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The Original Macintosh
Anecdotes about the development of Apple's original Macintosh, and the people who made it (66 stories)
“Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.” -- Thomas Edison

  
Steve Jobs:  (66)
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We visit my alma mater to try to sell them Macs
January 1983
Andy Hertzfeld
Marketing,Education,Personality
6
 (4.31)


Apple always had a natural affinity for education, and, almost from its inception, the Apple II became very successful in the K-12 education market. In the late 1970's, Steve Jobs initiated a marketing program called "Kids Can't Wait" and personally paced the halls of Congress in Washington for three weeks, lobbying for legislation granting tax breaks for donating computers to schools. Even though the national legislation got stymied by politics (it was blocked by Bob Dole), California eventually passed a similar bill and Apple soon donated almost 9,000 computers, one to every school in California.

In early 1982, Joanna Hoffman was still the only marketing person on the Mac team, and she was thinking about which market segments were likely to be early adopters of the Macintosh. She realized that the Mac was almost perfect for college students, and thought it would be worthwhile to put together a plan for selling Macs to higher education.

A few months later, after conferring with a number of consultants who understood the college market, a plan began to emerge. One of the words that the consultants reiterated was "consortium"; it seemed like colleges loved to band together into various consortiums. We knew that the paucity of software at launch would be a barrier to initial acceptance, but maybe not if we could get the colleges to form a Macintosh consortium, where members received steeply discounted Macs for students and faculty. All we had to do is sign up a few of the most prestigious schools, and many of the rest would follow.

Mike Murray (who was now the permanent interim Macintosh marketing manager) and Joanna realized that they needed a superb salesperson to take charge of recruiting customers for our consortium-to-be. The best salesperson that Joanna knew on the Lisa team was Dan'l Lewin, a handsome, personable, ivy educated ex-competitive swimmer who was frustrated with his current job of selling the Lisa to corporations. Dan'l was intrigued, and, after some negotiation, was soon barnstorming around the country visiting the leading universities, with Mike Boich in tow to run the demo and answer technical questions, trying to convince universities to sign up with Apple and buy discounted Macs by the thousands.

Some of the universities, like Drexel University in Philadelphia, were easy sells, since they were already thinking about buying a computer for each freshman, and the Macintosh consortium was the answer to their prayers. But others weren't that enthusiastic, and required lots of hand-holding to coax them into the fold. But slowly Dan'l was able to build up a fairly impressive roster.

Toward the end of January 1983, I was asked to accompany Dan'l and Mike on one of the more unusual sales calls, to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, because Brown was my alma mater. I hadn't been back there since I graduated in 1975. Brown had a strong computer science program, especially in computer graphics, and was considered to be rather influential with the other universities. They had recently splurged, buying dozens of powerful Apollo workstations, costing tens of thousands of dollars apiece, so we were afraid they'd think the Mac was underpowered. It was thought to be so important that even Steve Jobs agreed to come along as part of the Apple contingent.

The most influential decision maker on the Brown faculty was a computer science professor named Andy van Dam. I was one his teaching assistants during my senior year, so I got to know him pretty well. He was high strung and hard driving, and a little bit like Steve in his tendency to think that the universe revolved around him. I thought that it would be interesting to see how they interacted.

Introductions were exchanged, and we were taken for a tour of the Brown Computing Lab, where they proudly showed off their brand new Apollo workstations. Then we were ushered into a conference room, where Dan'l talked about the consortium while we set up the Mac. We put it through its paces for the benefit of a half dozen faculty members and grad students, with Steve doing most of the talking, eliciting oohs and ahhs in all the right places. Finally, the demo was over and Steve asked them what they thought.

Andy van Dam cleared his throat and looked right at Steve. "Well, its really impressive, Steve, and of course we'll want to join your program. But it's not exactly what we've been waiting for."

Steve looked a little angry. "What are you waiting for? You're going to have to wait a long time to find something better than the Mac!"

"Well, 128K isn't nearly enough memory to do what we want, not even close, and the screen is just too small. We're waiting for a 3M machine, and most of the other colleges are, too."

"A what?"

