In January 1983, Steve Jobs gathered a group of Apple employees at an off-site retreat in Carmel, California. The group was in the midst of developing the Mac, the company’s hugely ambitious personal computer—and some employees felt the project was losing its scrappy spirit. And so Jobs offered a maxim meant to motivate the developers: “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.”
For the Mac team, the message stuck. When they moved to a larger building some months later, in August 1983, they even ran up their very own pirate flag, painted by Mac graphic designer Susan Kare. It featured the traditional skull and crossbones with a twist: “The final touch was the requisite eye-patch, rendered by a large, rainbow-colored Apple logo decal,” Hertzfeld recalls on his website.