Why I left Apple (2019)

Why I left Apple (2019)

All in-depth articles about my Apple career:

I always thought it would be fun to get fired from Apple. I thought it would make a good story! Maybe I could do increasingly outrageous things and eventually get fired.

The truth is less interesting though. I’ve been on leave for awhile and Apple finally said my time was up. So, in the end, I did get terminated (aka fired). But it’s such a boring story. I always wanted to go out either on a high note or a very dramatic note, so I am disappointed.

For most of my career, Apple has been the only organization I’ve been a part of where I fit in completely. I have a team photo from Aperture on my wall and I still get emotional looking at it. There are many other teams I worked on that I feel the same way about. Everything wasn’t always roses, but much of the time it was pure joy. It feels like every meeting or gathering of teammates was filled with laughter.

But I don’t fit in very well anymore. It’s a sad thought to be certain that your best days are behind you. The sheer size of Apple has been difficult to adjust to. Teams are too big, organizations are too big, and sometimes even the products are too vast for my brain to comprehend. Things that used to be personal are now impersonal. Apple did not scale well.

In the first 12 years or so, I was fortunate to be given the freedom to influence products to a degree far exceeded my position, a testament to the Apple management I worked under. As the company got bigger, my influence declined from a very high point to effectively zero.

I worked on 7 teams in 20 years and I made 6 great choices and 1 terrible one. Pretty impressive! Sadly, I never really recovered from the bad one. My motivation and passion was stripped from me and it only returns in fits and spurts. I can’t contribute to Apple’s success without motivation and passion. To those that know me, no, it wasn’t Aperture I was talking about. 🙂

I’m proud of the work I did at Apple and I know that I made a significant contribution to products all across the company.

One of the best things about Apple is everyone was encouraged to try out other products and file feature requests or bug reports. For example, when Photos was barely getting started, I wrote several hundred feature/bug reports and most of them got implemented before the product shipped. In my opinion, the product turned out great, on both Mac and iOS. I had the freedom to do that with any product I wanted. Amazing.

In the past few years I’ve done a tremendous amount of writing, both inside and outside Apple. Everything from tips and tricks to career advice and in-depth essays about software development topics that are interesting to me.

This blog you are visiting contains all of the tech-related writing I’ve done in the past few years. I have a lot of plans for more content, including sharing stories from my career.

To those that will ask, I’m not interested in taking a job anytime soon as I’m focusing on my health and doing volunteer work. If I do someday, it will likely be a career change or at least something very different. I don’t think tech is the place for me anymore, at least not as a full-time job.

I hope that this post communicates how much I’ve loved working at Apple, depsite any dark days I may have had. I feel like I got the chance to work with the smartest people in the world and I will miss all of them. Even the crusty ones.

I wish I had the health and emotion and vigor and excitement I used to have because I would definitely stay. I don’t want to just coast. I’ve spent more than a year trying to re-invigorate myself and it’s just not happening.

But I have some ridiculously great memories. I plan to write about many of them here as they mean so much to me. If anyone has some good ones that involve me, let me know. 🙂

Keep in touch, everyone. I’m going to be depressed if no one contacts me.