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Scott Forstall tells story about Steve Jobs, Microsoft, and a dead fish [video] (loopinsight.com)
235 points by shawndumas 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 135 comments





If you want the gist of the story:

Scott Forstall interviews at Apple.

During one of the many interviews onsite, Steve Jobs pulls the interviewer out of the room then eventually replaces the interviewer and begins peppering Forstall with questions. They have a connection and Jobs offers him a job on the spot (but also tells him to go through with the rest of the interviews).

Scott calls up his contact at Microsoft and turns down the offer he had from there.

The next day he gets a package at his doorstep. He opens it up and it's a huge dead fish. Forstall, thinking maybe it is a threat from Microsoft, calls up his contact and asks what the meaning of this was. His contact explains that they went down to Pike's Market, bought the largest King Salmon from there, packed it up with ice and shipped it down to him.

He ate it that night but still ended up going to Apple.


NeXT. Not Apple. Jobs wouldn’t return to Apple for a few more years.

Thanks! You're right. Kinda just glossed over when I was typing up my summary.

Wow recruiting has really gone down hill, I want a giant dead fish instead of lame T-Shirts.

hahaha literally you have to walk down a huge hill in Pike St to go to the Market.

so bizarre. why did they think that was a good idea?

Could this be a twisted reference to "So long, and thanks for all the fish"?

> bought the largest King Salmon from there

That's easily a few hundred dollars just for the salmon. Maybe over $1000 depending on the size of the salmon.

> He ate it that night but still ended up going to Apple.

No way he ate it all that night. Family friend brought us a whole king salmon from a fishing trip. Lasted a few meals. The best salmon I've ever had. Nothing like the farmed atlantic salmon you get from the supermarket.


>> He at it that night...

> No way he ate it all that night.

He ate it does not necessarily imply he ate it all. I ate chili last night, but that doesn't mean I ate all the chili.

But, anyway, those weren't the actual words of Forstall in the video.


> He ate it does not necessarily imply he ate it all.

But it implies it.

> I ate chili last night, but that doesn't mean I ate all the chili.

That's a bit different isn't as you are referring to a general unquantified food ( chili ) as opposed to a quantified amount of food ( one whole salmon ). What if someone gave you a bowl of chili and you ate it. Most people would assume you ate it all. Because it's a singular item like a whole salmon. Someone game me a bag of chips and I ate it. "All" is implied. Someone gave me a hershey's bar and I ate it. Most would assume they ate it all.

Also, you are missing my point. My point is that most people don't appreciate how big salmon actually are and also how expensive they are. I didn't realize how big they got until someone gave me a whole salmon. My intention wasn't to start a petty semantic argument.


Hopefully a professional chimes in but I believe it does imply that he ate it all. Your example isn't one to one because you refer to it as "I ate chili" instead of "I ate it". Same way people wouldn't be confused if he had said, "He ate Salmon that night but" .

Similar examples: I painted it last night. (Painted a painting) I beat it last night. (Beat a game) I ran it last year. (Ran a marathon)

"Where's the chili?" "Oh, I ate it last night, sorry." (Ate the chili)

"Mmm, this chili is good, isn't it?" "Sure is, I had some last night." (Ate some of the chili)


You are right. Eat is generally considered to have a telic (<- technical term) reading when the object is definite. (See e.g. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=deEUDAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA71&ot...)

"Half my chili is gone!"

"Sorry, I ate it."

Edit:

"This chili is no good!"

"What's wrong with it, I ate it?"


"Half my chili is gone!" "Sorry, I ate it."

"it" in that construction means "half my chili". Just as in "My southern, three-day-cooked chili is gone", "it" is "(their) southern, three-day-cooked chili".

"This chili is no good!" "What's wrong with it, I ate (some of) it?"

The parenthetical is omitted but implied. Unless they're referring to the chili that is inside your digestive tract?


