So last May our general counsel, Nancy Heinen, left the company. I didn’t even know she was gone but one day in June I noticed I hadn’t seen her in a while and somebody told me, Oh yeah, she’s been gone since May, and I was like, Okay, whatever, I gotta dash up to the Jobs Pod and finish baking up some tasty new iPods. But now Nancy has lawyered up, and everyone is freaking out and panicking. Apparently it’s considered a big deal if your company’s corporate counsel retains defense attorneys, especially if one of those attorneys also represented one of the Enron dudes. I don’t see the big deal but whatever. Anyhoo, I was out doing some stretches this morning when Jerry York calls and tells me we’re having an emergency board meeting. On a Sunday. I go, Jerry, you know that Sunday is my Ultimate Frisbee league, and it’s sacred. You know that. I do not work on Sunday. He tells me there’s no choice, so whatever, I go in, and everybody’s there except Al Gore, who apparently really is gonna quit, or already has quit, I’m not sure. And at the front of the room is Potter, this outside lawyer guy that we hired. He’s standing at the white board, which everyone knows is my huge pet peeve, but anyway, I’m still so smoked about missing the game that I can’t even bother to complain. He goes on and on for like forever and he’s talking about how he’s found all these “irregularities,” and I’m like rolling my eyes and saying to myself that I can’t believe I missed friggin Ultimate for this. But Potter says that in fact “irregularities” is lawyer speak for “truly deeply bad shit,” and he says the bottom line is that apparently you can’t just give yourself all sorts of shares and options and not tell the shareholders. “Even if you’re the founder of the company,” he says, looking right at me with this big schoolteacher frown on his face. As if I’m totally to blame for all the problems.
I go, Are you sure on that, like you really can’t do that? And he says yes, he’s totally sure, he does this for a living, and by the way he’s a former federal prosecutor and he once convicted a Congressman. So I’m totally fighting the urge to put some aikido moves on him just for disrespecting me like this in front of my hand-picked board, but instead, I don’t. I do the opposite. I go all Zen on him. I do the thing where I press my hands together in front of me like I’m praying, and I act all serious like I’m totally concentrating on every word he says. When he’s done I put on this really contrite look and I turn to all the board members and I totally make eye contact using my most hypnotic Jobsian gaze, and I go, Look, you know what? My bad. Totally. My bad. And I want to make it right. I don’t want this hanging over the company and interfering with our creativity. Whatever I need to do to make it right, I want to do it, as soon as possible. Seriously. I’ll pay a fine, or write a check to some charity, just tell me the amount. I’ll give iPods to some inner city kids, or send some iMacs to the Third World or something. Whatever. Really. I don’t care about money at all. I really don’t. You all know that. I’m not about the money, never have been.
Potter goes, Well, it’s not quite as easy as that, because, um, it may be that some laws are involved here, we might be dealing with some allegations along those lines. And I was like, Come on, you’re telling me there are laws about this stuff? Damn. And for about two seconds I really thought I was gonna blow chunks. I mean, this Potter is really convincing, believe me. He’s good.
But then it hit me. I looked at them all and saw how none of them could look me in the face and I go, Wait a minute! Hold up! I get it! You a-holes are punking me, right? Am I right? God, I hate you all! Seriously! Where’s Ashton? Goddammit, where’s friggin Ashton? You dick, get out here!
But they all just sit there looking embarrassed. Finally I go, Um, so you’re not punking me? Jerry York is staring down, shaking his head. And I go, So um, what are we saying here? That this is not good, right? Is that what we’re saying?
The lawyer looks at Jerry York. Jerry just keeps shaking his head. The rest of them can’t even look at me. Finally after this huge pause Bill Campbell goes, in this really soft voice, Steve, would you mind if we continued the meeting witout you? I was like Guys, what’s going on here? So what if Nervous Nancy hires a damn lawyer? You guys are freaking me out here. Look, it’s me, remember? Steve Jobs. Guy who built this company. Guy who pulled this compay’s butt out of the fire, remember? Then I held up my iPod and said, Hey, I invented this thing. It’s called an iPod. Have you heard of it? Still, none of them would look at me. Finally Jerry York, still staring down at his hands, says, in this kind of ice-cold voice: Kid, get outta here. And I go, But Jerry, look, seriously, we gotta hash this out– but Jerry cuts me off and goes, Seriously, kid. Go play f-ing Frisbee.
I have no idea what happened after I left. They were supposed to call me, but nobody has. I can’t say for certain but this does not appear to be good.
On a brighter note, I did manage to catch the end of the Ultimate game.