I was working at Apple in the motion graphics group within the Graphic Design department. I was assigned to work on the intro animation for the Mac OS X 10.3 Panther setup assistant. We went through the normal design process with our stakeholders (people in charge of “MacBuddy”) and got to an animation that was essentially swarms of dots that formed each of the different translations of “Welcome” on the screen. And then we showed this nearly-final animation to someone higher at the top—forgive me, I’ve forgotten who this was—and he killed it because the dots looked too much like sperm. OK, they kinda did. (Think about swirling points of light but with motion trails. We tried increasing the motion blur, but it was no use.)
It was back to the drawing board and I presented more ideas. Eventually, Steve got involved and started looking at the animations. Each week my boss would show Steve a new revision of it, and each time we got a little closer. Then on Round 14, the week my boss was on vacation, I had to go present it to Steve Jobs.
He was eager to see this new revision. No pleasantries. No introductions (actually he knew me from Pixar). Just got right down to business. But he did say this to me, “Wow. We spend more time on MacBuddy than Microsoft does on all of its UI.” And then he chuckled.
The presentation was quick and he only had a couple of pretty minor notes. I think I had one more revision and it was finally done.
What my time at Apple and working with Steve taught me was this: Keep going until it’s right. Don’t settle.
Thank you, Steve.