Agreed. I found the story plausible except that Scott Forstall singlehandedly ate an entire king salmon in one night. /s

Unfortunately, I was only an intern then new-grad during those early aughts of Forstall's reign. He was quite a brilliant man, very quick-witted and always one step ahead of you. Steve Jobs entrusted all of Apple's coolest projects with him for that reason. So all the biggest demos you saw on stage were under Forstall's leadership at one point or another.

However, if you wanted to work on those cool projects, it meant you had to work with Forstall and he was intimidating to say the least. A mini-SJ people internally would call him. Any feature you were working on that needed SJ approval went through Forstall's monocle eye first.

On the one hand, he was one of the few leads that would remember my name and say hi to me when passing in the hall. On the other, I was scared to look him in the eye lol. I do think he held his reports to unreasonably high bars by expecting long hours of work and he seemed to find joy in seeing people squirm. It was weird.


For some reason it's always the people who you try to avoid that end up learning your name the quickest. I knew a VP known to encourage harsh working conditions that I tried to steer clear of, but he always took the effort of remembering my name and coming over to my desk to say hi lol

I worked in Scott’s group. He was on top of everything and was passionately involved. We would get in a room and pitch all (yes, all) ideas/changes to him and sometimes Steve. He had no tolerance for bugs, and quality was number one. He was like that coach you thought hated you, then you realized he cared.

I wish Scott was running Apple today not Tim Cook. I love skeuomorphic interfaces. Tim Cook is a failure in my opinion. There have been no interesting products under him, nor any compelling features added to existing products. He is simply coasting on the trajectory set by Steve Jobs.

Uh, the apple watch? Airpods?

While I personally hate skeuomorphic interfaces, I'll mostly agree with your analysis on Tim Cook. He's an amazing supply chain whiz, but he's not a product guy. The software quality at apple has also plummeted.


>mid-spec smartwatch that took three iterations to get to the level of polish its competitors were at during its first one

>bluetooth headphones

I don't think these count as interesting. I'm glad they exist, but they're pretty dull.


I agree we haven't seen the Apple "Blockbusters" everyone got used to. Although many (like yourself?) are looking for leadership in creativity and higher risk endeavors, Tim Cook certainly has more business acumen which should not be undervalued. Does that lead to a boring company? Possibly.

How the hell did he let the original Maps out of the door?

I don't understand what people wanted Apple to do differently with Apple Maps?

Maps is core to the iPhone, given it's a device you use out and about. Google had them under their thumb, because they were dependent on their data, and were denying them features[0]. They couldn't wait until the data was better because that's not how it works, you need to collect data to improve data.

I don't see what they could have done differently? Even in hindsight this seems like the right call?

This whole situation sounds like people not liking to use a mediocre product, but just because the product is mediocre doesn't always mean it wasn't the right decision to release it, from both a company strategy perspective, and from a consumer benefit perspective (if you believe competition is healthy for consumers).

[0]: https://daringfireball.net/2012/09/get_the_fainting_chair


Exactly. There is no way Apple could wait until feature parity which still may not ever happen in some areas. There comes a point where they have to get what they have out the door and continue to iterate. One could argue Apple released too early, but it was going to be bumpy no matter when they released.

> There is no way Apple could wait until feature parity

Why?

A startup would eventually need to start generating funds, or at least prove themselves in the market to convince investors. But Apple? They could have kept Maps in the oven for another five years if need be. Similar to how they secretly kept Intel builds of OS X in their back pocket for years.


The blog post I linked to above specifically addresses this (https://daringfireball.net/2012/09/get_the_fainting_chair). The specific consequences of delaying Apple Maps would have been either:

1. Not having turn-by-turn directions on Apple Maps, arguable the single most important feature for a mapping app.

2. Share more of Apple users data with Google in order to support Google Latitude. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Latitude)

So we have two choices: Not have the single most important feature in a mapping app, or violating one of the basic tentpole features the iOS brand, user privacy. So obviously they went with the third option, launch their own mapping service despite its flaws, and I've never heard a convincing argument that that wasn't the best choice.


Oh, that's interesting—their deal with Google was about to expire!

Still—could Apple not strike deals with other vendors? It's not as though Google was the only game in town, especially back then when TomTom was a much bigger deal. At minimum, they could have used their leverage to negotiate with various players—Apple is good at that.

