SAN JOSE, Calif. – At the peak of work on Samsung’s first Galaxy smartphones, the team of about 300 designers spent three months together in Seoul sleeping as little as two hours a night. A senior user interface designer said she felt so stressed her body would no longer produce the breast milk she was pumping to send to her newborn at home.
“Those were difficult times,” said Jeeyeun Wang, who helped design icons and screen displays for the handsets, speaking through a translator with what sounded at one moment like a catch in her throat.
“Samsung is a very hard company to work at--it’s a very hard-working company,” said Wang, an attractive middle-aged Korean woman with a stoic demeanor, dressed in a salmon denim blazer and simple black dress.
Asked if she copied any icons or layouts of Apple iPhone screens, “Not at all,” she replied through the translator in testimony for the defense in a $2.5 billion patent infringement suit Apple filed against the Korean giant.
The moment provided a rare look into the human side of one of the world’s largest electronics companies, and one no doubt carefully calculated to appeal to the sympathies of the nine-person jury here.
Wang’s story echoed tales of Apple’s own industrial designers who talked about long, sometimes contentious debates gathered around a kitchen table where they routinely meet. It also harkened back to even earlier stories—not told at the trial—of an Apple designer so stressed during the design of its failed Newton handheld he committed suicide, a fact only discovered when a New York Times reporter followed the lead of a dedication at the bottom of the code in the device’s software.
For a moment, the high profile trial here, turned its attention to a subject not at issue in the case—the work/life balance of engineers and designers in the pressure cooker of the electronics industry. But the focus quickly snapped back to the details of patent infringement.
Samsung attorney John Quinn asked Wang about the distinctive icon of a white telephone receiver against a green background used both in Galaxy phones and the iPhone.
“We called it a ‘dumbell’ icon,” she said.
“The icon was in use before I joined the company in 2002. The green has a positive connotation, meaning go, do or make the call. A red color would mean don’t or stop,” she added.
said Wang, an attractive middle-aged Korean woman with a stoic demeanor, dressed in a salmon denim blazer and simple black dress.
Why does the article mention she is attractive? When was the last time an article about a male engineer mention 'handsome'? Subtle discrimination here.
Why does this remind me of the '80s and '90s battles over "Look and feel"?
Lessee, if a game consumes dots then it is a rip-off of Pac-Man. Microsoft's desktop Recycle Bin could not look like or perform the same function as Apple's Trash can. Quatro's spreadsheet could not have the same menu items as Excel (Or was it Lotus 1-2-3?).
Your use of the letter "A" cannot resemble my drawing and use of the letter "A" is what it sounds like to me.
Frank Eory wrote: "The effects of sleep deprivation are well-known and include, among other things, confusion, lapses in memory and inattentiveness. Chronic sleep deprivation can make a brilliant person seem like a complete idiot -- simple mathematics can become difficult, steps in a routine procedure can be overlooked, and higher-order cognitive reasoning skills disappear."
Clearly the developers of Kies, the PC software used to manage Galaxy phones, were under this regimen. It has manifested itself in the end product.
I have worked for a large company where people were working 120+ hr weeks and management made the statement to the entire group "don't care how many people are carried out in body bags, get the product done".
stay all night is a normal for an engineer when they are absorbed in their experiments and researchs.
however, human being is not a machine can work so long time without the plenty of the rest.
If that would be a real thing, people might complain the company for its disregard of work law.
I had ever worked for three days and two nights continuously when I was young. and still had 3hours for eating food and 3hours for nap totally
and then had a sleep nearly a whole day long.
I can't believe that that woman can afford such tough work.
needn't a month, only a week work like that will distroy her health.
I feel so sorry for the lady having not enough milk for the baby. Not sure if the people involved are well compensated after the project completes. It's in fact a norm in a lot of Asian companies to demand employees to give in their 200 percent but give back only a token.
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