SmartRecruiters Blog

10 Hires That Made Apple Apple

Two Steves changed the world when they joined forces to create Apple in 1977. Both college dropouts, but undeniable geniuses created a brand that has become recognizable world wide. Wozniak, an electrical engineer who had already spent time building computers, was convinced by Steve Jobs to start selling his work. From then on Apple continued to grow and evolved. Jobs and Wozniak not only built amazing and innovative products, but also amazing an innovative teams. These are ten employees that have made a lasting impression on the company and helped make Apple into the brand we know.

10. Jef Raskin initiated the Macintosh Project in 1979 in order to make Apple II less complicated and more consumer friendly. Essentially Raskin knew that the computer of the 80s was only usable if you were a genius or pretty close. Raskin developed programs and functions that allowed the computer to switch functions automatically without the user needing to input a coded command.

9. John Sculley was famously recruited by Steve Jobs with the line, “Do you want to sell sugar water the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” After Sculley’s hire sales at Apple increased from $800 million to $8 billion. Sculley is recognized as one of the leading marketing professionals in the world. [Editor’s Note: This hire became controversial as Sculley later fired Steve Jobs. Maybe Steve – to learn and later return with a new frame of mind – needed to be fired?].

8. Bill Atkinson worked at Apple from 1978 to 1990 as a member of one of Apple’s first development teams. Atkinson is the creator of the MacPaint application, which was the first of its time. He also designed QuickDraw, a 2D graphics library once used in Apple and Macintosh operating systems.

7. Rob Janoff is the graphic designer responsible for the globally recognized Apple logo. In 1977 Janoff was contracted by Apple to create the logo. A bite was drawn in the design so the apple would not be confused for a cherry. The logo went from rainbow, to monochromatic. No matter the color, the apple is an unmistakable trademark for a brand we all know.

6. Katie Cotton is Apple’s VP of communication. While some may think that the product speaks for itself, Apple does not gain attention out of thin air. Cotton manages Apple’s public image, media relations, publicity, and the list goes on. Cotton does PR on steroids for one of the most powerful companies in the world, making her one of the mot powerful women in tech.

5. Scott Forstall is largely responsible for the current Apple operating system. Basically, Apple products as we know them. Everything we see and interact with on Apple is connected to Forstall’s vision for user interface. After a 20 year career at Apple Forstall left a stamp on the product.

4. Chris Espinosa joined Apple at the age of 14 in 1976, and continues to work there today. Espinosa wrote the first published technical manual for Apple II while attending University of California, Berkley as an undergraduate. Espinoza assisted in writing Apple’s first business plan. With over 35 years of employment with Apple, Espinosa has worked on Mac OS, A/UX, HyperCard, Taligent, Kaleida Labs, AppleScript, and Mac OS X. Talk about loyalty and retention.

3. Ron Johnson was the Senior Vice President of Retail for Apple from 2000-2011. Johnson was the brain behind the Apple Store and Genius Bar, giving consumers easy access to Apple products. Johnson’s stores exceeded a billion dollars in annual sales, and in 2011 ranked first among US Retailers averaging $3,085 in sales per square feet.

2. Susan Kare is described as, “the icon of icons.” Kare was the screen graphics and digital font designer at Apple in the 1980s and designed all of Apple’s original icons. Kare’s designs aligned with Wozniak’s and Jobs’ vision of simplicity and purpose. Even as Apple evolves Kare’s designs remain the backbone of their icons.

1. Jonathan Ive is the head of Apple’s design team. Ive has helped create the iMac, iPod, iPhone and the iPad along with a cariety of other Apple products. I bet you have one of these items yourself. Ive’s innovations have entered the homes of hundreds of millions of people, and will continue to do so.


Apple products are recognizable worldwide. With a company as wildly successful and innovative as this you have to know it was not an easy path getting there. Steve Jobs’ notorious work style and Steve Wozniak’s famous innovations created a team that would propel their visions into the future. It goes without saying, if you’re chosen as an Apple employee you are the crème of the crop.

Did I mention we have our own Apple genius at SmartRecruiters? Meet Jason Hegyessy, the lead graphic designer.

Lexie Forman-Ortiz

Lexie Forman-Ortiz is the Community Manager at SmartRecruiters.