I separated from my first wife in December of 1996. My first order of business was figuring out where to live, what stuff was mine, what stuff was hers, etc. But after that, I had to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I had the opportunity to start over if I wanted. Did I want to do music full time, and maybe go back to music school? Did I want to try to break into major league baseball as an analyst? (Although MLB still did not have people who did that at this point.)
I was not particularly happy at Sun, although it was fine. But I thought maybe I wanted to work on software that really captured my imagination.
I applied and got turned down to positions on productivity applications team like Adobe Photoshop. I talked to some friends who were in the video game industry, and the stories they told had all of the things I hated about StyleWare.
I knew nothing of web programming. I took at class (on Sun’s dime) at University of California Berkeley Extension on Java programming. That was my first introduction to object-oriented programming (and the only A I ever made in a computer science course), so many of the internet startups that were starting to spring up seemed out of reach.
There was, however, one piece of software I used all of the time for my music hobby projects. It was software I had envisioned writing myself the first time I saw a Mac in 1984, but I knew I would have trouble getting funding for and making money off of.
It was Finale. Finale was to music publishing what PageMaker was for traditional print media. It had everything a composer/arranger needed to write down music, play it back trhough the computer, and produce professional looking copy.
Finale was a Mac and Windows app. √
Finale leveraged my knowledge of music theory and preparation. √
And, in Spring of 1997, Coda Music had an opening for a programmer on the Finale team pm their website. √
So I applied. I put together a custom resume with all of my music preparation and theory experience, along with my Mac and Windows programming experience, printed it, and the first page of the above arrangement to show I knew something about the product, and mailed it away to Minnesota. In an envelope. With a stamp.
Was not surprised that I did not hear from them for the rest of 1997.