"A 3M machine. There was a recently published paper that coined the term. You know, a workstation with at least a megabyte of memory, a million pixel display, and a megaflop of computational horsepower. We believe that's what we need for an effective educational workstation."

A megaflop was the ability to execute one million floating point operations per second. The Mac didn't have any floating point hardware, so it was off by an order of magnitude. In fact, we were off by around a factor of 10 in each of the three dimensions.

"Oh, we believe in that, too," Steve shot back, without skipping a beat. "Apple will have an affordable 3M machine before anyone else. I only have one question. What's a megaflop?"
The evolution of the Finder
January 1983
Bruce Horn
Software Design
11
 (4.58)


One of the first things I did when I joined the Mac group was to begin working on the Finder. The first Finder, written in early 1982 with Andy's help, was a simple diskette image with tabs that represented the files on the disk. (see Early Demos). This Finder was the first to begin to take advantage of the idea of spatial organization: you could drag the tabs around and place them wherever you wanted on the floppy image. Also, my experience with Smalltalk showed through: the big "Do It" button was named after the Do It menu item in Smalltalk, which evaluated a selected expression. This Finder was actually usable, and served as a placeholder until the real Finder was available.

Immediately after the first Finder prototype, I wrote a second which was much more recognizable as the ancestor to the Finder that shipped. This prototype was a nonfunctional prototype that did not actually read the disk, but instead, read a text file that described a hierarchy of files within folders that would be displayed in windows. Our filesystem at the time did not have the concept of directories, so I had to fake it with the proof-of-concept prototype. This was the first Finder that provided double-clicking to open folders, documents, and applications; drag-and-drop to move files between folders; icon and list views; and persistent spatial locations of icons within windows. Of course, it was all window-dressing and none of it was functional, but it did give a good idea of what we would eventually want to implement. Unfortunately, it also made it look like the actual Finder implementation would be easy, which it most definitely was not.

Bill Atkinson came by and I gave him a demo. He had been thinking about the Lisa Filer, which was being written by Dan Smith and Frank Ludolph, and was dissatisfied with its design. When he saw in our Finder mockup some of the ideas that he had also seen in a MIT project called Dataland, he was convinced, and the IF (Icon Filer) project was born (see Rosing's Rascals). Bill, Dan and Frank put together a new Filer based on these concepts in time to ship with the first Lisa in 1983. In the meantime, I was working on the Resource Manager until later that year.

But I still couldn't get started on the Finder until I figured out how to handle files and applications. We were trying to make the Macintosh a very friendly computer, an information appliance, something that everyone could use. For example, one of the things that I felt could stand improvement in the current computing experience was the problem of filenames. In the Finder, I wanted to make it as easy as possible to give meaningful names to files without excessive restrictions placed on them.

At the time (and still, in some cases, now) filenames were very restricted, both in length and in format. Filenames had to have a three character suffix, with a dot, to denote their file types: text files were named "myfile.txt" and executable applications were named "word.exe". Filenames were also typically limited to eight characters, not including the suffix; this led to very cryptic naming on other computers, which we definitely wanted to avoid.

We decided that we needed to allow users to name their files whatever they wanted, with any characters, including spaces. Because the Finder would allow the user to simply click on a particular file to choose it, special characters like spaces would be no problem; in command-line systems, parsing filenames with special characters could be problematic.

The Grand Unified Model provided a framework for solving this problem too. Since resource objects were typed, indicating their internal data format, and had ID's or names, it seemed that files should be able to be typed in the same way. There should be no difference between the formats of an independent TEXT file, stored as a standalone file, and a TEXT resource, stored with other objects in a resource file. So I decided we should give files the same four-byte type as resources, known as the type code. Of course, the user should not have to know anything about the file's type; that was the computer's job. So Larry Kenyon made space in the directory entry for each file for the type code, and the Mac would maintain the name as a completely independent piece of information.

Simply storing the file type in the directory was not enough, however. There might be many different applications that could open files of a given type (say, a text file); how would the Mac know that a text file called "My Resume" needed to be opened in MacWrite, and another text file called "Marketing Plan" needed to be opened in WriteNow? Just knowing the file's type wasn't enough; the Finder also had to know which program created the file, and thus would be the best choice to open it. Thus another four-byte "creator code" would also be maintained, which would tell the Finder which program needed to be launched to open a particular document. For convenience, the user could also easily override this default, by dragging the document to whichever application he would like.