Nokia in particular had a fantastic mapping app, with turn-by-turn directions that worked really well on my N9. They still sell access to this API today: https://www.here.com/

I'm really not convinced that rushing an in-house app out the door was the only possible option.


Because Maps most likely needed user feedback and crowd sourced data collection to be improved. The longer the wait the bigger the gap to Google Maps that had been live for many years, happily collecting data about what streets are open, where the stores are, how the traffic works in a certain locations and so on

Could Apple not collect data while users were using their iPhones normally (possible inside of the Apple-written, but Google-API-based maps app)?

Explicit user feedback is harder to gather, but I didn't realize Apple Maps leaned so heavily on that. I've certainly never submitted anything...


> Similar to how they secretly kept Intel builds of OS X in their back pocket for years.

I had a G4 PB and then an Intel MBP. The transition was better than expected, but certainly not without bumps. In a lot of ways, it was similar to maps in that to really finish they had to get it out the door.


Honestly, I assume the Maps fiasco came down to pricing, and Google was surprised that Apple chose to walk rather than take Gruber's option #2. Frankly, so am I. Map data sufficient for turn-by-turn isn't cheap and Apple largely plans and devlops on a yearly cadence. It's essentially impossible to produce the data quality needed in the WWDC-driven-development timeframe.

> This whole situation sounds like people not liking to use a mediocre product, but just because the product is mediocre doesn't always mean it wasn't the right decision to release it, from both a company strategy perspective, and from a consumer benefit perspective

Strong disagree. A mediocre product damages the brand and a mediocre navigation service can kill people: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_GPS. Releasing mediocre products when a better option is available reeks of putting the company ahead of the consumer, frankly, and it's no wonder people ditched Apple Maps at the earliest opportunity.


You're ignoring the meat of the #2 choice, Google wanted more user data, location data at that. In order for that to be a good deal, you'd have to think that Google Maps is more valuable than privacy as a tentpole feature of iOS. Which I think is clearly false, especially since Google Maps was obviously still going to have an app on iOS, and this time on Apple's terms.

> privacy as a tentpole feature of iOS

At the time I was a Nokia Linux user, but as far as I can tell, privacy was not a selling point of iOS in 2012. The 'fundamental human right' phrasing is relatively new[1], and privacy isn't really mentioned at all before 2012[2]. It feels like this was a response to where Apple was failing than a principled stand, considering 3 years prior Wayback machine shows only a 404 for the privacy page. I can see how some folks might infer from this that Apple leaned into privacy as a means of spiting a supplier.

> Google Maps was obviously still going to have an app on iOS

If I was a paying Apple customer, I'd sure appreciate having that option at launch rather than months later with no firm date. Even in 2019 my real estate agent insists that Apple Maps is garbage, I can only imagine the chaos in 2012.

[1]: https://www.google.com/?q=%22site:asciiwwdc.com%20%22fundame... [2]: https://asciiwwdc.com/


They could've put a "beta" badge on Maps like they did with Safari, and kept Google Maps preinstalled alongside it. Perhaps many people conflated the hilariously bad looking 3D Flyover bugs with core functionality and the initial impression stuck.

Have two maps apps installed by default on a new iPhone...? I can't imagine Apple doing that under any circumstances.

I'm not sure about the "Beta" tag, it doesn't strike me as a terrible idea. But collecting refining map data is a project measured in decades, when should the Beta tag be removed?


Installed by default, I can't imagine.

However, Apple has certainly offered beta downloads before. Bootcamp Assistant was an optional "Beta" download before it was included with OS X in Leopard. Safari also began its life as a Beta web browser from Apple, even as there were alternatives from other companies.


That’s a very Samsung/Microsoft like approach. Besides that, the Maps app was always made by Apple. They used Google’s data. When they switched over to their own data, it still carried your data over.

I think the answer is quite simple. They should have launched as a beta or public preview ‘This is going to be great, it’s got these great new features but we need everyone to help us improve the data”

> I don't see what they could have done differently? Even in hindsight this seems like the right call?

