The Pirates of the Macintosh team lived with a similar range of emotions. The day-to-day work was grueling because of the unbelievably tight deadlines and because Steve, the Pirate captain, was often not satisfied, demanding the work just accomplished be done over and done better or even differently because he had come up with a new idea he liked even more. As the launch date neared, some of the software engineers took to grabbing a bit of sleep under their desks, then rousing themselves and getting back to work—never going home for a full night’s sleep.
And yet, despite the pressures and demands, there was a feeling of being privileged to be part of the team, a joyous sense that you were doing something you would always look back on as an experience never to be duplicated. People couldn’t wait to get to work. There was a unique, nearly magical sense of exhilaration.
That’s the kind of Pirate work environment that good managers try to create—the kind where people do the best work they have ever done.