During the time between when I withdrew from college in November, 1986 and started again in January, 1987, I worked as the customer support representative at StyleWare. This company sold Apple II software. The founder and one his partners were still undergraduates; the third partner put up what capital he could. They made a go, and had a successful product, called Multiscribe, which was a MacWrite-style clone for the Apple IIc/IIe.
Apple courted StyleWare to write software for it’s biggest and best Apple II, the Apple IIGS. StyleWare hired a couple of my other classmates to work on a drawing program (called TopDraw) during the school year in 1986.
The president of StyleWare, however, had much bigger dreams. He wanted to replace AppleWorks, a text-based package originally written for the much-maligned Apple III that had a word processor, spreadsheet, and a database. StyleWare’s package would have graphical versions of those, plus a graphics module, a page layout/desktop publishing module, and a terminal module for dialup connections.
One of the TopDraw developers approached me while I was working on a lab for my retake of the Worse Course Ever in the History of Academia (or at least at Rice) (It was much better this time around). He plopped down next to me, and said, “You have a job for the summer? How about when you finish?”
I said No to both.
“You want to work at StyleWare? We already have (a long list of names of friends I took classes with). We are going to spend the summer training, writing accessories, and start work on GSWorks in September after the boss writes the base framework.”
“I won’t be finished with school until December,” I reminded him.
“Yeah, I talked to him about that. He said you could work part-time in the fall. If the summer and fall work out, then you could work full-time when you are done.”
“Kind of like an internship? And probation?”
He squirmed. “Probation is such a strong word. But, essentially, yes. The main writers of the various modules are already assigned. You would be working on infrastructure and other tasks the main developers can’t get to.”
“Well, assuming I don’t find another full-time job in December, I would be interested. I am certainly interested in the summer and fall thing.”
He beamed, “Great! Can you show up the first Monday after last day of finals?” He thought about it. “In 8 weeks?”
Yep. Even with my first professional programming job: It’s all in who you know.