Put in enough resources so that it wasn't mediocre. If it's that important to do, it's important to do well.


I do not believe that Apple (a design company), can match the quality of Google (an algorithmic organization company), simply by allocating resources.

You can read two excellent essays by Justin O'Beirne on Google[0] vs. Apple's[1] methodologies for creating and organizing mapping data. It seems a straightforward conclusion that mapping is simply a problem that's a better fit for Google as a company than Apple.

Also note how slowly Apple's strategy has been rolled out (3% of the U.S.’s area in 2018), waiting for this work to be rolled out simply wasn't tenable.

[0]: https://www.justinobeirne.com/google-maps-moat

[1]: https://www.justinobeirne.com/new-apple-maps


Were you around for what came after him?

>He had no tolerance for bugs, and quality was number one.

Not something I could say about recent iOS. What are you thoughts on the whole Map fiasco?

Still he had stayed at Apple.


Still wished* he had stayed at Apple.

I think software quality has gone way down at Apple since Scott Forstall left.

Side note, I still have fond memories of working at 2XL Games and on ESPN X-Games Snocross and it was one of the first games shown on the iPad on stage by Scott Forstall that highlighted the ability to run on iPhone and scale up to iPad [1]. We had made the game in 9 weeks which was very fast from ATV Offroad, adding snowmobiles for the "slednecks" as they are called. The game launched and while we were working on our next game, we tuned into the keynote as all devs did in 2010, it was Jan 27, 2010, we saw our game come up on stage and no one knew it was happening. It was one of those killer moments that made the work worth it. Turns out it was largely because Steve Jobs was on the board at ABC/Disney and ESPN properties got promoted.

We later made the first game on Apple GameCenter matchup/networking in Ricky Carmichael's Motocross Matchup. The early versions of the Apple systems were actually quite solid for matchup/networking. This was before Android had Google Game Play Services so we eventually swapped it for a platform agnostic networking system but still lots of fun.

I was lucky enough to be lead game dev on both and got to help with the direction/game design as well especially on Ricky Carmichael's Motocross Matchup which is still pretty high up in racing on iOS.

Overall, I really feel iOS was a more solid/robust platform back then and trailed off after iOS 6 in terms of speed/quality, I think that has alot to do with Scott Forstall.

I think Scott Forstall was required for Steve Jobs to really make NeXT and iPhone happen. The way he was let go after the Apple Maps push, which I am sure was pushed out early, was disheartening.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20100130175713/http://wireless.i...


I'm a little shocked to hear this, but I've had a similar fish story with Microsoft!

I interned at Microsoft my junior year of college. Toward the end, I interviewed with Google and got a competing offer.

But during the negotiation process, the recruiters had Chris Jones (Windows Live VP at the time) call me to try talking me into joining Microsoft. He told me his story about how at the start of his career, when he was comparing offers from a few companies, Microsoft (relatively unknown at the time) sent him a salmon from Pike Place Market --- and that gesture convinced him to accept Microsoft's offer.

Two days later, a package of smoked salmon on ice from Pike Place Market showed up at my door in Tucson, AZ.

(I went to Google for non-salmon-related reasons, but sending me food mostly became a reminder that Google was offering free food as a perk!)


The series of Microsoft fish stories here is truely bizarre. Surely there is a more universally agreeable gift food?

I think you may be missing how central absurdly high quality salmon is to the northwest.

It's the local Thing. Lots of places have that sort of strong geographic tie to an art or food or what-have-you; the only odd part here is that most local foods don't travel well -- but smoked salmon obviously can and does.


Who doesn't like Salmon?

Vegan applicants would not find it funny.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2018/08/06/who-ar...

Vegans at most account for 3% of the population. In a corporate entity that large, it doesn’t matter if you miss a hire or not. So if a vegan was offended, I’m sure no one cared and was happy to offer the job to someone else.


A large portion of MS employees are vegetarian because many Hindus are vegetarian. At MS Build they always have both vegetarian and Indian vegetarian options.

