On March 1, 2010, I was extended an offer for an internship position on the Podcast Producer team at Apple.
The offer came during a relatively stormy period in my life (see "Graduation" in Hard Work), and is, without exception, the event that is most responsible for defining the shape of my world for years to come. The entire process happened in less than 24 hours, in a whirlwind of emails and phone screens, and set me on a course to the company of my dreams.
Three months after that, I first walked through the front doors of 1 Infinite Loop, simultaneously full of excitement and trepidation, but more than anything, eager to contribute something great to the landscape of amazing products that touch people's lives for which Apple is so well-known.
Five years later, the trepidation is gone, but the excitement lives on.
Five years later, I am a different person from when I first walked through those heavily-guarded doors. I entered with passion but no discipline, wearing a t-shirt and flip flops and preparing to blow the minds of my new coworkers. Today, I go to work in a Banana Republic non-iron (and occasionally a sport coat) and prepare to have my mind blown by my unimaginably brilliant colleagues. I've learned how schedules work. I've learned what true hard work feels like. And I've learned that no one debates like an Apple Engineer with a passionately-held belief.
Five years later, the face of Apple has changed. My first CEO is no longer with us, and in his place stands a confident, fearless, and brilliant man who understands to the core every value that makes Apple great. I have worked for three managers on four teams across seven products. As a company, we have introduced new products and entered new categories. We continue to push the boundaries of what it means to be green, and we don't pull punches when it comes to standing up for the rights of our fellow human beings. We have become a more open company, one which does not shy away from controversy in the face of what's right, and one which is quickly establishing itself as living proof that a company can have both values and a healthy bottom line.
Five years later, the values that guide Apple remain steadfastly the same. We still sit at the intersection of technology and liberal arts. We value our customers (silly thought, right?). In fact we don't just value them, we care about them; we put ourselves in their shoes. We think form is just as important as function, and that to compromise on either is to accept defeat. We believe in surprise and delight. We believe in simplicity, not for its own sake, but as our most powerful weapon against those tasks most daunting. We believe in empowering our customers to change the world for the better, and in doing so, strive to play a part in doing the same.
Five years later, I still wake up with a smile because I get to go to work at my dream job. Every day I am more impressed by the amazing people I work with, and every day I am more proud of the company I work for, a company that defends its ethics as fiercely as it pursues its knack for building great products.
Call it what you will. Drinking the Kool-Aid. Mixing the Kool-Aid. But I love my company, I love my coworkers, and I love my job.
So here's to another five years. Now let's get ready for WWDC.