I’m here at the Apple store in San Francisco. Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora, and I have been walking around town sharing stories and having lots of fun. The line to the concert is about a mile long so we’re not going to go. Too many people makes for not a fun experience.
Anyway, he used to work at Apple “BJ2” (Before Jobs 2.0) on the finder team and he told me about a joke that Apple engineers used to tell:
If it’s 999 engineers who say “yes” to an idea vs. one who says “no” they’d score it as a tie and kill the idea. It wasn’t a funny joke. Apple before Jobs came back was paralysed and couldn’t get stuff done. I told him it sounded a lot like many groups at Microsoft. He explained why the joke was true. After all, the one engineer who said no was freaking smart. Probably had some degree from MIT and probably had invented something really killer.
He explained why Apple is so good now that Jobs is back. He was the tie breaker. All votes went his way. Heheh.
Does your company call 999 to 1 a tie? How do you break those kinds of ties and get things done?