As an ex-Apple person who was there for a long time, a common question I get is “Would you ever go back?”
And that’s a complicated answer. My normal answer is “If the right situation came up, yes”.
Well, Don Melton and Nitin Ganatra, also veterans of the Apple wars, sat down on the Debug Podcast, opened up bottles of wine, and out poured an episode that talks about what life was like working in the Shadow of Steve on stuff you can’t tell your family about. It’s a fascinating and very accurate look at life being the six color curtains.
It is the best, if not the shortest, answer to why I left Apple.
It is the best, if not the shortest, answer to why I would return to Apple.
I will note however that Apple has never asked me to return, and I’ve rarely gone rattling cages to see if there was anything interesting enough to make me want to try. I think I’ve investigated four positions since I left, and in all four cases, the positions I found interesting enough to call people and make back channel connections with had internal candidates identified from the start.
That for some reason didn’t surprise me, either.
They’re both great guys who came out of Apple with good attitudes about it and fully understand the culture in all its glory, positive and negative. Far too often stories about Apple get written either by people guessing what it’s like, or because some ex-Apple person with an axe to grind talks and wants to accentuate the negative. Reality isn’t that simple, and while Apple is far from perfect, it’s not so different from other high tech companies on the inside, either. If you’re at all curious about life inside the Apple culture, you want to listen to this.