Scott Forstall, former Apple executive and iOS Chief, appeared on Code.org’s weekly Code Break event this week. The video primarily revolved around the coding lesson from Code.org co-founder Hadi Partovi in a live interactive classroom, but in between the class Forstall shared the fascinating story of how he was hired by Apple. Forstall has rarely made public appearances since his departure from Apple and talked about his experiences there.
The former Apple executive also shared some stories of the early days of him growing up and the struggles he went through while growing up. His family was living in a tent and the hardships he went through during his formative years of childhood played a key role in making him realize the importance of education.
The story about Forstall joining Apple was also very fascinating. After finishing his graduation, Forstall was working at Microsoft and NeXT, the company started by Steve Jobs when he had left Apple. The interview setup by NeXT was intense and exhaustive and it had 17 people going through different rounds of the interview during the course of a day. In the very first interview, Forstall was about 10 minutes in when Steve Jobs bursts into the room, grabbed the interviewer, and took him out in the hallway where they both had a very animated discussion.
Eventually, the door opens but instead of the interviewer, it was Steve Jobs who entered the room and kept throwing questions after questions to Forstall. Fifteen minutes later, they both clicked on design, philosophy, and other things. Jobs then told Forstall that irrespective of what anyone says, he was are going to work for NeXT and that he was going to accept their offer. The Apple co-founder did tell Forstall to continue with the remaining interview rounds and at least show interest in them.
Interestingly, Forstall also had a job offer from Microsoft. After his interview with NeXT, he informed his Microsoft contact that he won’t be joining the Seattle company. The very next day in the morning, the former iOS chief received a package with a dead fish inside it. This led Forstall’s contact at Microsoft to FedEx the largest King Salmon to him overnight, all to convince him to join the Seattle-based company which eventually did not happen.
Forstall worked at Apple and with Steve Jobs for 20 years before departing the company in 2013. You can watch the entire part of Forstall sharing his experience of joining NeXT and Apple starting from the 34-minute mark in the video embedded above.