Finally, we also wanted to have useful and meaningful icons for programs and documents on the Mac. Using the type and creator mechanism, this was easy; we would just associate a specific icon for each file type that is handled by a particular application. Given a (type, creator) pair, it would be easy to look up the appropriate icon to draw for the file.

But where would these icons come from, and where would they be stored? It seemed clear that each program would be responsible for defining icons for the application and its documents, and that this information should be stored in the application itself; but if we simply opened the application's file each time we needed to draw an icon, the Finder would be terribly slow. I decided that the Finder needed to cache these icons and associations in a resource file. This was the Desktop Database.

The Desktop Database

Programmers reading Macintosh technotes on the Resource Manager would run across the statement that "The Resource Manager Is Not A Database!" This is ironic, because one of the very first uses of the Resource Manager was in fact for a database: the Desktop Database, which stored and maintained information relating to applications, documents, and their respective icons.

Applications would include a set of resources with known ID's in their resource map; this group of resources would collectively be called the application's Bundle, and it would have the type BNDL. In the bundle were special FREF resources (file references) that would map a document or application type to an icon ID.

When the Finder would encounter an application on a disk, it would look into the Desktop Database to detemine whether it had already seen this application and copied its bundle. If not, it would copy the bundle and associated icon and FREF resources, and reassign the ID's of the icons so that they would be unique within the database. The FREF resource provided an indirect ID mapping to make this possible. In this way, all bundles could be readdressed within the database and there would be no conflict between the different resources pulled in from a variety of applications.

Drawing the image of a particular document was then a simple matter of looking up the appropriate icon by type and creator in the Desktop Database, and loading the resource. On the 400K disk, this worked very well--the Resource Manager was up to the task, and it wouldn't show its limitations for several years--an eternity in the software world.

The Final Push

By late 1982, the Lisa Filer was nearly finished. At 360K, it was a significant application--much too large for us to use, and it wasn't based on the Grand Unified Model of types, creators, and resources. Although Bill offered us the code to the Filer, we always knew that we'd be writing our Finder from scratch.

The Mac was to ship in January, 1984, our final drop dead date. In late 1983 it became clear that I needed help to finish it in time, and Steve Capps was recruited to work with me on the Finder (see Steve Capps Day). Also by this time, reporters, writers, and associated VIPs were being escorted through the Mac Group to see our new machine, and to talk with Andy, Steve Jobs, and some of the other folks on the team. Capps and I had too much work to do to be distracted by the reporters, so we moved to a separate office in a different building.

Writing the Finder was not easy. Because of the tight memory requirements, most of the code was 68K assembly, like the ROM Toolbox. Capps took on some of the more difficult tasks, including file copying (see Disk Swapper's Elbow). We worked late into the night, listening to Violent Femmes and Capps' other punk rock recordings. The clock was ticking.

Capps and I ended up finishing version 1.0 of the Finder in time for the Mac to be introduced on January 24 (see Real Artists Ship). It weighed in at 46K bytes, approximately 1/8th the size of the Lisa Filer. The small size of the Finder made it possible to have the entire System and Finder, plus an application, plus a few documents, on a single 400K floppy...just barely. We were overjoyed, but exhausted. The Grand Unified Model --resources, types and creators, the Desktop Database, and the Finder-- was finally done.
Why the Mac design team got credit for their work
January 1983
Andy Hertzfeld
Marketing,The Launch,The Press,Retreats
4
 (4.37)


The Macintosh team held a series of off-site retreats, every six months or so starting in January 1982. A retreat usually lasted two full days, including an overnight stay. We'd travel by bus to a naturally beautiful resort an hour or two from Apple's offices in Cupertino, like Pajaro Dunes near Monterey Bay. Every employee on the team was invited, as well as folks from other parts of the company who were contributing to the project. The retreats were a mixture of a divisional communications meeting, an inspirational pep talk and a company party, featuring chats with industry legends like Robert Noyce (inventor of the integrated circuit) or Ben Rosen (the VC who funded Compaq and Lotus), and entertainment from Wyndham Hill artists like Liz Story.

