Coda Music – 1998

I got a phone call.

“Hi. I am the Software Engineering Manager from Coda Music. Do you have a few minutes?”

I did.

“You mailed us your resume some time ago, and by the time it got here, we had filled that position. But we liked your resume, and kept it on file. We have another position open, and I would like to talk to you about it.”

It was the principal engineer for Finale, which I talked about in a previous post. This is the software I most wanted to work on in all of the software I had seen to date. It was both Mac and Windows, which suited my experience as a programmer. I also used it to do my arranging projects (and what little composing I did).

We had a great conversation. She loved the fact that I made a custom resume that listed my music preparation/arranging/theory experience, as well as my programming experience. She did not really probe me technically.

Near the end of the call, she asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”

“Yes. What do you play?”

“Excuse me?”

“I assume everybody at Coda Music is involved with music in some way outside of work. So I am curious as to what you do.”

“Oh. Well, I play violin and some viola. I am in one community orchestra, one chamber orchestra, and I play with an old-time band and do ‘fiddlin”. What do you do with music?”

“I play jazz saxophone and all of the non-double-reed woodwinds. I’m in a jazz band, and a professional-level wind ensemble, and I play a lot of musicals.”

She sounded excited. “We have a shortage of woodwind players in the Twin Cities area! There are a lot of string players, and a lot of music to do, but we are always trying to find people to play flute or clarinet. Plus, there are plenty of musicals.”

That was all the questions I had.

“So, based on this conversation, I would like to fly you out to interview with the rest of the team.”

“Well, I have to tell you. I have been a technical lead for less than a year, and there is a good chance I will be made manager soon. I bought a house here in February, and while the Bay Area real estate market is always hot, it might take some time to sell.”

“Let’s discuss all of that if we decide to make you an offer. All of that is just a negotiation if we get that far.”

“OK”

“I’m going to forward your information to our travel agency…” and she got days 2-3 weeks out that worked for me.

And then Northwest Airlines went on strike. Why is that relevant? Well, their main hubs were in Memphis and Minneapolis. And all of the flights not on Northwest sold out almost instantaneously.

After 3 weeks, she called me back and let me know that they were having trouble finding flights for me.

After 6 weeks, she called again:

“Well, I am afraid we are not considering you for this position anymore.”

“Oh?”

“We found somebody local. Their Mac experience is not as strong as yours, but he is a fine engineer, and will be a good addition to our team.”

“Congratulations! I am looking forward to Finale’s continued success as a long-time customer.”

“Are you disappointed?”

“Well, yes, a little. But it would be a major disruption in my life. And I know that Coda will never have the equity or bonus potential of a Silicon Valley company, and that there are very few other tech jobs in the Twin Cities area.”

“Both of those are true statements.”

“And last time I lived in a place with snow, I was 10 years old in Lubbock, TX. It only has a few storms a year, and snow on the ground for maybe 3-4 weeks/year. It would be really hard for me to deal with snow for months on end.”

“Well, it sounds like it wasn’t meant to be!”

“No, I don’t think it was.”

We said our good byes.

A few years later, when I was working with Xcode and Developer Tools at Apple, I met the guy they hired at the Apple World Wide Developer’s Conference. Nice guy. Sharp. And Finale keeps getting better.

Would have been fun to work on, though.

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