Returning to Silly Cone Valley

It is interesting, what happens as we try to do life. It’s been a year and half since I left Apple. I’ve learned a lot. Haven’t been quite as successful as I’d like at the things I’m trying to do. I didn’t think I was ready to give up yet. I thought I was going to go after it a little longer. Some times, things don’t work out the way we think.

I was talking to a friend of mine from my days with the iPod team. He left Apple a few months before I did. He’s changed jobs once more since then. Anyway, we were talking about how things were going, he ups and asks if I be interested in applying for a position that he has open. Huh. My friend works at a Pre-1.0, pre-IPO start-up company that’s about 16 months old. My friend has worked on some cool stuff in the past. Newton, WebTV, iPod. That’s not a shabby resume. Now, I love hand-held, computer driven gadgets. Cell phones, iPods, it’s all the self-discpline I’ve got to not be buying the latest and greatest as soon as it comes out. And I’ve wanted to work on the first version of something for a long time now. So, my decision to go and see what my friend had going on was driven, not by the situation I was in vis a vi my own company but rather by the nature of the product and the company that was making the offer. Mind you, I knew jack about the product when I accepted the interview.

So, on Wednesday at 10:25 am (I was late – commute traffic sucks) I met my friend in an office in down town Mountain View. The company is in such stealth mode, its name does not appear on the directory in the lobby of the building. At 10:26 I was signing an NDA (hence the self-destruct message at the end of this entry). My friend showed me the product.

Huh. Not quite as cool and sexy as I was hoping.
Oh well, let’s what else they got.

I learn a little bit more about the company and discover that I know or at least recognize a number of the names at the top of the org chart. These aren’t rookies, they’ve all been around the block more than once.

Hum. That’s pretty cool.

I meet some of the other people. They seem cool, talented, mature. This isn’t a dot com start-up with 27 starry-eyed, twenty-somethings living in the office, dorm-room style working 20 hours a day to build some dream.

Then it starts getting interesting. One of the senior officers of the company is pulled out of board meeting to come talk to me. First time I’ve ever interviewed with an officer of the company before. Next the CEO of the company is coming in to talk to me. Well now, this is getting interesting.

Buckle up, Smittie, cuz Johnnie’s just put his foot on the gas.

My friend comes back in and tells me that they’re typing up the offer letter in the next office.

Really? Just like that. Well alrighty then.

The offer is a significant increase over what I was making when I left Apple. Although the job is not in my main area of expertise, it is an area that I’m quite comfortable in. I have no doubt that I’ll be able to make a positive and significant contribution. The crowd that’s working there is pretty impressive. It’s a smart and experienced bunch of people.

I think my friend really would have liked to have had my answer on the offer before I left the office. I made them type up the offer letter and let me take it home. Machiko and I talked about it. We decided it would be good, not only for me but also for Tako.

This is bittersweet. I had hoped that I would be able to continue tripping down the road less travelled. And maybe I should be. Maybe I simply don’t have enough faith. Maybe, in taking the job working for my friend, I will miss the opportunity to see magic happen. I can only look at the circumstances and make my choices. At this point, what might have happened is fiction.

One more week of freedom. Working in the salt mines ain’t that bad.


[posted with ecto]

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