The third retreat was scheduled for January 27th and 28th, 1983 at the La Playa Hotel in Carmel, and it came at a pivotal time for the project. The Lisa was just introduced the previous week, after four years of development, on January 19th (although it wouldn't actually ship for another five months), and it was becoming increasingly clear that it was time for the Mac team to shift gears, buckle down and change our focus to doing whatever it took to finish up and ship.

After the two hour bus ride from Cupertino, we gathered in a large meeting room to hear Steve Jobs' opening remarks, which set the agenda for the retreat. Steve was fond of summarizing the themes of the day into a few succinct aphorisms, which he called "Quotations from Chairman Jobs". The sayings from the previous retreat, held in September 1982, were "It's Not Done Until It Ships", "Don't Compromise!" and "The Journey Is The Reward". This time, they were "Real Artists Ship", "It's Better To Be A Pirate Than Join The Navy", and "Mac in a Book by 1986" (see Pirate Flag).

Even though he was technically a member of the Lisa team, Bill Atkinson attended the Macintosh retreats. Actually, now that the Lisa was finally completed, he planned to shift to working full-time on the Mac, to create a killer graphics application to be bundled with every machine (see MacPaint Evolution). He was going to start working on it soon, and we were all excited to see what he would come up with.

The first day of the retreat was focused on engineering, and it went by quickly, as each member of the engineering team gave a short talk about their recent and upcoming work in the form of panel discussions, moderated by engineering manager Bob Belleville. At 4PM, the formal part of the meeting ended for the day, and we had a couple of hours of free time to enjoy before dinner. I was about to join a group going for a walk on the nearby beach when I was pulled aside by Bill Atkinson. It was obvious that something was bothering him.

"Do you have a minute?", Bill asked me urgently, looking kind of somber. "I want to show you something privately." We picked one of the small conference rooms, went inside and closed the door.

Bill was carrying three magazines, which he laid out in front of me on the table. Two of them were very recent issues of personal computer magazines, like Byte and Popular Computing, while the third was more business oriented. They all contained articles about the recently introduced Lisa. He opened one of them and showed me an article, with a sidebar entitled "An Interview with Lisa's Designers".

"Hey, that's cool," I told Bill, "You made it into Byte!"

"Look closer", Bill told me, with a pained expression on his face.

I started to browse the article, and noticed that it interviewed engineering manager Wayne Rosing, software manager Bruce Daniels, and applications group manager Larry Tesler. I finally saw why Bill looked so upset - he wasn't included as one of Lisa's designers, which was absurd, since he did more of the design than everyone else combined.

All three magazine articles featured quotes from Wayne, Bruce and Larry, as well as Steve Jobs and John Couch, the top Lisa executive, but apparently, no one thought to include Bill, even though he designed and implemented the most important parts of Lisa almost singlehandedly, possibly because he wasn't a manager. He was very disheartened, especially because something like this had happened to him once before.

Bill told me that he was haunted by a similar incident that occurred six or seven years earlier. He did some groundbreaking work to create a detailed 3D animation of the human brain. He scanned a series of brain slices, and then wrote software to reconstitute them in an animated sequence, rendering them frame by frame to produce a spectacular movie that depicted important brain structures in stunning detail. The movie won various awards, and a frame from it graced the cover of the October 1978 issue of Scientific American, but one of the professors that he was working for stole most of the credit, acknowledging Bill as only a minor collaborator in the published papers. Now it seemed to be happening all over again.

I tried to cheer him up, telling him that the press was usually wrong about everything anyway, and that everyone at Apple understood his leading role in both the Lisa and Macintosh projects, and that there would be plenty of opportunities to talk with the press in the future. He told me that he was so upset that he was thinking about quitting, unless Apple rectified the situation somehow. We both knew that he needed to talk with Steve Jobs about it, but he was nervous about bringing it up with Steve. I told him that I thought he was completely justified, and that Apple ought to try to make it up to him.

A few hours later, after dinner, Bill told me that he arranged to meet with Steve in private early the next morning, before the day's meetings commenced, but he surprised me by asking me to accompany him. I told him that it wasn't my business, and that I felt that it was inappropriate for me to attend, but Bill insisted, telling me that he needed my support, if only to have someone else present to help ground Steve's infamous reality distortion field (see Reality Distortion Field). Even though I knew it would be awkward, I told him I would do it.

We both were nervous as Bill knocked on the door of the small office that Steve was using, in the back of the large meeting room where breakfast was being served to the team, at the appointed time. Steve opened the door, but he looked angry when he noticed that I was present.

"What is he doing here?", he asked Bill, before turning to face me. "Go away. This isn't any of your business!"

"No, I need to have Andy here," Bill intervened. "He didn't want to come, but I asked him to be here to support me."

Steve shrugged, and decided to continue as if I wasn't there. "OK, let's hear it, and you need to be quick, because we have to start the meeting soon. What's the big problem?"

Bill explained how upset he was that he didn't get any recognition for his work on Lisa, his voice hesitant at first, but picking up conviction as he started to get emotional. He told Steve that he was thinking about leaving Apple, because he was treated so unfairly.

Even though Steve had enormous respect for Bill, he began to get annoyed, although you could tell that he was trying not to.

"Hey, listen, I'm sorry, but you're overreacting and blowing things out of proportion," Steve replied in a dismissive tone. "Who cares about a couple of magazines? You should have been included, but you weren't. Someone made a mistake. It's not such a big deal."

"That's easy for you to say," Bill retorted, upset at the lack of sympathy. He raised his voice, which was full of emotion. "I'm not going to work here anymore if you don't appreciate what I've done and treat me fairly."

Steve took a step toward the door. He seemed impatient. "I don't have time to deal with this now. We'll straighten it out when we get back. I have 60 other people out there who are pouring their hearts into the Macintosh, and they're waiting for me to start the meeting." He opened the door and left the room without saying another word.

Bill and I remained in the small office, unable to speak, emotionally exhausted from the intense encounter. After a few minutes, we heard a loud cheer, as Steve made a number of announcements to kick off the second day of the retreat. Bill sighed, and we left the office to attend the rest of the meeting.

The following week, Steve arranged for Bill to meet with Apple's HR team, to discuss what was bothering him. Bill reiterated that his main complaint was getting recognition for his work. After more discussions with Steve, they came up with something that was mutually acceptable to everyone.

The solution was to appoint Bill as an Apple Fellow, in recognition for his work on the Lisa. Apple Fellow was the most prestigious technical position at Apple, awarded to only two employees so far: Steve Wozniak and Rod Holt. Now there would be two more, Bill Atkinson and Rich Page, who also made seminal contributions to Lisa. A fringe benefit of being appointed an Apple Fellow was a fresh pile of stock options, which could be quite valuable if Apple's stock price continued to rise.

But most importantly of all, Steve promised Bill that he would receive public recognition for his work on Macintosh. Mac programs had an "About Box", a descriptive dialog box invoked by the first command in the leftmost menu, which would display the author's name. Furthermore, Bill could display his name in the title bar of the main window each time his graphics application was launched. Finally, Steve promised that the Macintosh introduction would acknowledge the folks who actually created the design, rather than the managers who supervised them.

Steve was true to his word, and the seven people that he designated as the "design team" were featured in various ways during the Macintosh launch. Chiat-Day even filmed us for a series of television commercials, which never aired because they were deemed too self-congratulatory. It was fun to get our pictures in the national press (see Can We Keep The Skies Safe?), but it was also problematic, because there wasn't a fair way to draw the line. At least a dozen individuals made crucial contributions to the design, so there were some hard feelings from the people who didn't make the cut.

In fact, Steve eventually decided that giving recognition to the designers was a bad idea. Nowadays, Apple has abolished programmer names in the "About Box", and closely guards the names of their designers, allowing only a select few employees to interact with the press at all.
My belated performance review is delivered verbally
February 1983
Andy Hertzfeld
Management,Personality Clashes
3
 (4.61)


Apple's HR policy dictated that each employee was supposed to receive a performance review from their manager every six months, which helped to determine your salary increase or possibly an award of additional stock options. But as the end of 1982 approached, I hadn't received my review for more than eight months.

