This year, though, there was no cause for alarm. We did have several meetings about technology direction shifts. It look like we're going to be able to provide Apple with advice and technology that is very useful to them. Now I'm positively glowing both because it looks like our technology will be useful and because a lot of work I've been doing lately will be useful. "Is this secret project a good idea," an Apple engineer asks. "Well, I've got a paper on how to do it including a gap analysis. Want a copy," I respond. It's great to be able to make positive technical contributions. I'm really pleased about how well Alexis's work is going to fit into what Apple is doing and how well her design matches what is needed.
This week, I've been at Apple's World Wide Developers' Conference; the primary yearly conference for Mac developers. WWDC is always a great show: Apple knows how to put together an event and to play to their audience. WWDC is also a bit frightening for Apple partners. For a variety of reasons Apple keeps things quiet and does not always tell partners when it is ending a partnership or making a significant technology shift. Apple is fairly up front about this. In the words of one engineer, "Some day, we're going to screw you over—do something that you really don't like and not tell you about it." It's part of the game: if you do business with Apple, you know that sometimes you'll be in the dark when you really wish you weren't. For this reason being an Apple partner is hard: you really want to become emotionally invested in the product, the potential and in all the exciting directions you are taking. You also need to keep enough distance that you can change direction when needed.