Tony Fadell: I had heard lots of stories from my General Magic friends who worked for Steve, right? I’m like, “Can I trust him?” My gut’s going, “Okay, this is starting to feel better, but I’m not ready yet.” So while I’m talking to Steve, Jon had set up a big meeting for me to reveal, because he wanted me to just say yes, and I was supposed to reveal this secret project to a big set of Apple execs and people who should be in the know about the program, because it’s so secret at Apple.
So he sets up this big meeting. I’m still talking to Steve. Now I’m 20 minutes late to this meeting. There’s 20 – 25 people in it. So Steve and I hang up. I walk in this room late. Everybody’s just sitting there. Except for two people, they’d never met me. They were like, “Who is this guy? Why are we waiting for him? What is he gonna tell us about?” I walk in the door, scowls on their faces, and Jon looks at me and goes, “So are you gonna take the job?” in front of all of these people.
And I turn, and I look, and I was just confused. And he goes, “So are you taking the job? Right here, right now. This meeting will be canceled if you don’t take it.” And I was like, “What?” And I turned to the whole audience, who I didn’t know, and I said, “Does this happen in every Apple interview? Is this how you do closing?” So it broke the ice, and everybody was like chuckling under their breath because they were also shocked and stunned, because they didn’t know what was going on.
In my brain, you’re going really fast, and here’s the gut, right, and the rational are like fighting right now. Both sides of my shoulders are screaming in my ears. And I’m looking at Jon, and I’m looking him in the eye, and I’m like, there’s only two ways this is gonna go down. Either I’m gonna go, “No. Screw you. I’m gonna get what I want,” or “Yes,” and trust that was gonna happen. And I’m like, the first thing I don’t want to do is make my potential new boss look dumb in front of all these people.
And I was like, if it’s not working, I can always leave. And I was like, okay. So I looked him straight in the eye, and I said yes. Then what happens? I go and sit down in my seat. I was in such shock, I couldn’t even put a word together for 15 minutes. I just sat there in the room like this and Stan Ang — who was the guy who was helping me create the presentation and everything with Steve — Stan took over and started talking to people about the design and everything else. But I was just shocked. I didn’t know what I did, and for the next two days, I was an utter mess trying to figure out, “Did I do the right thing?” or whatever. So hopefully not a lot of other people have that kind of a job interview and close, but that was mine at Apple. Very unique. It’s a unique place.