States and its allies in the European theater. As a leader, particularly one charged with launching an unfathomably complicated assault against the Nazi war machine that had enslaved a continent, Eisenhower surely understood the importance of morale.

It is interesting, therefore, to consider Eisenhower’s feelings about the role of morale in an organization. While we may default to considering “team morale” as something that needs to be discussed, at least on occasion, General Ike felt very differently. In his words, “The best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy.” That’s an insightful take on the subject, from someone who knew full well the importance of morale in preserving the ability of an organization to function at its peak potential. While morale is important, however, Eisenhower also implicitly recognized two truths that are of interest to us as lawyers. First, morale is meaningless if the organization or firm does not have a mission. Second, firms who fret about “boosting morale” must understand that they already have a serious problem on their hands — because morale, depending on the mission and the organization, may actually present a zero-sum calculus, such that morale among the members of an organization may be good or bad — with no in-between.

It is much easier to appreciate the importance of morale operating in service of a broader “mission” at a small firm. At smaller firms, everything is “personal,” and it is extremely important that each member of the firm understands the firm’s mission and their role in making that mission a successful one. If morale is poor, for whatever reason, there is little doubt that the entire firm’s ability to execute on its mission will be compromised, at least until the reasons for the poor morale are addressed. In contrast, larger organizations can sometimes weather pockets of poor morale, because there is less likelihood that a problem in the Phoenix office’s real estate group will have much of an impact at all on the ability of the firm’s Chicago corporate attorneys to function effectively. If the source of the poor morale, however, is some type of existential concern, then it is unlikely that discussing the issues will be of much help anyway.

Just as poor morale in one group is less likely to have an impact on the performance of other groups in a large organization, so does the existence of good morale only extend so far. At a small firm, however, it is very apparent when morale is good, and it is much more likely that an esprit de corps will pervade the entire firm. At our firm, especially when business is humming along, there is little doubt that morale is good. When everyone is busy, and contributing, there is little need to discuss morale, or try and tinker with something that is working. Even when there are some challenges to overcome, morale can and does remain good, especially because we all have a common goal in mind, and a full understanding of our firm’s mission. That understanding helps smooth out any rough patches, and prevents discouragement or malaise from taking root.

But what if morale is bad for whatever reason? Small firms simply can’t survive very long in such circumstances. The tonic for poor morale? Leadership, for one. If there is a serious drain on the firm’s emotional well-being, something needs to change. Leadership is required to determine whether the problem is with the mission — which can be altered if destined for failure — or with the people executing on that mission. Likewise, every member of the organization needs to reaffirm their commitment to the mission, and actually take concrete steps to perform as best as they can — even in the face of poor morale.

As Eisenhower noted, what certainly won’t work to solve the problem of poor morale is a lot of discussion, since excessive discussion could actually lead to more harm. That is not to say that grievances contributing to the poor morale should not be aired, only that the firm’s leadership realize that it will take action, rather than just talking, to turn things around. Every business faces adversity, and there is no guarantee that the owners and employees will be able to steel themselves in the face of that adversity. Leaders understand the importance of morale and their role in building and sustaining it — just like Eisenhower did. We may not face the same challenges he did, or run as complex an organization, but we can still learn from his straight talk.

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5 Fears You’ll Need to Overcome to Be an Effective Leader

Adapted from an article by:  Anna Johansson
5 Fears You'll Need to Overcome to Be an Effective Leader
Being an attorney demands effective leadership. You need to be able to make solid decisions, organize plans, hire teammates and provide direction — all under the steady pressure of being accountable for all those decisions and actions. To add even more heat, as an lawyer, your personal success is often tied directly to the success of your practice, meaning every little decision you make could have significant consequences.
Under such pressure, it’s natural to have worries and fears. But fears can intimidate you and obscure your judgment, rendering your decisions less logical and your approach less systematic. If you want to be an effective leader, there are five fears in particular that you’ll need to overcome.
1. Making the wrong decision
As a leader, you’ll be facing decisions on a nearly constant basis. You’ll make major decisions, like choosing your initial partners, and small ones, like whether to continue a proven marketing campaign. Being faced with so many decisions can lead to decision fatigue, a well-known psychological phenomenon that can interfere with your mental health and your ability to make good decisions.
Adding to this is a potentially growing fear that the next decision you make will be the wrong one — your new hire won’t work out, your marketing campaign won’t be effective, or possibly even bigger, more significant fallout will occur. This fear can make you postpone or delegate your decisions, but don’t let it — remember that even the best leaders make bad decisions sometimes. Avoiding a decision is always a worse move.
2. Being criticized for your approach
As a leader, you’re going to have your own signature style. You’re going to value some things more than others. For example, you might appreciate a rigid, formal dress code, or you could completely disregard what the people around you are wearing. When working with others, you could prefer a hands-on style or a much more relaxed approach.
There’s no one right or wrong way to lead. If you’re afraid of being criticized for your approach, it could lead you to become the leader you think people might want rather than the leader you naturally are. You’re going to be criticized no matter what by some, and accepted no matter what by others, so pick the style that suits you best, and don’t let the haters interfere with your vision.
3. Speaking as an authority
Speaking publicly is one of the biggest, most commonly reported fears in the U.S. population. That’s because it puts you on the spot, making you vulnerable to anywhere between two and several thousand people all at once. Any stumble could make you appear foolish, and a slip in words could compromise your credibility.
It’s natural to feel a little fear before speaking to a group as an authority in your field, whether it’s to your team or to a potential client. But don’t let this fear trip you up! Relax before you go on stage by preparing as much as possible and reminding yourself that you’re human, and the people in your audience will see you as a human as well. Even if you make a mistake, it will probably turn out fine.
4. Taking responsibility
Whenever you make decisions, take actions or lead a project in a given direction, you’re making yourself responsible for the potential outcomes of those actions. If your new marketing campaign succeeds, you’ll get a lot of the credit. If it fails, you’ll get a lot of the blame. Proverbially speaking, the buck stops with you.
This can be a crippling fear for new attorneys, but one that disproportionately emphasizes the results of your actions. All leaders will experience successes and failures, so try to focus on measuring your worth in terms of the motivations behind your actions rather than the consequences of them.
5. Failing entirely
As an authority in your field, the fear of failure is personally, financially and logically motivated. If a project fails, you may loose a case, a client, and possibly a lot of money. But remember — failure is never the end of the line, and it shouldn’t exist as the bad word it’s often seen to be. For most successful people, failure is an important first step of a longer journey, and you’ll always have another chance for a different kind of success.
Leadership is at the root of any successful position. Often, you’re the director, decision maker and figurehead for the group. The moment you let a specific fear — even a rational one — enter your head and get in the way of your responsibilities, your effectiveness is going to plummet. Overcoming those fears isn’t easy, but it’s certainly possible, and it’s necessary if you want to become or remain a great leader.

What Kind of Lawyers Would Star Wars Characters Be?

Star Wars Logo

With the new Star Wars movie having been released, it is only appropriate that those of us in the legal industry examine the franchise’s characters and formulate ideas regarding what kind of attorney each character would be.

By: Elie Mystal

I think R2-D2 would be the best personal injury lawyer. He’s brash and confident. He can take on foes much bigger than him. He’ll look into the jury box and play a holo-recording of an injured client saying, “Help me, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you’re my only hope.”

Obviously, Boba Fett would be opposing counsel for the defense. He’s got corporate trial attorney hired gun written all over him.

Not that he’s a Biglaw partner. That’s Jabba the Hut: “Bring me the associate and the Wookie. They will all suffer for this outrage.” Vader is the managing partner of a Biglaw firm: there will be a lot of apologies accepted and whole bunch of “I’m altering the deal, pray that I do not alter it any further” when summer associates return to the firm to start full time.

Okay, okay, but now if we’re thinking of Jabba and Vader as Biglaw partners, doesn’t that set Luke Skywalker up as the best law student/Biglaw associate of all time? Come on, there’s the petulant begging to go to law school in the first place “But Uncle Owen, all my friends have gone.” Which of course leads to the immediate destruction of his former life. A mad scramble during the law school years with Constitutional Law professor Obi-Wan Kenobi (“So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.”).

He spends some time with public interest lawyer Yoda — “judge me by my size do you? And well you should not. For my ally is the Law, and a powerful ally it is” — but eventually rushes to face his Biglaw destiny (“not ready for the burden were you”), is tempted (“join me and I will complete your training), and eventually gets his arm cut off.

But he doesn’t die. Maybe through family connections he starts to get some clients and suddenly he’s standing in-front of established partner Jabba, talking smack and coming into his own. Jabba is an aging partner trying to hang onto to his book of business from the hard-charging Luke who says, “Nevertheless, I’m taking the Morgan Stanley account, you can either profit by this or be destroyed. It’s your choice, but I warn you not to underestimate my power.”

He passes the Jabba test, makes partner and now has the biggest case of his life in front of the Supreme Court. It doesn’t go well, he gets shocked by electricity from the bench by Emperor Scalia Palpatine (Palpatine = Scalia is the easiest Star Wars and the Law connection in the entire galaxy). But at the end the managing partner Vader saves the day and hands over the firm to his protégé.

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