How to get fired from Apple, 1990 edition

"My boss asks me what I really think of him. HR advises me to tell the truth. I’m fired."

From Jean-Louis Gassée's 50 Years in Tech, Part 13: Firing Frankness. 

In a Palo Alto restaurant in January 1990, John Sculley and I have what turns out to be our last dinner together as fellow Apple employees… with the VP of HR in attendance. Over dessert, Sculley asks me what I think of his performance as Apple CEO, do I trust his decisions, think he’s leading the company in the right direction? Politely but frankly, I tell him.

I recall the moment’s emotion: I felt I was performing a good deed, being helpfully clear and honest, hoping to clear the executive suite’s unbreathable air. Indeed, before the dinner, HR VP Kevin Sullivan... had encouraged me to forgo the expected courtier’s dissembling and, instead, to “help” Sculley by speaking straight.

As we wait for our cars, Sullivan puts his arm around my shoulder: “Jean-Louis, I’m proud of you…” After half a decade in Cupertino, I know what this means: What I have done is irreparable. [more]

My take: Gassée, who took over the Mac division after Steve Jobs left Apple, has been using the excellent Monday Note blog to serialize his 50 Years in Tech. This is a good one.


  1. David Emery said:
    The Mac ci is one of my all-time favorite machines (along with the Ti PowerBook.)

    December 17, 2018
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    Gassée understood that “it’s the OS, Stupid”. His BeOS would have worked just as well (in the beginning) as NeXT. Had Sculley listened to Gassée’s constructive criticism at that dinner Apple’s fortunes might have been very different.

    December 17, 2018
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    Posting here because there is no other place.

    AAPL at the Close is down 0.77% from Friday Close
    DOW at the Close is down 2.33% from Friday Close
    S&P 500 at the Close is down 2.39% from Friday Close
    Nasdaq 100 at the Close is down 2.57% from Friday Close
    Russell 2000 at the Close is down 2.39% from Friday Close

    Nikkei, Dax, FTSE, CAC, Euro Stoxx 50 and Hangseng are all down for the day.

    AAPL did well considering the worldwide selloff.

    December 17, 2018
  4. victor castroll said:
    wrong thread but, pretty funny that on one hand, i’m ped public enemy #1 and on the other hand, my aapl trading has been crystal ballin’


    December 17, 2018
  5. victor castroll said:
    ok, i’ll write a column on one condition.

    one week paywall. deal PED?

    December 17, 2018

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