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The Original Macintosh:    31 of 95 
Software Wizard
Author: Andy Hertzfeld
Date: March 1982
Characters: Andy Hertzfeld, Burrell Smith, Steve Jobs
Topics: Personality, Apple Spirit
Summary: The Mac group gets business cards

By the spring of 1982, the Macintosh project was considered more legitimate within Apple. It was beginning to transition from a research effort into a mainstream project. We had to get more organized as the team grew.



Initially, we didn't have formal titles in the Mac group, but we needed to figure out what they were in order to get business cards made. My title with the Apple II group was "Senior Member of Technical Staff", which sounded dull to me. I told Peggy Alexio, Rod Holt's secretary, who was ordering the business cards, that I didn't want any, because I didn't like my title.

The next day Steve came by and told me that he heard that I didn't want business cards, but he wanted me to have them, and he didn't care what title I used; I could pick any title that I liked. After a little bit of thought, I decided on "Software Wizard", because you couldn't tell where that fit in the corporate hierarchy, and it seemed a suitable metaphor to reflect the practical magic of software innovation.

When I told Burrell about my new title, he immediately claimed "Hardware Wizard" for himself, even though I discouraged him, since it diminished the uniqueness of my title. And, as soon as word got around, lots of other folks on the Mac team started to change their titles to something more creative. The trend persisted at Apple for many years, and even spread to other companies, but as far as I know, that's how it got started.

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6 Comments     
Gene Pope was always trying to get me to put a better title on my Apple business card. Since I didn't have an engineering degree (my degree is in biology), I resisted anything like "Software Engineer". My original choice, "Programmer", stayed with me my entire time at Apple. Eric Ringewald, co-author of Multifinder, had "Crimson Permanent Assurance Corporation" on his card, a reference from an old Monty Python movie.
My nomination for the weirdest Apple business card title goes to Ed Tecot, whose title was "Not Andy Hertzfeld". I never knew whether to take that as a compliment or a slur.
I was "Boy Guru" and "Exception Handler" and eventually when I worked in a group called "Class", I was "Class Clown". Bill Dawson's card read "I have no pants on". Darin Adler was "Cheese Host".
Back in the day I would occasionally see an interview with Andy and the interviewer would inevitably point out (with not a little awe and trembling) that Apple had anointed Andy their "Software Wizard". Until now I did not know he was self-anointed. Great story.
Amazing experiences to you all. The best is that Andy still has the title "Software Wizard" while now working for Google. Hilarious and forward thinking in my book. I wonder who at Google tried to repress that and lost lol.
My title would certainly be "Code Monkey" as it is now.