This wasn't very surprising, since Bob Belleville, who was my boss and our software manager, was not getting along very well with the software team. He thought that some of us were intrinsically unmanageable, and that we didn't sufficiently respect him. Bob had replaced Rod Holt as the overall engineering manager in August, responsible for both hardware and software, and had just hired a new software manager, Jerome Coonen, who was slated to begin in January, which would allow him to further distance himself from the software team. But he still had to deal with us directly one last time to write our reviews for 1982.

By the end of January, everyone on the team had received their review except for me. Others mentioned that Bob had acted somewhat strangely during their reviews, making cryptic remarks that they didn't understand, so I wasn't particularly looking forward to mine. I occasionally had to interact with Bob, but he was reticent around me, not saying much, seemingly hiding behind his enigmatic, tight-lipped smile. Finally, after another couple of weeks, Bob's secretary called me to arrange an appointment, presumably for my belated review.

The meeting was scheduled for 5pm, toward the end of the day on a Thursday afternoon in mid-February. Bob was waiting for me when I entered his corner cubicle. I asked him what was up. He said that he didn't want to get into it in the office, and suggested that we discuss it on a walk around the block. That was fine with me, but now I was even more apprehensive - generally, walks around the block were reserved for firing or demoting someone, or to talk someone into staying after they had quit.

Bob waited until we were a full block away from Bandley 4 before starting to speak.

"Well, Andy, you're not going to like hearing this, but you're a big problem on the software team and I'm giving you a negative review for the last six months of 1982."

I knew that Bob disliked me, but I was nevertheless shocked. I was working my heart out for the last two years, devoting my life to the Macintosh, seven days per week, holding the project together after Bud returned to medical school. I was really doing two full-time jobs, writing the Mac Toolbox in assembly language by night and helping everybody else by doing whatever was necessary each day.

"How can you say that?", I responded, horrified. "I accomplished everything that I was supposed to, and a lot more besides". All my previous reviews from Apple were extremely positive, including the last one from Bob, so this was new to me.

Bob unfurled his mirthless grin. "Oh, don't get me wrong, I think your technical work was perfectly adequate during the review period, and I don't have a single criticism of it. That's not your problem area. I don't have a single complaint with your technical work." He paused for a moment, to take a deep breath, and then continued.

"The problem is with your attitude, and your relationship with management. You are consistently insubordinate, and you don't have any respect for lines of authority. I think you are undermining everybody else on the software team. You are too big for your britches."

At this point, as he probably expected, I broke down into tears. The Macintosh was at the center of my life, and it was suddenly clear that I was going to have to quit. I couldn't work for somebody who was saying this, no matter how much the project mattered to me.

Perhaps Bob was a little taken aback by my tears, so he tried to soften things. "Listen, this could be a very expensive conversation. It could turn out to be either very good or very bad for both of us. I'm trying to get you to see how if you listen to me, things could turn out very good for both of us."

I had no idea what he was talking about, or how a bad review could possibly be good for me. "What do you mean, undermining the team?", I managed to choke out, "I'm always trying to help everybody else on the team. Give me one example of someone that I've undermined."

"Larry Kenyon", Bob replied. "You're stifling Larry Kenyon. Now he is someone with a good attitude, and you're keeping him from realizing his potential."

I always thought that I had gotten along great with Larry. I recruited him to the Mac team, after working with him on Apple II peripheral cards in 1980, and then handed off the low-level OS stuff to him while I worked on the Toolbox. I thought Larry was a terrific programmer and a great all around person, and treated him with the highest respect, and always enjoyed it when we worked together. I think I knew what Bob was getting at, though, as I had reacted poorly a few months ago when Bob appointed Larry as temporary manager when he had to be gone on a short trip, probably just to irk me.

By this point, I was crying harder, and Bob looked like he might start crying at any moment now, too. We were also pretty far from Bandley 4 by now, and it was starting to get dark. The tone of the conversation seemed to shift as we both realized that we should start heading back.

