Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Apple put up posters with the name of every employee ever

If you were online in tech circles last week, you couldn't miss the fact that last Friday was the 30th anniversary of the Mac. News sites and bloggers posted zillions of stories about the anniversary, and there was a big event at Flint Center, the site of the original announcement.

More surprising was that Apple itself celebrated the birthday. Apple is not noted for looking back. But this time, there was an extensive public website. And on campus, Apple had a party for employees, complete with t-shirts for all.

But it wasn't just a party. Apple created a set of 10 large posters containing the names of every employee who has ever worked for the company. On really really tall posters. With really really tiny names - something like 16,000 names per poster. The posters look like this:

Click this image to make it bigger (but not nearly actual size)

The text under the 30 reads:

A promise to everyone, kept by every one of us. On January 24, 1984, we made a promise to take the power of technology from the few and put it in the hands of many. This series of ten posters recognizes all those who have helped turn that promise into reality. In other words, every single person who has ever worked at Apple.

The names are in order of employee number. Combining that with the tiny type and the gray-on-white text, it's really hard to find a particular name. But Apple employees are smart and have come up with some clever hacks to narrow down where to look.

The first poster is the most interesting to me because it covers the time I worked there. Actually, because it contains 16,000 names, it probably covers the first 15 years or so of Apple. There are 10 posters total, which suggests how fast Apple has grown since then.

The posters are not in a public place, which means you can't see them unless you know someone who works there and you pay them a visit. I did that and spent some time staring at poster #1. After a while I found my name.




There you go.