I joined SPSS in Feb 2001 - my manager at a previous employer had joined SPSS and then brought me over there with him - I was going to be working on helping with the port of SPSS to run on the IBM iSeries (nee AS/400). The second day of being there I was poached by another manager after finding the reason why Microsoft's Internet Explorer was failing to load a local link - the question was sent out by Jon Fry, who, because of me being such a SPSS newbie at the time, I had no idea who he was!
I worked then on the 'Smuggler' project with so many super talented people: ViAnn, Dick Lieber, Jay, etc. Ralph in an earlier story mentioned "I was used to being a big fish in a small pond, and these guys were so exponentially better than me it was embarrassing" I know exactly what he meant - to see these guys in a UI design meeting was enlightening to say the least. Sometimes those collective meetings got a bit shall we say 'animated' but the incredible thing was, once people left the meeting room there was never any continued arguments. Often you'd see two people who had been 'heatedly' arguing over a particular issue 5 minutes later outside chatting & laughing in a cigarette/coffee break.
After that project, I moved to the "Recommendation Engine" team and had the fantastic opportunity to again work directly with extremely talented staff - Andrew Walaszek, Dave Hess, Rama, etc. We were trying to create a shrink wrapped Recommendation driven website or rather a plugin-in for existing websites and we even had a very helpful customer (a local tea shop) that used the product. We also created a 'high speed scoring engine' that scored large volumes of cases so fast we initially thought it was broken 🙂
When that project wound down, I moved to the core SPSS development team and again was lucky to work with Jon Fry, Tex (from whom I inherited the licensing code and some other very clever FORTRAN code for other parts of the system [Exact Tests anyone?]), Kim Peck, Rick Oliver, Kevin Phelan, Jeff Sweeney, Curtis Browning etc, from whom I learned so very much.
Like many stories before mine, the core theme is how much of a honor/privilege it was to work at SPSS with such great people on a daily basis - a few more I've not already mentioned: Jing, Vikas, BJ Scherer, Jay Kosiba, Dave Watkins, and so many, many more on a less frequent basis.
One of my favorite moments to remember: while working with Andrew, being part of the team to do the technical due diligence for a couple of acquisitions that SPSS made; sitting around a table with Jack Noonan, Doug Dow, (and others from that high level) with their counter parts from the companies that SPSS was planning to acquire was, for a simple software developer like me, a surreal experience!!