Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Decades and decades and decades

A few months ago I celebrated 30 years of living and working in Silicon Valley. I know that makes me seem impossibly old to many of you, but I assure you it's not only possible I'm that old, it's true.

I moved here in 1983 specifically to work for Apple Computer Inc., a company I fell in love with because I was a huge fan of their products. When I flew to SJC to interview at Apple, I rented a silver Nissan Sentra and headed out to find my dream. I cruised Highway 280 and approached Cupertino excitedly, waiting for what I knew would be a 60-foot neon sign looming over the freeway indicating Apple headquarters. I was shocked when instead of such a monument, I actually arrived on sleepy Bandley Drive to find a series of one-story tilt-up buildings with modest wooden signs out front.

Update: what the Apple wooden signs looked like


Me, Chris Espinosa, and two cardboard cutouts (ca. 1986)
It didn't matter. The buildings could have been made of cardboard for all I cared. I imagined the magic that went on inside. I was at my favorite company, in the tech center of the universe. When I went to eat lunch at a nearby sandwich shop and heard people at one table talking about CPUs, while another group chatted about Pascal programming, I knew I had just moved to nerd heaven. THESE WERE MY PEOPLE.

I lived in Apple House, near the campus in Cupertino. But that's another story.

And now, 30 years and several jobs later, I'm working at Google, and here's the amazing thing: I still love Silicon Valley and technology. I still love coming to work every day - almost - and getting to play with the future. I wouldn't trade it for any other job or any other place. And I know how incredibly lucky I am.

So here's to another 30 years. By then maybe +Ray Kurzweil will have figured out a way to keep us all going for much much longer.