Pbur's Adventures

The life and times of Patrick Burleson

Pbur’s Next Adventure: Apple

Posted on by Patrick

TL;DR: I’ve accepted a position at Apple in Cupertino, CA and I start there March 3. I’m very excited!

Ever since I understood what getting a job meant, I’ve wanted to work at Apple. I was in junior high and I was tooling around on a friend’s Apple IIe writing basic programs to do who knows what.

In High School I started learning C with Dave Mark’s book. I didn’t own my own Mac, so I had installed the demo version of THINK C on the journalism department’s Classic IIs. Yes, all of them. I never knew which machine I was going to get to use on any given day. For Christmas, I asked for, and received, Inside Macintosh Vol 5 (or more likely Volume 6). My family and friends thought I was nuts, but it’s exactly what I wanted.

In college, I finally had my own Macs1. I got a copy of CodeWarrior Gold and started my attempt at a text editor for the Mac. I learned a lot about the Macintosh Toolbox and how to reboot my Mac at will with bad code.

All my friends in the CS department thought I was crazy learning Mac programming. I mean, Apple was Doomed™. Everyone knew it, but I held out hope.

Even with that hope, over the next several years, my career took me from the Mac to Sun machines running Solaris and then I finally caved and started using Windows as all the jobs I could find that were paying required it. Funny enough, it was mostly Java work.

Then in 2004 or so, I started to get back into the Mac. Panther had been released and OS X was clearly making strides to being a good OS to get my daily work done. Plus, it was Unix, and I really liked Unix after working on my Sun workstations. After the release of Tiger, I knew I needed to get back into Mac programming, if only to save my sanity. I had a couple of app ideas and I started slowly getting up to speed on Objective-C and Cocoa.

I was very much inspired by a group of folks who were indie Mac developers: Kevin Hoctor, Marcus Zarra, Steve “Scotty” Scott, Keith Alperin, Daniel Jalkut and Gus Mueller. Kevin, Scotty, Keith and Gus even had a podcast where they discussed their businesses and goals every quarter. Listening to it gave me hope because a couple of them got started just like I was trying to: by learning Cocoa at night to one day supplant the day job.

Just as I’d gotten an early alpha of a Mac app I was working on out the door to some friends, the iPhone SDK was announced and changed everything. I shelved all my Mac stuff and started digging into iPhone development. Those early betas were so raw: no Interface Builder, everything done in code. Yet, despite that, there was definitely a sense of excitement around developing for the iPhone.

Then, the real catalyst for my Cocoa career came: WWDC 2009. I can trace where I am today back to tracking down and meeting Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche at the Thirsty Bear that first Sunday night of WWDC. I would remain in contact with Jeff over the next year or so, and that paid off with Jeff helping me land the client contract that allowed me to go full time indie in the Fall of 2010. I also received great pep talks about following my passion from Mike Lee and Daniel Pasco.

In the Fall of 2009 I was lucky enough to attend C4[3], which would end up being the last C4 conference. I’ll never forget a presentation from Rob Rhyne about Briefs. It was such a simple and cool idea and I started looking at using it for presenting my iPhone prototypes. Fast forward to 2011, and I would join Jeff and Rob’s company, MartianCraft, as a full time contractor working with an amazing team on client projects as well as internal products. The past year or so I’ve been mostly focused on bringing Briefs to life. It’s funny how things come full circle like that.

Now, I’m getting the chance to live the dream I’ve had since junior high: I’ve accepted a position at Apple in Cupertino, CA and I start March 3. I’m moving out first with my family to follow. It’s going to be a huge change, but my wife and kids are excited about moving to California.

I started this blog 10 years ago to document the adventures of my wife and me moving from Texas to New Jersey when I got a job in New York City. Again, it’s funny how life has a tendency to circle back around. Here’s to another great adventure!

1. A Performa 5200 and a PowerBook 5300 (aka the Hindenbook), incidentally 2 of the worst Macs ever made. I didn’t care, they were my Macs. Also, a slight fib: my first Mac was a Performa 430 we got in my junior year in high school, but I shared it with my dad and mostly used it for writing papers and playing games.?

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