I knew that at ten years, Apple gave employees a token of appreciation: a glass block laser-carved with the Apple logo. When he announced it at an employee meeting, Tim Cook said "This is the most beautiful thing in my house. I'm not even kidding." I was rather looking forward to having one of these of my own.
On Thursday, February 21, my officemates surprised me with the delivery of that award.
Tammy (my manager) called me to her office for a scheduling consultation. This was completely normal - in fact, this has been going on every day or two for quite some time.
From her office, I could hear people talking in the kitchen. So once we were done, I decided to amble over to the kitchen to see what was up. Tammy said something totally unremarkable and came along too.
And then, as I opened the door, everyone yelled, "SURPRISE!" My coworkers and Lori were all there, and I had not had any glimmer that this was happening.
Tammy said some nice things about my recent work, and Brad, my boss from 2003 to 2010, told a couple of stories about those years.
He told of my reluctance about the office's move from Squirrel Hill to the CMU campus (which I've handled by barely interacting at all with CMU).
He told of my work on making autoscroll while dragging in the Keynote navigator work when you dragged outside the window. (That was the closest I came to an interaction with Steve Jobs; I didn't meet Steve, but he was paying close attention to this feature as I was working on it.)
(There were parts of that story that Brad didn't mention: It was a real sackdolager of a bug. It involved three cycles from "I don't think it's feasible to implement that" to "okay, I can do that." It introduced bugs that were so obscure that I only got a handle on by visiting a member of the AppKit team with laptop in hand when I was traveling to Cupertino. And it was very late in the development cycle, and I thought that it was too risky to make these changes that late. I asked Brad why we were taking on such a risky feature that was just a UI refinement so late in the cycle, and he said "I knew you could do it, and it took the heat off of things that we can't fix." There's nothing to inspire me to do the near-impossible like hearing that.)
Brad and Tammy also said that I am one of the nicest guys in the office, and that came as a big surprise to me; I would have thought that I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, and I would have suspected that that was an overestimate from the Dunning-Kruger effect. It warms my heart to hear that.
This is what the glass block looks like on our shelves: