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Around the 36-minute mark, Forstall recalls narrowing down his post-college job hunt to two candidates – Microsoft, where he had interned, and NeXT, the computer and software company founded by Steve Jobs after he left Apple in 1985.
Forstall described the interview NeXT set up as “intense” and involving no less than 17 people over the course of a full day. Roughly 10 minutes into the first interview, Jobs reportedly burst into the room, took the interviewer out into the hall and had a “really animated” discussion with them. Then, Jobs himself returned and started peppering Forstall with question after question.
Roughly 15 minutes into the grill session, Forstall said he and Jobs really started to click “on design, philosophy and a bunch of other things.”
Eventually, Jobs stopped and told Forstall that he knew he had to interview for the rest of the day but that he didn’t care what anyone said and that at the end of the day, he would be giving him an offer. Jobs then reportedly told Forstall to pretend he was at least interested in everyone else’s questions throughout the day.
Jobs then told Forstall, “I’m sure you’re going to accept this offer.” Sure enough, that’s what Forstall did.
He called and told his contact at Microsoft that he wouldn’t be accepting their offer. The very next day, Forstall said, he opened his front door and found a box. Inside was a dead fish and the return address pointed to Microsoft. Concerned, Forstall called up his contact to inquire.
Turns out, Microsoft was simply trying to convince Forstall to reconsider so they rushed down to the Pike Place Market in Seattle, purchased a huge king salmon and had it shipped to him overnight in hopes that this would change his mind.
Forstall said he ended up cooking the fish that night but ultimately, stuck with his decision to go with NeXT. The rest, as they say, is history.