A brief history of me, I guess. Part 1.
So, Miguel in comments suggests that I should chat more about Mac OS 9 stuff here in the blog. I’m not sure how much I can or want to talk about. I still work at Apple, and I like my job, so some things are certainly still confidential.
But, beyond that, a lot of stuff probably isn’t terribly interesting to most folks. I’ll write about what I remember, and see if anyone seems to care.
I started at Apple in April of 1989, roughly a year out of college. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin: Madison in spring of 1988, then got a job at a local company called Persoft which did terminal emulators, and was just starting up doing Macintosh programming for a product they’d acquired called Ize. Weirdly, I hadn’t put a lot of effort into my job search — I’d interviewed with some companies on campus as they came, but the only offer I got was because Persoft had a meet-and-greet in the comp sci department that I happened to drop in on. It was cool to get a job locally, because my girlfriend was still trying to go to school, and by staying local it avoid a whole bunch of “does she move with me, or do we try to do the long distance thing, or what” problems.
Then, six months after I started, Persoft laid me off, because they were bleeding money, the existing PC ( pre-Windows ) Ize wasn’t selling well, they’d probably hired too many people. At the time, I was really naive, because in November of the year they’d hired a new CEO, and the first company-wide meeting we had with him started off with him saying “I wasn’t hired to cut a bunch of jobs” ( and, important life lesson: When the CEO says “I wasn’t hired to cut a bunch of jobs”, he was probably hired to cut a bunch of jobs. )
So, just after Christmas, having spent a bunch of money on presents in my first year with a real job, I come back to work, and my boss and his boss come into my office with “There’s a company wide meeting at 1pm, but we’re laying you off, so we need your key and you need to be out of the building by 12:30pm. You can pack your office now, or come back and do it later.” speech. They leave, and I pick up the company phone and make my first long-distance on the company dime phone call to my friend Pete, who got a job at Apple the summer before.
Then, a couple months in Madison working part time doing software stuff, at a company trying to do low end cash register networks and hang a bunch of printers off the same serial line, while interviewing again on campus with all the companies coming thru. Microsoft had their act together, and when they saw my resume they flew me out to Redmond, I had a day of interviews ( during the snowstorm of 1989, which didn’t strike me as unusual since Winconsin had plenty of snow, but which Redmond rarely got ) and they offered me a job at the end of the day. But, I didn’t want to work at Microsoft; I wanted to work at Apple.
Apple, though, wasn’t interviewing on campus. My friend Pete was feeding me info on what jobs were open inside the company, and I was trying to get an interview, but nothing was clicking. Then, out of the blue I got a call from someone at Apple, who had seen my resume and wondered if I was going to come see them when they were on campus the next week interviewing in the business school.
For some reason, Apple was interviewing in the business school on campus. None of the engineers would know this, since we interviewed out of a different place, so when Apple came I was one of the only actually software engineers they saw; most were folks who took business computing, which at the time meant COBOL. I pretty much wow-ed the recruiter, who told me flat out that he wanted to hire me.
That, of course, was great news, and I did fly out to Cupertino and interview with a bunch of people in Apple’s Information Systems group ( which did Apple’s business systems, not R&D ), but anything at Apple would be head and shoulders above what I could do in Madison, so I flew back home and waited for the offer letter.
Which didn’t come. The guy I interviewed with wanted to hire me; he’d told me again and again, but Apple is horrible at hiring people. Apple was horrible back then at hiring people, and it’s still horrible. My boss-to-be was fighting to get permission to hire; the company was going in and out of a hiring freeze ( none of which I really knew from far away ), and I was delaying as much as I could telling Microsoft whether I wanted their job.
More next time, I guess. This is already too long, and I should ge in bed.