Most people who dream of working for Apple apply the normal way — they find a job listing or a recruiter calls them, they send a resume, cover letter, and eventually land a series of interviews.
But when an Apple executive decides he wants to wants to work with you, the process can be very different.
That’s what happened to Michael Gartenberg, a tech industry analyst, currently for iMore, who recently ended up working for three years for Apple as a senior director for product marketing, he explained on a podcast with The Mac Observer.
While Gartenberg was working as an analyst, he participated in a regular conference call with Apple to discuss sales, trends, and other things of interest to analysts.
And at the end of one of the calls, Apple vice president Greg Jozwiak asked Gartenberg for “five, ten minutes of your time.”
“Apple VPs don’t call analysts just to schmooze,” Gartenberg explained. “I’m going, ‘what on earth did I do that I have totally annoyed Joz.'”
Gartenberg thought he had ticked Apple off, at first. But it turns out that Jozwiak wanted to talk to him about a job.
“So the phone rings, 408 number, coming from Apple, I pick up the phone and and he goes, ‘Hey Michael, it’s Joz,” Gartenberg said. “‘Look, I don’t have a lot of time to talk right now, so I’m going to cut right to the chase. Would you like to come out here and work with us?'”
Welcome to Apple secrecy
But at first, Gartenberg didn’t even know what the job was. “Remember, this is Apple,” Gartenberg said.
After Gartenberg recovered from the shock, Jozwiak told him that he would have to move out to Cupertino, California, where Apple is headquartered.
Jozwiak eventually revealed that the job would mean that he would report to Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president in charge of marketing, but Schiller wanted to give him the details himself.
“‘You’re asking me if I’m interested in a job, if I’m willing to move out to the West Coast, but you’re not willing to tell me what the job is,'” Gartenberg joked. “He goes, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Phil will give you a call in the next couple of days.'”
After telling his family, Gartenberg didn’t hear from Apple for a few days. Then he got a call from an Apple recruiter — who once again wouldn’t tell him what the job was. “Phil wants to talk to you directly about that,” she told Gartenberg. She proposed flying out to California in two days.
The second he got off the plane, he got a text message that he needed to meet that day with Hiroki Asai, an important Apple marketing employee at the time, because Asai was about to go on a trip.
“The next day, it was a round of meetings, starting with Phil, and the rest of his staff. It was Phil, Joz, Brian Croll, who was in charge of MacOS at the time, Dave Moody, who ran Macintosh, Michael Tchao, who was in charge of iPad, Rona Okamoto, who did developer revelations, so it was pretty much the full gamut of Phil’s team,” Gartenberg said.
It turned out that was the team he was going to join, as Senior Director, Worldwide Marketing. The next day, he got an informal offer from the recruiter.
Gartenberg doesn’t go into specifics about what exactly he ended up doing. “What happens at Apple tends to stay at Apple,” he said.
“One of things that was said to me is that ‘you’re used to being the guy in the room talking to the press,'” Gartenberg said. “‘You have to understand, Apple speaks with one voice, and you’re not the voice.'”
Gartenberg even started tweeting less — not because there was a policy against it, but because he didn’t want to say something that could reflect poorly on Apple. He worked “in obscurity” on product messaging, creating keynotes and marketing materials for Apple products.
He did share one embarrassing story from his time at Apple:
“This is a company that lives in details itself. I remember the first day I sent someone an email,” Gartenberg said. “I got it back, and at the end of it, it said ‘P.S. spelling counts here.'”
He had typed “the” as “hte.”
Gartenberg eventually wanted to take a break from the long Apple hours, but he ultimately loved his time at the fruit company. “Apple is probably one of the best places in the world to work,” he said.
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