Former employees shed light on Apple's internal corporate culture

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  • Reply 21 of 104
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Not anything here we didn't already suspect. It's ultra-secretive almost to the point of paranoia and it basically moves based on Steve's whims. It's a cult that can do things that are amazingly good and amazingly bad,
  • Reply 22 of 104
    86hawkeye86hawkeye Posts: 14member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Sounds pretty good to me. Personally I'd find working in a corporate environment to be extremely boring unless the people at the top instilled everyone with a sense excitement and vision. Sounds like Apple does quite well in that department. I think all those trivial perks that some companies offer, like free gyms and snacks, are incredibly silly.



    Given what they do and the nature of their business, Apple does not seem to me to be overly draconian.
  • Reply 23 of 104
    aifakeaifake Posts: 1member
    I thought I'd toss in my 2 cents since I have a relative who works there, and I've visited him several times (I made an anonymous account to post this just in case I say anything that would get him in trouble).



    First of all "Steve wants" projects are definitely given top priority. But the fact is that EVERY product needs to be approved by Steve before it gets announced/goes on sale. The exception being minor updates or updates that don't change the form/function (like new processors in an existing product).



    The "something bigger" mindset is pretty true. Most people don't really have a problem keeping their NDA. The example of not telling your spouse what you're working on isn't that big of a deal - especially since most engineer's wives don't want a detailed description of what their husbands do.



    I have been in this relative's office, he's in one of the Infinite Loop buildings. The process to enter the building (as a visitor) is pretty simple. You put in your name, the name of the employee that will be your "escort", what you're there for, and who you're representing on a computer in the entrance area. The employee that you are there to see will tap their badge on a card reader like the ones on the electronic locks. This tells the computer to print out your visitor badge. We then go through the glass doors, up a set of stairs, and then down a hallway to this person's office. That's it, nothing insane. He has shown me the DOOR (not the inside) of the lab he works in. The door goes into the lab, there aren't multiple doors to get in there, but you do have to badge in. I could, however, believe the multiple doors/locks being present in certain parts of the iPhone group's real estate as well as Johnny Ive's Industrial Design lab.



    There are security cameras, but not in the labs/secretive areas. The security guys are some of the lowest paid people there - do you think they're going to let them see everything that's being worked on? There are motion detectors in the labs that allow security to know how many people are in the room, but not what they're doing.



    The black cloth thing is true - but only if there is someone in the room that isn't authorized to see what you're doing.



    One thing about the company gym - it's not exactly in a convenient location. It's a couple blocks away from the Infinite Loop buildings. However there is a basketball court at Infinite Loop. There is also a nice big grassy area in the center (there are even squirrels that live there) and there is a group that gets together and plays volleyball during lunch. I find it amusing that it's actually possible to be trapped in this central area and unable to leave. You can't get through any doors without a security badge except an emergency exit in the basketball court.



    Yes there is an underground area...it's a parking garage.



    Oh, and Cafe Macs is definitely awesome. They have a fantastic selection and it's all really good.
  • Reply 24 of 104
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post


    Steve Jobs=Christ the lord

    Apple Inc=THE CHURCH!



    Not that I want to add to this, much, but wouldn?t Apple equate to the religion, Cupertino to Mecca, Vatican, et al., and Apple Stores to the church, synagogue, temple, et. al?



    Also, If Audous Huxley would have written A Brave New World today would he have still used a letter ?T??





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Sounds pretty good to me. Personally I'd find working in a corporate environment to be extremely boring unless the people at the top instilled everyone with a sense excitement and vision.



    Me too. You want to feel your division, job and work is important and nothing says job security than CEO taking a direct interest in what you are doing. But, if your goal is to skate by working as little as possible then that sort of scrutiny wouldn?t be appealing.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Totally agree. Behavioral scientists have long studied these things, and have found that job-related factors fall into two categories: "motivating" factors (e.g., job content, a sense of purpose) and "hygiene" factors (e.g., salary/perks, size of office etc). Those studies show that what truly motivates people and earns the commitment of employees is the former. As you say, the latter is what is considered "cool' in the public realm, and yet buys little by way of motivation or commitment.



