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Tape 8-10

You became an engineer at Netscape without having gone to college

-- howd you get here

Well when was little boy had no idea what

wanted to do dont remember ever wanting to be fireman

or -- spaceman would have been cool -- have been cool But

hey Ive got plenty of time cause you can go to space when

youre 80 But there were some things that were fun and

had friend named John and the two of us were reading

magazine and it showed picture of brand new computer --

this was in the early 70s think And it was picture of

the Apple II Now we were -- already by this time think

in the fifth grade or sixth grade -- something like that We

had really great math teacher Kr Ripley and Mr Ripley

had special programmable calculator in class -- the TI-59

Texas Instruments TI-59 -- you could program this thing

And it had little magnetic cards Arid we actually started

writing programs for this thing Its kind of weird -- its

not like any programming language today -- it just remembers

the keystrokes And theres some questions you can ask

But it sort of introduced us to that notion Anyway we saw

this computer in the -- in the magazine and it was playing

some game We had Pong or Atari that was cool but this

thing was really cool Not long after that computer store

called the Basic Computer Shop opened up in our town and the

day that it opened John and walked over -- quite long

walk -- and went in They had no customers -- it was their

first day Because they had no customers and it was their

first day they were jQe..t.ous We sat down in front

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Tape 8-10

of this Apple II and we started playing games And we

played games all day til they closed The next day we

came back and the manager looked at us and said Did you

boys cone here to play games again And of course we knew

wed get kicked out if we said Yes So we said No

Np we caine to program -- yeah thats it We came to

program He said Great and he gave us the manuals and

we sat down and we started writing programs And we had

little bit of experience already from understanding sort of

how logic worked how you could ask questions and do

different thing depending on the answer to the question We

learned Basic out of this book and started writing bizarre

little programs which apparently remained in circulation in

Freeway for some time after that It wasnt long before

we sort of became consultants to the store because we could

program Customers would come in wanting to do some

particular task and theyd say Oh well Scott or John

could help you with that So we didnt get paid for that

but the customers would pay us for our

money programming

time This was the greatest thing intheworid Its an

expensive toy that you couldnt afford to own yourself some

company provides it for you people pay you money to play

ith it -- great then knew what wanted to be And

from then on just tried to learn more and more about

programming because it really is magical Ive described

before just what an amazing sense of power it is and the

kind of cool creation that program is that you can make

machine do things that you can make things that are

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Tape 8-10

beautiful or fascinating -- its really terrific So from

there did lot of playing around and programming and

sometimes you have to work other jobs -- Ive been lot of

other things besides programmer Its always good to be

cook when you come to new town because cooks always eat

So then you get money and food But always programming

was the thing wanted to do When moved to Michigan

very long time ago -- must have been about 21 -- got

job right away as cook while was looking for work as

programmer And it wasnt long before found job working

on North Campus at the of Transportation Research

Institute as Pascal programmer bringing their vehicle

simulations from expensive mainframe time down to personal

computers where you could run it as often as you wanted to

for free That was cool So that gave me more access to

hardware And by this time we were starting to have the

notion of net There was local bulletin board N-net

that we joined And more and more people were communicating

In the early days when started working there was no thing

like that -- there were couple of bulletin boards but they

werent anywhere near the kind of communications level that

we have now Slowly started to get recognized in other

parts of the University somebody else offered me job

switched from tJNTRI to City of the Center for Technology

Information Interchange and then got call by guy named

Roy LeBand -- nice guy He said Were working on

something -- were wondering if youd come down and take

look And went downtown Ann Arbor They -- these were

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AJ9 Ht
Tape 8-10

the guys who wrote Full Paint for the Macintosh and

just thought that was the coolest progr It was awesome --

unlike anything that had been out before except that it took

lot from Macpaint They brought me in and thought they

were going to show me something but instead they started

grilling me asking me all kinds of questions They had me

in front of whiteboard and the whole were

group of them

there all the programmers that were there started asking me

questions They asked me questions for about -- gosh must

have been three or four hours And guess it was an

interview And they said Okay well lets show you what

were working on And they were working on word processor

-- it was Full Write And they said Do you have anything

for us And said Well when do start didnt even

ask how much they were going to pay me quit my other job

i2 immediately started working for them because it was

really exciting and these were cool guys We worked on our

product for about two years our company got bought they