Yea, but ... due to the visa situation the vast majority of those folks are not getting the maximal courtship, so to speak.

You are aware that there are many, many Hindus who are US citizens, yes? Who have been in the country since birth or early childhood?

There are, but I suspect they are not as prevalent in the software engineering profession? Even the CEOs of Google and Microsoft took that track.

If it doesn't matter if you miss a hire or not, why would you be going through the effort of buying a large fancy salmon and shipping it to the candidate? You could just not do that and not care about the ones you miss since they don't matter.

That's a very dismissive attitude to your hires, and it makes the salmon even more pointless.

If you want to make a point about how good the salmon is, invite them and treat them to the best salmon in town, instead of dumping a dead fish that nobody asked for on their doorstep.


Hey good idea, deliberately exclude people who don't eat meat. You know who might end up being CEO level material

"Don't send him the nice fish, he might be a vegetarian AND might be the next CEO"... Yeah, huh, I don't think that's the usual concern. I think many people wouldn't want to hire a person that takes offense from a misplaced but nice gesture, anyways - I would not.

If you're a hiring manager and can't even be bothered to know the most basic facts about me and that I might not like that piece or pork or salmon for religious or ethical reasons then that about says it all.

>If you're a hiring manager and can't even be bothered to >know the most basic facts about me and that I might not like >that piece or pork or salmon for religious or ethical >reasons then that about says it all.

If you are a hiring manager and you are attempting to learn someone's religious or dietary beliefs prior to hiring then then you should be sued/fired.


The video posted shows Forstall wondering if the dead fish was a threat. He might be making this up but the situation is strange at best, confusing, offensive or threatening at worst. The person doing the hiring screwed up, and clearly did need to do better.

If you're of that view then why could you possibly think sending a dead fish to a candidate without checking first is ok in the first place.

And yes when I've taken my candidates for lunch as part of recruiting I always ask for any dietary preferences so i can find a place that accommodates. It's just commonsense.


> Yeah, huh, I don't think that's the usual concern

Keep in mind that they missed out on Forstall. It seems unlikely he would have ended up CEO, but that’s not as far fetched as the prospects for most hires.


Maybe the failure rate had been acceptable, ain’t fix if it ain’t broke style.

I wonder if it has been the inspiration for Steve Jobs’ “Japanese are like dead fish washing up” quote, if Microsoft was sending dead fish left and right around California and he was sick of it.


I'm shocked that the package apparently didn't contain a message. I mean, why would send a fish without a persuasive note?

Because that wouldn't be simultaneously grandiose, cheap, and tone-deaf.

"There's more where that came from."

I have to wonder about the competence of a hiring manager who thinks that sending a candidate (who just rejected their offer) a dead fish in a package, without any other context, is a good idea.

But then again, we are talking about tech recruiting, so it’s probably not all that surprising.


I start to wonder if he might be loosely summarizing the story in a way that makes it more amusing.

Like maybe there was a card explaining it and he either threw it away without reading or left it out of the story. Maybe the parallels to The Godfather are something he thought of later.

Or maybe you're right, and whoever sent it was kinda dopey and thought a fellow Washington State person would immediately get the reference, and he didn't.


Like when you say dead fish, it sounds bad. But consider the alternative—a gift of live salmon would be far more annoying and less convenient for most people.

That is a fascinating and disturbingly abusive prank - make someone responsible for killing a huge fish. What would they do - take it to a vet or a fishmonger or find a hammer? Call wildlife services for what you would buy in the supermarket the next day? It would be a pretty weird position to be in.

It would have been packaged in a way that should have been obvious to anyone "This is a gift of fine food", so I find it hard to believe he would have actually perceived it as some kind of threat, except in a kind of tongue in cheek way.

But sometimes it's important to lie a little bit to make a story better.


> But then again, we are talking about tech recruiting, so it’s probably not all that surprising.

The people recruiting went out and really tried to be different and do something out of the box.

Because of them we have this great story, and something at least a bit dear to Scott Forstall who clearly uses hyperbole since it wasn't a 'dead fish', it was in ice which normally we would say fresh fish when not telling stories.