"This doesn't have to be that bad", Bob said as we turned around. "All you have to do is listen to me and things will work out fine."

"What do you mean?", I asked him.

"You need to show more respect to authority. It's not just me. Jerome is still new, and I'm afraid that you won't let him do his job. He's your boss now, and you need to show him respect, and let him do his job . But that's not the main problem. What you really have to do is stop talking to Steve Jobs." Bob paused and flinched slightly, as if just mentioning Steve was difficult for him.

"Whenever there's something that you don't like, even little things, you go running straight to Steve, and he interferes. I don't have any authority with the software team, because they always hear everything from Steve before I do, and he always hears everything about the software straight from you. It's making it so I can't do my job. You should communicate through the proper channels. I can't tell Steve what to do, but you work for me, so I can tell you."

I did respect Jerome, and I was trying to make an extra effort to support him as our manager, because I knew that we really needed him. Jerome was a very smart guy, and a passionate genius when it came to numerical software - I loved to hear him elucidate the intricacies of his beloved floating point routines. But I did consider him to be more of a partner than a boss, just like I did everyone else on the team, but I didn't think that he had a problem with that. But apparently Bob did.

But the Steve issue was different. From the earliest days of the project, Steve would usually show up at the Mac building in the late afternoon, or sometimes after dinner, and ask us about the happenings of the day. We would demo the latest stuff to him, or he'd complain about something, or sometimes we'd just exchange the latest gossip. After Bud went back to medical school, Burrell and I were the only ones who would regularly stay late, but after a while, more of the team began to hang out with us. It wasn't unusual for six or eight of us to go out for a late dinner, and then come back and keep working. By early 1983, most of the software team was staying late, and even some marketing and finance people would join us, but Bob Belleville never did, since he had to get home to his wife and two young daughters.

"I can't stop Steve from coming around", I told Bob. "If you don't want me to talk with Steve, you're going to have to tell him about it. I like Jerome, and I have no problem working with him, but now it looks like I have a problem working with you. If you think that I'm undermining the team, I'm out of here tomorrow."

Bob looked at me intently. "I don't have the power to fire you", he said. "You're going to give me power that I don't have if you quit. Do you really want to do that?"

By now, it was completely dark as we were approaching the Apple parking lot. We stopped in front of Bob's car.

"This could be a really expensive conversation for both of us", Bob muttered cryptically. "It's entirely up to you." With that, he got into his car and drove off, and I wandered back into Bandley 4, feeling stunned and drained. I got back to my cubicle, put my head down on the desk, and started crying again.

It was around 6:30pm now, and most of the software team was still around. Capps saw that I was upset, and asked me what was wrong. He began to get angry when I told him and a few others what happened, and he made me promise not to overreact until he had a chance to find out what was going on.

Larry Kenyon was still in his cubicle, so I went over and told him what Bob had said. I asked him to be honest, and to tell me if he thought I was stifling him in any way.

"You've got to be kidding!", Larry exclaimed. "I think it's really great working with you, that's the reason I'm on this team. I think it's an honor to work with you." With that, I burst into tears again, touched by Larry's support.

I was exhausted and confused, so I went home to get some sleep and to think about what I should do next. When I came in earlier than usual the next morning, there was a message on my desk to call Pat Sharp, Steve's secretary. She told me to come by his office right away because he wanted to talk with me as soon as possible.

"I can't believe Bob gave you that review", Steve started talking even before I stepped into his office. "He showed it to me a week ago, but I refused to approve it, and I told him to write something more positive. Do you have a copy of it?"

I told Steve that he didn't give me a copy, he just delivered it verbally. I told him that I couldn't work for someone who feels that way about me, and that I had no alternative but to quit.

"It's good that you don't have a copy, because that review is rescinded, it doesn't officially exist. I just got done talking with Bob, and after I chewed him out, he also quit, because he said that he can't manage the software team. And Capps came in here and told me that the rest of the software team is so upset that they're thinking about quitting, too. What a mess! You and Bob don't have to love each other to work together. We're going to sit down this afternoon and talk this thing out until it's resolved."

