An Oral History of Apple’s Infinite Loop

Absolutely fantastic piece assembled by Steven Levy for Wired:

Twenty-five years ago, the computer revolution’s marquee company was in decline. Back then, it was just settling into shiny new headquarters, a campus of six buildings that formed a different kind of ring. Called Infinite Loop, the name is a reference to a well-known programming error — code that gets stuck in an endless repetition — though no one seems to know who applied it. Infinite Loop was the place where Apple’s leaders and engineers pulled off a historic turnaround, and it will always be the source of stories and legends — many of them untold. Until now.

There’s so much quotable stuff in here. Here’s just one, which I’ve heard before but which still made me laugh out out reading it again:

Forstall: Whenever I ate with Steve, he insisted on paying for me, which I thought was a little odd. Even if we went in together and he selected something quick like pre-made sushi, and I ordered a pizza in the wood-burning pizza oven, he would wait for me at the cash register for 10, 15 minutes. I felt so awkward. Finally, I told him. “Seriously, I can pay for myself, so please don’t stand there and wait for me.” He said, “Scott, you don’t understand. You know how we pay by swiping your badge and then it’s deducted from your salary? I only get paid a dollar a year! Every time I swipe we get a free meal!” Here was this multibillionaire putting one over on the company he founded, a few dollars at a time.

As my friend John Siracusa quipped in a Slack group, “This is the most Steve Jobs quote ever.” Jobs enjoyed pulling one over on The Man even after he became The Man. That free lunch scam delighted him the way free long distance phone calls did with Woz and their blue boxes.

This whole history is simply terrific. Do not miss it. (That story from Tim Cook about the meeting with Gateway — oh my god.)

Monday, 17 September 2018