Meh, things in life don't need to be so serious. I'd get a good laugh out of it.

Microsoft execs were never known for their sense of humor

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EtuDS0ntaJY


Somehow I pictured it'd be this one: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=C2Zd3HYKCRE

To be fair, the early Silicon Valley was delightfully dorky:

https://www.macrumors.com/2012/05/10/steve-jobs-appeared-in-...


I saw this as a matter of culture: for some people a dead fish is a threat. In the Pacific Northwest though, especially if you knew it was from Pike Place, then it's a tremendous gift.

If I wanted to really get this guy to change course I'd have Bill Gates call to try and persuade him. But then again I am bad at puzzle tests so I could probably never get hired there. Maybe if you are great at puzzle solving sending him a dead fish has some greater meaning that eludes me.

From what I've heard, MS stopped doing puzzle interviews a couple decades ago.

But stack-ranking ...


I wish Forstall would do a long form oral history with the Computer History Museum (usually around 2-3 hours) even if there was that shorter interview on stage there in 2017. He has a gift for storytelling.

Totally agree. The one with Jon Rubinstein [0] was illuminating in a way none of the biographies have been.

[0] Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJxElfc0N9E Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47bNpIbCaL8


Also if you want to learn about the NeXT days (which live on in many ways!) check out the ones with Blaine Garst and Steve Naroff.

Just watched the Computer History Museum interview with Scott Forstall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjR2vegUBAo

Scott gives an incredible story about how Steve Jobs saved his life was really moving.


I thought that was a bizarre moment of the interview, where he defended acupuncture and Steve Jobs bringing a practitioner of his choosing to Stanford Hospital to intervene. Jobs was the last person one should've looked to for medical advice, but maybe I'm only saying this with the benefit of hindsight.

Well it is also worth considering they had tried everything in ( the time ) modern science and medicine and it obviously wasn't working.

He also related this story in his interview with the Computer History Museum: https://youtu.be/IiuVggWNqSA?t=662

I'm still upset that, at 48:36, Forstall offered to give his thoughts on what we could be doing with AI that we're not, but Markoff decided to move on.


yeah it's somewhat of a running pet peeve of mine when interviewers dont follow up on even the most blatantly interesting things the interviewee says. interviewing is a dark art.

Why don't you just ask him directly?

How?


Zero replies to any tweets.

I was interviewed by Forstall (many many years ago, back when that was actually sane) and he asked me one of those annoying puzzle questions - don't get me wrong I love those questions, they're just useless as interview questions.

He was personable enough, but I feel that question also coloured my opinion for many years.


Care to share question any way?

IIRC it is as follows:

You are given two bags, and 10 marbles, 5 are black, 5 are white. You have to put the marbles into the two bags, and then the interviewer (I guess?) shuffles the bags and lets you pick a a bag to select a marble from. You "win" if you get a black marble (or white).

The problem is essentially: how do you distribute the ten marbles between the two bags to maximize you probability of getting a specific color.

My first answer was to point out the window behind him and say "look a zeppelin!" and he turned :D

Like all such problems the actual answer is obvious once you realize it or if you already know it.


> Like all such problems the actual answer is obvious once you realize it or if you already know it.

I believe this problem is really trying to get you to formulate an abstract problem mathematically. It's not a trick question, it can be solved with math.

In this problem we can start with all 10 marbles in one bag (bag A). We have two degrees of freedom: how many black marbles to put in the other bag (bag B) (call this variable b) and how many white marbles to put in the other bag (call this variable w).

0 <= b <= 5

0 <= w <= 5

1 <= b + w <= 9 (can't have everything in one bag)

These three constraints form a hexagon.

