I don’t have any inside sources at Apple. Or any inside scoop on Forstall or Cook. Gruber and others have that covered better than I could hope to. But I started using NeXTSTEP and objective-C in 1992, and I recall his name from around that time – perhaps from forums or documentation or from one of our Professors, Jule Zelenski. I recall spending many hours on that NeXT workstation in our computer lab, using the world wide web before others, playing Doom on the NeXT before ever seeing it on a PC. Over the summer and for much of my senior year, I worked on what became gnuStep – an effort that won me several job offers when I graduated. After graduating, I didn’t see a NeXT or objective-C environment for another 13 years, when I finally bought an Intel-CPU MacBook. But the first time I cracked open X-code there it was. And I do love my iDevices. So thanks, Mr. Forstall, for your part in producing all of the above.
But I do know what it is like to get pushed out of the only company and job you’ve ever known: when you stay long enough on that first job, you identify yourself as much by the company you work for, and your role within it, as you do by almost any other means. That job means so much to your identity, to your notion of self. And it doesn’t matter what you’ve done for the company, how much you achieved, how many battles you won on their behalf, how much you shape company culture or defined it.
You find that you have to define yourself by yourself – and not by the company you helped create, mold, shape.
My advice to those who see the writing on the wall, who are waiting for the push: just go. You’ll be happier that you made the decision. The weight will be off your shoulders, and you can get on with your life. Everyone I know who has faced this tension and left of their own devices has been the better for it.
My advice to those who are pushed: take a little time out. Spend some time connecting with what you love doing. Find something that isn’t defined by your previous role, but don’t be afraid of the familiar. And then take a minute to appreciate the opportunity to do something new. It doesn’t come along that often. Turning from configuration to BPM was a great pivot in my personal career- after all, everything is a process… and after a few years it led to starting BP3 with Lance. I couldn’t be happier with my new lease on career and company.
So do something your own and new – and shape it around yourself. If you have enough money, you could just ride off into the sunset. But most people feel that urge to get back in the game after recharging their proverbial batteries.