So, at 4pm on Friday afternoon, as soon as Steve was available, the entire software team, plus Burrell, filed into one of the conference rooms. We all sat in a semi-circle of chairs on the right side of the room, waiting apprehensively. Finally, Steve strode in, with his characteristic bouncy stride, trailed by a despondent looking Bob Belleville, who took a seat on the left side of the room, facing the software team.

Steve started talking first, saying that tensions had been building up for a while, and it was time to clear the air, so we could all pull together down the home stretch. All the while, Bob was staring at the floor, unwilling to make eye contact with anyone else, controlling his emotions behind a tight-lipped expression, halfway between grin and grimace.

"OK, who's going to go first? What's the problem, and how do we fix it?", Steve asked.

Capps spoke up, explaining how painful and unmotivating it was to see me broken up about an obviously unjustified review. He wanted to know how things could have gotten so screwed up.

Steve nodded to Bob, encouraging him to speak up. Bob spoke in a monotone. "I didn't give Andy a bad review. I told him that his work was fine."

I was flabbergasted. "You said I was undermining the team, and stifling Larry," I blurted out. "I can't work for you if you think I'm undermining the team."

Bob looked up, looking me in the eye for the first time. He spoke in a mild, low emotionless monotone. "I didn't say any of those things. Why are you claiming that I said that?"

I was shocked. Bob was denying what he told me the day before, and I know that I didn't imagine it. Furthermore, he really seemed to genuinely believe what he was saying, and he looked to be in a kind of trance, both depressed and confused. If he didn't acknowledge what he said to me, there was no way to resolve it. I didn't know how to proceed, so I backed off my accusations.

A few more people spoke up, addressing other grievances, but Bob's trance-like manner persisted and eventually the meeting broke up, without anyone being satisfied. Steve tried to declare victory at the end, but no one was buying it.

I thought about things over the weekend, and realized that I cared too much about the Macintosh to quit before it was finished, managerial adversity notwithstanding. The situation that I feared when Bud left had actually occured, in spades, and I wasn't confident that Steve would live up to his promise to protect me. I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I knew that my blissful days at Apple were over, and that things were going to be different from now on.
Having your own icon became a status symbol
February 1983
Andy Hertzfeld
MacPaint,Personality
5
 (4.35)


In February 1983, I worked on putting together an icon editor for Susan Kare to use to create icons for the Finder. Inspired by the "Fat Bits" pixel editing mode that Bill Atkinson had recently added to MacPaint, it had a large window with a 32 by 32 grid, displaying each pixel at eight times its natural size, as well as a small window that showed the icon at its actual size. Clicking on a pixel would invert it, and subsequent dragging would propagate the change to the dragged over pixels.

Susan started working on icons for the Finder, but she also would draw lots of other images as well, for practice or just for fun, usually reflecting her whimsical sense of humor. One day, I came over to her cubicle to see what she was working on, and I was surprised to see her laboring over a tiny icon portrait of Steve Jobs.

Icons were only 32 by 32 black or white pixels, 1024 dots in total, and I didn't think it was possible to do a very good portrait in that tiny a space, but somehow Susan had succeeded in crafting an instantly recognizable likeness with a mischevious grin that captured a lot of Steve's personality. Everyone she showed it to liked it, even Steve himself.

Bill Atkinson was so impressed with the Steve icon that he asked Susan to do one of him, that he could use in the MacPaint about box. He sat in Susan's cubicle for an hour or so, chatting with her while she crafted his icon. I don't think it turned out quite as good as the Steve icon, but it certainly was an unmistakable likeness, and did become part of MacPaint.

At that point, It became a Mac team status symbol to be iconified by Susan. As soon as he saw Bill's icon, Burrell Smith started begging Susan for a Burrell icon, even though he had no specific use for it. He lobbied Susan for a few days, making his standard offer of best friendship (see I'll Be Your Best Friend), before she gave in and had him pose for his icon. Unfortunately, I can't find a copy of the Burrell icon to display here.

Susan did a few more portraits, for various members of the team who desired to be immortalized in a thousand dots. She'd usually work on them in the late afternoon, chatting with the subjects as they posed, while other team members listened in. I got to know a few of my teammates a lot better from these sessions.
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