Probability of picking black from bag A: (5-b)/(10-b-w)

Probability of picking black from bag B: b/(b+w)

Probability of picking black given probability of picking bag A = 0.5: 0.5((5-b)/(10-b-w)) + 0.5(b/(b+w))

Now we know that the problem has two symmetries, bag A vs bag B (b = w) and white vs black (b+w = 5) so our hexagonal solution space must also be symmetric with probability = 0.5 along those lines. This leaves just 6 points to evaluate: (w=0, b=1), (w=0, b=2), (w=0, b=3), (w=0, b=4), (w=1, b=2), (w=1, b=3)

Manually calculating the probability at each we find that the respective probabilities are ~ 0.722, 0.688, 0.643, 0.583, 0.547, 0.542

This means the best probability of picking a black ball is obtained when 1 black ball is moved to the other bag.


This is a good question. If you put one black marble in one bag and all the other marbles in the other bag, you get the best win percentage.

What makes it a good question? We don't even know the role OP was interviewing for!

Its a simple analytical question to see if you can perform simple optimization under constraints. It exercises your analytical skills without requiring any particular mathematical background.

Any high level engineering job will involve some proficiency with computing expectations and solving constrained problems, for scaling or building supply chains. Programming is not necessarily a skills based trade like carpentry, some high level thinking always helps.


Straight up engineering IC position (webkit many many many many years ago, long before chrome existed, before safari for windows, before ye olde iphone)

Do you know the winning color beforehand and does your selection of the bag allow you to physically handle it? If so, you put one marble of the winning color in one bag, all the rest in the other, and then you select the lighter bag.

This is quite good question with an intuitive answer (at least to me): 50%/50% marble distribution maximizes the chances of getting specific color with a random selection.

Unless you are allowed to ask questions or gain some prior knowledge, isn't the outcome of picking a black marble (given that you have to put all marbles into the bags) 50%?

~50/50 -> .5x(2/5) + .5x(3/5) = .5

~0/1 -> .5x0 + .5x1 = .5


You can’t do that though. There are only 5 marbles of each colour so there’s no way to split them so that both bags have the same distribution. Thus your closest to 50/50 would be 2 black and 2 white in one bag, 3 black and 3 white in the other, giving you a 0.5 probability of guessing correctly.

You’re better off putting one black marble into one bag and all of the rest of the marbles into the other. That way if you pick the bag with just one marble you win by default and if you pick the other bag you have a 4/9 probability of getting a black one. This gives you a total probability of 13/18 = 0.72.


I suck at these riddles but can you choose what color you want and is a difference in size of the bags evident?

If so I would put all of one color in one bag, all of other color and 2 of the first color in other bag.

Now I have two different size bags one with all one color and one with very little of that color.

If I can pick bag and color I want I pick the small bag and say I want that color.

If I can't pick bag but I can pick color when they choose bag I choose whatever color is most likely to be in bag.

If I have no choice in anything I would always have the 50% chance of whatever color was assigned to me, this makes me assume I have some choice.

on edit: obviously distribution is an example, probably smartest distribution is one in one bag, rest in other bag.

on edit2: realized I described separation of colors poorly.


This type of question is like magic trick. The questions sets up a "familiar stage" or 'context' to limit your thinking. It's up to you to do the magic trick.

There is obvious answer.


Hmm, I think 50/50 is the worst you could do. What if you put 1 black marble in 1 bag and the other marbles in the other bag. Then even a random choice would get you .5 * 100% + .5 * 4/9 = 72.2%

And also, if you can look at or touch the bag before picking it, then just pick the one the looks like it has only 1 vs. 9 marbles!


You can definitely do worse than 50/50: just flip your solution and put a single white marble in one of the bags. By the way, your solution--single black marble in one bag, all other marbles in the other bag--is optimal; do you know of a way to prove it? Besides just exhaustive enumeration, that is.

Exhaustive enumeration is a proof even if it's not very satisfying :-). For example, a big part of the Four colour theorem is a big enumeration of all configurations.

wouldn't putting one black marble in one bag and all the others into the second bag give you the highest chance of being able to draw a black marble? .5 * 1 + .5 * 4/9 = .72

1) One black marble in bag A, the rest in bag B. Weigh the bags

2) Put the white marbles in your pocket


Drop the white ones in your pocket?

