After 10 Years at Apple, Ben Williamson Reveals What its Like to Work on an Apple Design Team


Most people would love an opportunity to even intern at Apple. Of course, who wouldn’t. There are a lots of wonderful people working on fascinating problems and there are others who are just too difficult to work with. Well, Ben shares his personal experience at Apple.

Ben Williamson has 10 years of experience at Apple, he is a Long EZ Pilot, Surfer, Word Traveler, Startup Investor / Advisor.

This is his short statement about what its like to work on an Apple design team shared on Quora.

My first notable experience was after implementing a static design (done in photoshop) and presenting a working HTML5 / JavaScript demo to the stakeholders on the big screen in a presentation room. I was pretty pleased with the progress I had made, especially since I had only been working on it for 10 days and had a fully functional demo to show. It was pixel perfect as far as I could tell, and the demo was flawless.

After I had gone thru the working demo a little scandanavian guy sitting at the very back of the room spoke up. . . “Flip back to the second screen you demoed . . . ” A bit perplexed, I did as he asked not sure what to expect.” The list item alignment on the left is off by a pixel” The first thought I has was “No fucking way . . . this guy is sitting at the very back of the room, no way could he possibly spot that.”

He asked me to pull up my pixel ruler and compare it to the PSD comp . . . sure enough, he was right. I was off by a single fucking pixel, and he caught it. Working on design teams taught me that perfect matters, and even if no one else knows, we know. There was a saying at Apple that still gets thrown around, but in my opinion just doesn’t carry the same weight any more.

It’s called the “Apple Way”. In SJ terms it means “We don’t ship shit, if you’re responsible for shit going out the door and I find out, then it means your ass.” With the influx of outsiders due to rapid growth, the SJ / Tim transition, and several other factors that saying has lost it’s potency, but I still reflect on that any time I’m building or reviewing code prior to pushing the go button.