I was 22, grew up in Cupertino, I was a high school dropout, I never used a Mac before in my life, but I taught myself to make websites when I was 13, I said yes to every task and was willing to work my butt off. So, yay, job at Apple.
I worked to help maintain knowledge management at Apple. My role was to process documentation for M68 then prepare it for publication to the web for the AppleCare portal, accessible for every market Apple was in at the time.
My work was pretty much the tail end of the overall creative process. By the time it got to me they’ve already nailed down legal, planning, design, software, hardware, service, and marketing.
But the group I was in was just as important in contributing to the Apple way, said my boss with a plaque signed by Steve on her desk for her 25 years of service. We were AppleCare, after it is sold to the user we are the ones to help you learn to use it and take care of it. We are our own line item in the balance sheet, funded exclusively by extended warranty sales and we broke even, not for a profit motive, and to always be there for the user.
Oh, and by the way, you’re working on this new thing that is certainly not a new Apple thing, despite every diagram and text in the documents explains the functionality of an ipod, phone, and internet communication device. Mmmkay?
So I nodded and kept to my tasks, tasks such as making sure every reference to this new Apple thing was never called the thing that everyone knew it was going to be called. The same treatment went for Cingular. I had to prepare diagrams, write tutorials, check stats, check messages, write little web based tools, and prep for another secret project called M63.
When I showed up for work in January the team I was with sat around in the open area of our floor. Someone rolled in a big fat television set on a media cart like those you would see in elementary school, and we tuned in to the closed circuit feed of the event. Most everyone else were in San Francisco Moscone Center.
As the launch time approached, more joined us, grabbing chairs, and getting a view however they can. My boss was perpetually glued to her 12″ PowerBook, but every now and then she would look up and grin at me with excitement.
Someone next to us had their 17″ PowerBook open and on the Yahoo Stocks page for AAPL. Every five seconds the page meta refreshed, and the price changed by a few cents. Then it was show time and everyone hushed. Steve walked onto stage in Moscone, in front of thousands.
As the presentation went on, the price kept going up. And up. And up. People kept clapping. But not in the joyous type, the cautioned kind, the one of relief, the dramatic kind like in that movie Apollo 13’s command center. For them, they dedicated much more than me. They get to live a normal life now.
After it was all done we all got up and went back to our cubes to go back to work. There’s still much more to do.
At Apple, on launch days there’s a waterfall effect. Marketing has priority, they would shut down access to the servers until they were done pushing their changes. Also, Steve has final say on all consumer facing consumer product marketing. So it could take minutes, or hours, until it’s to Steve’s liking.
I had to wait my turn before I can get a shot at the servers.
To kill time I wandered over to the kitchenette and grabbed a cup of coffee. We didn’t have free drinks now known in the startup world, we didn’t even have snacks. Someone was just kind enough to bring coffee that day.
Back to my cube with the window view of the parking lot, I sat down, saw the latest email in my inbox I was waiting for, and proceeded to do the most important thing I had to do for the day: in all my files I replaced the word M68 with iPhone. Then I clicked Publish.