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iChat-Entwickler verlässt Apple und erzählt darüber (englisch)

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    iChat-Entwickler verlässt Apple und erzählt darüber (englisch)

    Blog von Jens Alfke

    Er ist fasziniert von "Social Software", aber Apple ist davon wenig begeistert:

    I’m fascinated with social software. Apple isn’t. Despite some promising starts, the most I’ve been able to get accomplished in that vein at Apple was iChat [the IM part; I’m really not interested in videoconferencing], Safari RSS, and the “PubSub” [which turned out to be “RSS and Atom”] framework. There were some very promising prototypes of sexier things, but I really can’t talk about those, other than to say that they were canceled.
    Nachdem Leopard veröffentlicht war, fand er keine neue Aufgabe mehr, für die er nicht einen Haufen unwilliger Vorgesetzte mühsam hätte überzeugen müssen.

    I looked around after Leopard was finished, and didn’t see any place in the company where I could pursue my ideas. It would have meant evangelizing reluctant executives into sharing my vision … and that’s something that I know I have little talent at. My strategy is more of “build a sexy demo app and they will come around”; that and my awesome co-worker Jess’s salesmanship got the above-mentioned prototype projects off the ground, but it wasn’t enough to get them through the product feature review process, sadly.
    Er konnte seine vielen Ideen nicht umsetzen und musste stattdessen lange Zeit am selben Projekt arbeiten:

    I tend to have a lot of ideas. I’m not bragging, and that’s not always a good trait; it can be hard for me to focus on something long enough to finish it. A structured job has helped me stay on-task. On the other hand, though, the development cycle in a big company is such that every significant idea takes a year or more to finish, and during that time, more ideas pile up in my brain.

    That wouldn’t be bad if there were some other channels to express those ideas. And if they took the form of songs, or novels, or scrimshaw carvings of Biblical scenes on walrus tusks, I could do whatever I wanted with them. But on software, Apple’s position (not unusually for the industry) is “All Your Idea Are Belong To Us”, and I signed onto that when I accepted the job offer. In other words, anything I do that relates in any way to Apple’s areas of business, no matter when or where I do it, belongs to Apple.
    Er war zunehmend unzufrieden damit, dass Apple nach außen so glatt und gesichtslos war und keiner sich zu irgendwas äußern durfte:

    Finally — and this may seem petty — Apple’s lack of individuality bugs me. I don’t mean internally: within the company, communication is reasonably open (modulo confidentiality issues) and there’s lots of room for self-expression. But ever since the return of Steve Jobs, the company has been pretty maniacal about micro-managing its visible face, to make it as smooth and featureless as an iPod’s backside.
    It’s deeply ironic: For a company that famously celebrates individuality and Thinking Different, Apple has in the past decade kept its image remarkably impersonal. Other than the trinity who go onstage at press events — Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive, Phil Schiller — how many people can you name who work for Apple? How many engineers?
    It wasn’t always this way. Apple was very open in the beginning, and treated the members of the original Mac team like rock stars, complete with photo layouts in Rolling Stone. Their signatures were engraved in the inside of the computer’s case. (Andy Herzfeld wrote a good article about this.) Even in my early years there, applications’ “about boxes” proudly listed the names of the people who worked on them. The OS itself had semi-secret easter eggs that listed everyone’s name. The developer Tech Notes were bylined with the names of the individual engineers who wrote them. (Don’t scoff: the tech notes were great stuff, quirky and funny and individual. As a young Mac developer, just reading them gave me a great feeling about the company and made me want to work there.)

    Nowadays, unless you’re a vice president, the only time Apple consents to show your name is if you give a talk at the Worldwide Developers’ Conference, a rather pricey annual event. Which is nice, but relatively few engineers do this (it’s a ton of work to prepare for) and it’s definitely not public (all but Steve’s keynote is under NDA.)

    It’s not that I’m poutily demanding that I get my portrait taken by Annie Leibowitz, just like Andy Herzfeld and Bill Atkinson. But when I (and those I work with) slave over a project for a year, and shape it with our creative energies, I think we should be able to put our damn names on it somewhere (unobtrusively, in 8pt Lucida).

    And then there are blogs. Apple doesn’t like them, not when they talk about it. (Big surprise.) I’ve heard it said that there are hardly any bloggers working at Apple; there are actually a lot more than you’d think, but they mostly keep it a secret. (I could out a few people, including at least one director…) I think Apple’s policy on blogging is one of the least enlightened of major tech companies; Microsoft in particular is surprisingly open.

    I believe in being individual, and open. It always got on my nerves that there were so many things I couldn’t write about (not confidential information, of course, just public stuff) without the very real chance of waking up to a testy email the next day.
    And speaking of which, I now find myself at the end of this unexpectedly-long post, rather afraid of pressing the Publish button. I have been long-conditioned to avoid saying anything like the above in public. Even now, I may very well want to work at Apple again someday (dammit, I still love the place, despite my gripes), and I don’t want to burn any bridges.

    Realistically, I need to consider that if I did want to go back, the skills I have to offer should take precedence over any fur I’ve rubbed the wrong way with posts like this. But I still worry about how They will react. And it’s that sort of thinking that really shows me that, yes, I need some time on my own.

    So wish me luck. I’ll be in touch.

    Oh mann, der klingt ja richtig traurig.

    Ein Unternehmen wie Apple sollte aufpassen, dass ihm nicht die kreativen Köpfe weglaufen.

    Schöne Grüße, Glorion
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