About two years ago I read Andy Hertzfeld's book, Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made, and I recently riffled through it again. It's a collection of stories about the early days at Apple Computer--in other words, the world before Apple had cool stores and before the company lopped "Computer" off of its official name.
The book started out as a set of posts on www.folklore.org--and in fact you can still read the book online if you want to--but I must admit I find it easier to take a book to bed than a laptop. It's a lot of fun--the book captures the everyday chaos in a fast-growing computer company--and helps explain that not all business success is predicated on well-trained employees following a vetted business plan. Passion, knowledge, serendipity, long hours, and luck all play a part.
Following are some of my favorite stories:
- Shut Up!: The first demo of the Macintosh for Microsoft (July 1981)
- Software Wizard: The Mac group gets business cards (March 1982)
- Do It: User testing sometimes has surprising results (June 1982)
- Inside Macintosh: Developer documentation was crucial to our success (June 1982)
- Creative Think: A seminar with Alan Kay (July 1982)
- You Guys Are in Big Trouble: We receive Steve's permission to dismantle the onerous burglar alarm (August 1982)
- 1984: The famous 1984 commercial is nearly canceled (September 1983)
- It Sure Is Great to Get Out of That Bag!: We need a demo for the intro (January 1984)