I always wonder if Forstall will ever return to Apple to save it, just like Jobs once did. Surely cash is not a problem right now, to say the least, but I feel the spirit is fading. While there is Apple University and all that, he's probably the closest to a true Jobs replacement that is—or might ever be—around (for better or for worse).

Save it? Apple gets more profitable each day. last year it has 1-year returns of 70%

It's not so much saving the company from bankruptcy, but saving what they stand/stood for. Other than for shareholders, profitability isn't that exciting. If Apple becomes the new old Microsoft, or the next IBM, they're essentially dead to me. When was the last time you felt really inspired by one of their keynotes?

Apple is still the only big tech that is consumer centric.

Microsoft revolves around enterprise. Consumer stuff is just getting the users familiar with they tech.

Amazon is logistics.

Google and Facebook is Ad Tech, they don't add or polish experience if it doesn't make their ads better.

Apple has stayed true in providing excellent products for individuals, not marketing agencies or enterprise. That's what they show every update. Sure you miss an Ipod or Iphone reveal, but they are still showing new things (TouchId, card, watch, and the AirPods that everyone even non apple fans, love), and polishing old one( even listening to feedback like the keyboard stuff).


He is Alan Wilder of Apple

Tried to save it to my watch later list and apparently it's disabled because it's a kids video. Interesting.

How does it determine what is and isn't for kids? I noticed this "feature" watching Tom Lehrer's Poisoning Pigeons In The Park, which is emphatically not for kids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf-eIgFJg4w


For starters, believe there is a option to identify a video when uploading it to YouTube as being for kids. There also settings to identify channel as being made for kids.

It’s a checkbox in Studio, Youtube’s upload and video management tool

You can work around this by searching for the video within YouTube and adding it from the search results page.

Ha, love this!

It’s available with another URL in YouTube, maybe it was re-uploaded:

“Code Break 9.0: Events with Macklemore & Scott Forstall” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bcO-X9thds

Forstall’s part (living in a tent in a park with his parents and brother, being able to afford only 2 minutes of warm shower per week): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bcO-X9thds&t=31m51s

Fish story specifically: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bcO-X9thds&t=35m54s


Not sure why Youtube thinks its a kids video, but the preventing of saving to a list is may be because of child predators targeting videos featuring kids? https://news.yahoo.com/t-suspends-youtube-ad-spending-203549...

https://invidio.us/ likely has no such restrictions, you may wish to check it out.

Why does it prevent you from saving a kids video when you presumably are not a kid?

Because Google clamped all different concerns about kids on YouTube into the one feature without differentiating between videos with kids and videos for kids, and there was concern about recontextualisation of videos with kids as pedophilic erotic by including them into public playlists with inappropriate names and descriptions.

COPA says something like even if the user identifies as an adult through an age gate you are liable for the anti tracking stuff if the content is kid friendly/targeted at kids.

I don't know why the Watch Later feature is disabled for kids videos, but I think it's pretty common for kids to use their parents' accounts, particularly with device sharing (family iPad, or kid uses parent's phone).

A few years ago, oh hang on, more than a few years ago, Jobs was still alive - I was training at a muay thai gym south of bangkok and I met the executive chef on Larry Ellison's yacht. He was training to get fit, because a wealthy couple had told him if he could lose weight they'd set him up with a cooking show. Jobs often borrowed Larry's yacht, and he had galley stocked with everything Jobs wanted, except that Jobs wanted fresh fish from a particular Hawaiian fishing company, fresh every day. So there was a young, beautiful woman who flew to meet them every day that Jobs was on board, wherever they were in the world, who would charm her way through customs with a big dead fish packed in ice.

Guess he liked fish.


So he interviewed at two really competitive companies. One CEO offered him to skip the entire interview chain after chatting to him for a few minutes. The other sent him a desperate gift by mail after he turned down their offer.

Scott must be really good at interviews! :P


Scott starts speaking around minute 32.

Actual video starts at 2:06.

I heard no sound but saw his mouth moving, thought something was wrong with my Airpods Bluetooth connection, so I kept disconnect and reconnect it lol.




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