Apple’s influence on my life

My first first Macintosh was the Mac SE. A 20 meg hard disk and a 3.5" floppy drive.

It came with MacPaint and a bunch of other apps. I hacked at it with ResEdit. I played games. I wrote my first hello world program. I loved that computer.

I entered college thinking I would be an accountant. But that small, adorable, powerful and creative little Mac told me I had to do something else. I knew it but I just didn’t know how to tell my parents I would give up the idea of being a CPA to work with computers.

But we all knew it was coming. It was obvious.

After graduation I was dying to work for Apple or on Macintosh related things. I found a startup in Cambridge that was looking for folks. They posted a job on AOL. The company was ON Technology and they made software apps for the Mac. They were backed by John Doerr at KP. I was so junior at the time I hadn’t met John until years later. I loved that little startup.

The following spring in 1992, i went to my first MacWorld in SF. Holy fucking shit. My head was ready to explode.

I also re-met this girl, Lauren who was living in SF. (I fell head over heels for her and we got married years later)

A few months later, I packed everything I owned and drove from Boston to Silicon Valley in 4.5 days. I taught my kid brother how to drive stick along the way. A bag I picked up at macworld had my life’s most precious stuff. All of my cash ($2.5k and a Powerbook 140.

A few years later, a number of brilliant folks from Apple started a company called WebTV Networks. Thankfully they let me join. It changed my life and I’m forever grateful.

In 2004, i got two offers. One was to work for Rob Schoeben at Apple. The other was from my friends Santo and Todd who wanted to start Spark.

It was a hard call. Apple was doing extraordinary things and my admiration never stopped. The folks at Apple were ready to take on the world.

Something told me to join up with my friends to start something new. Lauren and I kicked it around for many nights and ultimately I agreed to join up with Spark. And I’ve never looked back on that decision either.

I’ve tried to approach my work at Spark with same lessons that the little MacSE taught me when it told me to switch majors in college twenty years ago. Study what you love, work on stuff you love. I find I only back entrepreneurs I want to work with and ideas that I love personally. It may be a great business idea but if i’m not passionate about it, I can’t convince myself to invest.

Years later my love for Apple and their fearless founder has always held a special place inside of me. Every time, I pick up one of their products. Every time I walk into their campus. Every keynote or WWDC. You can feel Steve all over the place. You can feel how much they love their work and their products.

I’m guessing that feeling will always been there for me.

Thanks, Steve. For everything.