A true-life skunkworks story
This is an interesting and short story about the development of the Macintosh Graphing Calculator software, by it's principal developer [via Dave Farber's IP list].
People around the Apple campus saw us all the time and assumed we belonged. Few asked who we were or what we were doing.When someone did ask me, I never lied, but relied on the power of corporate apathy. The conversations usually went like this:
Q: Do you work here?
Q: You mean you're a contractor?
A: Actually, no
Q: But then who's paying you?
A: No one.
Q: How do you live?
A: I live simply.
Q: (Incredulously) What are you doing here?!
At that point I'd give a demo and explain that the project had been canceled but that I was staying to finish it anyway. Since I had neither a mortgage nor a family, I could afford to live off savings. Most engineers at Apple had been through many canceled projects and completely understood my motivation.
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