I spent 6 years working at Apple. Those were the best years of my career.
When the .com bubble burst in late 2000, early 2001, Apple was one of the harbingers of the ensuing stock crash. In one or two days Apple’s stock went from $78 a share to less than $20 a share. I believe it was in November. Apple called a meeting of employees. As everyone gathered in Cafe Macs, security personnel started moving through the crowd asking to see badges. Anyone who was not a full time employee of Apple was asked to leave and escorted out. The doors were locked, the shades were pulled.
Finally, Steve came into the cafeteria. He stepped up onto one of the low walls and began to address the crowd. Steve talked about what the senior execs believed was coming. Hard times in the tech industry. Then, he laid out the plan for how Apple would deal with it. No one will get any raises. No one will get any bonuses. And there will be no stock options. And there will also be no lay offs. Focus on your work and let us worry about the business. Do that and we will come through this, together.
Apple laid off a few people that year but nowhere near what the other tech companies were laying off. For the next two years everyone I knew in the tech industry was either looking for a job or worried about losing their job. I wasn’t. There were no raises for about two years but there were no lay offs that I knew of either. Apple, under the direction of Steve Jobs, kept us all employed and working on interesting and exciting projects.
Thanks, Steve. It was one hell of a ride.