moved us out to California We got bought by Ashton-Tate

Ashton-Tate experienced all kinds of troubles left Ashton

Tate and went to Lucas Film And there was privileged to

work on really cool piece of software that ran on

Macintoshes again and drove New England Digital Hardware It

was sweet -- work

great place to lots of fun lots of

really good people there And -- but was lonely missed

Jennifer and couldnt find her Managed to locate her

left Lucas Film and moved back to Michigan to marry her

Then started interviewing around did lot of contract work

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Tape 8-10

out here on computers and got offered job in California by

General Magic And we packed up all kit and caboodle moved

out to California and started working at General Magic on

this brand new idea of postcards that could fly through the

air and land in your pocket -- which thought was cool

worked for General Magic for long time did lots of

interesting stuff there Really really good people that

worked closely with -- Phil Goldman and the guys who later

started up Web-TV All terrific guys -- really cool Left

General Magic and went to work at Apple on the Newton

Worked khe Newton for long time about two years met

lots of great people left them to work for Macro Media


From Macro Media to Net Manage where was working with

Peter Tutalagan whod Id previously worked with at

Ashton-Tate Then Net Manage decided to cancel the whole

development effort that we happened to be on at the time and

Peter and Pierre and couple of other members of the team

started interviewing at Netscape and they told Netscape Oh

youve got to talk to Scott Collins -- youd like to hire

him Netscape called me invited me over the next day for

about three hours stayed there for probably six or

seven They offered me the job right away so took it

because it seemed like fun stuff And Ive been there ever

since So thats the path in nutshell

Describe what it was like being out of job

Yeah dont know if its necessarily the fact

that Im software engineer but its the fact that follow

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Tape 8-10

Lf6 my heart which is an incautious thing to do And because

follow my heart and try to do the things believe in things

can happen to you In particular you can get fired Ive

been fired twice in my life maybe three times if you count

when was kid And Im proud of the reasons was fired

was fired because was doing the stuff that thought

was right Maybe shouldnt quite say it that way cause

one tine actually got fired because was just the wrong

guy for the job But -- this can put you in situation

that is bad -- you have no job And if fired from

you get

someplace and youre looking for job someplace else they

want to ask you naturally Well why are you looking for

job And if you say something like Oh was fired they

say Ah okay thank you So we were in tough spot and

.. we had been working on house and things did not work

It was not happy situation And wed been working on this

house for year we thought it was our chance to be

homeowners in Calif ornia.- Wejat3srjrpe stock from previous

job that was helping us out We had nice salary from the

job that was working We thought finally this was going

to be it we were going to be homeowners And things did not

work out and luckily we got our money back that we had

already put into the house but we didnt get bac1ct

eon5lJtnent that wed put into it As you can

imagine it was--it was heartbreaking to do so


related to how youre going to live to invest so much of

yourself into it and then to see it all go away for reasons

that you just cant put into the same breath -- things that

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Tape 8-10

335 are totally different classes It was -- you know Ive

driven past the house couple of times and sort of inside

cried about it It was ve very sad And it was one of

the things -- one of the major things -- that think spurred

our move back to Michigan The fact that here we could own

house we could have the right thing we could do the right


What is the social experience of group of engineers

Ive worked in every kind of team The team at Ann

Arbor SoftWorks was like dysfunctional family We were all

very close and we had evil parents Ive worked at teams

that were -- in some of -- the

my contracting jobs teams were

more military They werent really friends they came to

work and did their job and then went home And liked the

-- and then there are teams that like baseball --

are teams

you know they cooperate they are not quite like family

but theyre friends And like the Netscape family My

particular team is very close We have suffered some losses

and it just changed the dynamic lot But it has remained

like family There are of course plenty of people that

you would prefer to avoid -- not on my particular team --

but if you look at the whole -- the whole big picture yeah

there some that you wish you could

guys get on your team and

there are some guys you wish would just the hell
get away

from you But love my team Were--were great We all

carry different shares of the load -- different amounts And

its really good experience Its one of the number one

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Tape 8-10

1tCriteria for picking job is whats the team like And one

21rsons for staying at Netscape is Ilgyf my team

its great team

Where does the character come from stops restarts

.telling you before about the techie kids being

raised techie think whats really about is bringing

culture that has fostered people who cant be surprised or

people for whom surprise doesnt blow them out of the

water Thats the people who are in software cause things

change so fast And those are the people you want if you

want to rule the world guess if thats what you mean

because theyre the people who will take the change and deal

with it atever comes up next is what theyll take not

