Anecdote: Staff motivation and team work

Posted by  Andrew Rixon —October 21, 2005
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling

ApplesSignatureSheetEarlier this year Shawn posted about a great site containing anecdotes about the development of the Apple Macintosh. Browsing through the archive I found this great anecdote written with real passion:

Since the Macintosh team were artists, it was only appropriate that we sign our work. Steve came up with the awesome idea of having each team member’s signature engraved on the hard tool that molded the plastic case, so our signatures would appear inside the case of every Mac that rolled off the production line. Most customers would never see them, since you needed a special tool to look inside, but we would take pride in knowing that our names were in there, even if no one else knew.

We held a special signing party after one of our weekly meetings on February 10, 1982. Jerry Mannock, the manager of the industrial design team, spread out a large piece of drafting paper on the table to capture our signatures. Steve gave a little speech about artists signing their work, and then cake and champagne were served as he called each team member to step forward and sign their name for posterity. Burrell had the symbolic honor of going first, followed by members of the software team. It took forty minutes or so for around thirty-five team members to sign. Steve waited until last, when he picked a spot near the upper center and signed his name with a flourish.

Do you have any great anecdotes about your work that you would like to share?

(Feel free to anonymise)

(The whole anecdote can be found here )

About  Andrew Rixon


  1. David Buchan says:

    The amiga 1000 had something very similar.

  2. Have you ever read Tracy Kidder’s “The Soul of a New Machine”? See it here on Amazon. This is the story of how Data General built the 32-bit Eclipse. It says a lot about the work culture, not so much the technology. I once worked in a team developing and running a system on an Eclipse – an interesting culture itself!

  3. Andrew Rixon says:

    Hi Keith,
    I haven’t read ‘Soul of a new machine’ but will keep an eye out for it next time a reading time slot opens up.
    You mentioned about an interesting culture of a team working on an eclipse, anything more you might like to share about what made it interesting?

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