something from traditional business models not where you all

sit around at table and regimented and have

you meeting

where theres points of orders and you raise your hand -- not

like that at all You want people who would get fired from

those companies because they have the answer too soon and

theyre not willing to wait their turn to say what it is

Thats what you think thats what his attitude


regarding that reflects -- that these are the people who

would get fired from traditional companies because at

company you could have one of those guys

and cause hed be the idea

factory And here the whole companys made up of idea


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Tape 8-10

where does the inability to be surprised come from

Scott Its from being ducked in the river held by your

ankle -- the river of change Everything that happened so

fast all the new machines that come into you all the new

ga-- when youre kid every new game that comes along has

brand new user interf ace Every new machine that cones along

has brand new thing for you Every new friend you meet

every time you move The whole world is different And if

yourea.. kidwin was moved arQund. lotnd seen lots of new

game 4new toys ar new in chines and been in this river

of change youre hardened to it And instead of thinking of

change as destroyer you think of change as the river

washingaEEThad stuff you want

swim_TTInto to
.-- _______

Were you ever in the bad stuff

Some change is bad Some things can surprise you

and 4e bad things And then more change comes and that

stuff goes away and youre all better again So think

everybody goes through their share of that

Is there too much of sense that long-lasting employment

relationships are really thing of the past

_2Dscott dont know The -- its so different from here

21 where you get job and you work that job most of your life

and then retire In the Silicon Valley you change jobs so

quickly not usually at the employers behest People

complain Oh the company doesnt care about you any more

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Tape 8-10

dont know that thats true Of course companies dont

care at all its the people in them At Netscape and many

of the other companies that Ive been at really felt like

the people who were running the did care about


keeping the employees happy but of course not to the extent

that if there was no job for you there that theyd keep you

on anyway And they are part of this river of change too

where things keep happening As--as things change what

theyre working on changes and who they 11 have working for

them changes They dont want to apologize for that

sometimes things just go away So think that as -- its

like ants worker ants They send group out to do

something As that group approaches the task that theyre

gonna do some ants leave more ants come on By the time it

gets to the target it could be totally different set of

ants think has we distribute the set of work that were

doing and more and more in the Information Age itll be

more like that Itll be people coming onboard because

thats what they want to do right now and theyll do it and

then when theyre done with their part theyll leave and

maybe thats good thing

stops restartsJ

Have you heard about the high school senior who is contributing

code to project Is that indicative of this worker ant notion

you mentioned

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Tape 8-10 7Lt11Jki_
Absolutely This is so true And--and Ill give

you another parallel to this People run programs they see

the thing that bothers them Now if theyre techie person

at all they can get the source they can fix that they can

send you the patch and its in Its like you have

million programmers In the old days of -- the beginning

days of online games computer games various things people

would play these gaines and theyd be really hard But it

turns out that when you distribute game across the

internet or you have 10000 people playing it or its the

Zelda like we were playing downstairs before the gaines

cannot withstand the massively parallel attack of the garners

all across the country It would take centuries to beat


Zelda by yourself -- or not centuries but some long amount

of time But you get on the internet and you find out

somebody else did it because they posted Oh knew how to

do this one particular thing Suddenly if does


that with the part they could solve the game is solved

Youve got to be careful not to look up the answers like

that But this is the massively parallel attack on software

problems There are so many people who can program who want

to program who will do the right thing And theyll find

the thing in your program that sucks it

and theyll fix

And the world was better for it and you -- old programming

technologies not be able to withstand the amazing force

of thatffiI1wave

Theres an etiquette for asking for help

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The thing that makes parallelism work is if youre

doing something different from everybody else So the first

thing you need to do is try to do the normal thing Try to

just do standard build If for some reason you couldnt

get past that then you need to look in the FAQ -- the

Frequently Asked Questions -- see if youre just hitting just

some ordinary piece of trouble that everybody has hit If

its in there then your questions answered for you

Finally if its something brand new thats outside of those

then its okay to ask otherwise youre not doing something

new and youre not --

your effort is not parallelized with

everybody elses

So its almost formal process of open source development -- it

is an important thing to note

Yeah Its not so formal but people will ding you

if you didnt read the FAQ Oh everybody knows that -- you

should read the FAQ blah blah blah So yeah its



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