    Interesting post, I can?t say I?ve ever heard the word hygiene used in that sense.
  • Reply 25 of 104
    johnnyb0731johnnyb0731 Posts: 326member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Sounds pretty good to me. Personally I'd find working in a corporate environment to be extremely boring unless the people at the top instilled everyone with a sense excitement and vision. Sounds like Apple does quite well in that department. I think all those trivial perks that some companies offer, like free gyms and snacks, are incredibly silly.



    I agree which is what has made working at NASA the past few years incredibly depressing (aside from them supporting me in my apple product habit). Though the trivial perks are a nice bonus as long as the work is good
  • Reply 26 of 104
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,819member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dewindj View Post


    Sounds awful.



    I think you forget that Awful is AAPL trading under $20/share. Awful is Michael Spindler or Gil Amelio being unable to generate relevant or exciting products, or even release a proper successor to Mac OS Classic. Awful was Apple slipping into irrelevance instead of leading the pack.



    Steve Jobs is right. When it comes to what is important, it's not free snacks that matter: it's competent leadership focused on making Apple successful.
  • Reply 27 of 104
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,924member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Not that I want to add to this, much, but wouldn?t Apple equate to the religion, Cupertino to Mecca, Vatican, et al., and Apple Stores to the church, synagogue, temple, et. al?



    Well, in Christianity, at least, The Church means the people more so than the building, so, technically, the customers would be The Church.
  • Reply 28 of 104
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    IMHO food at the Cupertino campus cafeteria is excellent, the prices are very reasonable, and no employee should be complaining about that.
  • Reply 29 of 104
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    Not anything here we didn't already suspect. It's ultra-secretive almost to the point of paranoia and it basically moves based on Steve's whims. It's a cult that can do things that are amazingly good and amazingly bad,



    See, where you see things like paranoia, whims and cult .... I see strong leadership, being a visionary and having a passion for excellence. We do agree on amazingly good 'tho and on balance I think Apple has been "amazingly good" many time more than they have been amazingly bad. .... just my 2¢.
  • Reply 30 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Sounds fascinating. Not many companies can evoke that type of commitment and sense of purpose. Most companies would kill for it.



    To those who think it is all a bit draconian or pale at the thought that things happen only when the boss snaps his/her fingers, well, you are either naive or have never worked in a real company. It's not a democracy. Things are done by fiat.



    And, if someone has a problem with it, they can always leave.



  • Reply 31 of 104
    I'd work there for nothing just for the experience.
  • Reply 32 of 104
    The culture I experienced during my 8 year tenure at Apple was wonderful and highlighted by the product announcements. I will never forget the original iPod coming out. It was a very big deal but no one had an idea of the huge global impact it would have. I made a lot of money off that little device since I was in sales (HighEd). Previous to Apple I spent 3 years on the phones at Dell which I found to be a good experience as well but those were the golden years at Dell. The culture at Dell was very high pressure which was good for me, bad for some others but the top sales people loved it both inbound and outbound. I was only outbound at Apple and when the iMac first appeared, then the blue G3 with it's side door. Things are not as easy going at Apple anymore but I know dozens of people still there and they like it over and above any present opportunity out there. The huge opportunities in sales aren't what they used to be maybe but that is like any company where you stay in the same division or territory. I miss Apple and the people I worked with. My one complaint is that Steve never had any regard for us in sales. He thought it's all in the marketing. He is a genius marketer but he should have primed the pump with an appearance to one of those sales national sales meetings every 4-5 years... and don't get on the same elevator with him if that ever happens.
  • Reply 33 of 104
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dewindj View Post


    Who is to say such accomplishments could not be done in a better environment? It is, of course, a personal choice to operate in a firm like that. So I can't fault Apple. But it certainly does not sound appealing.



    Then why are so many people willing to sacrifice their first born to get the chance to work for Apple? We fanboys are lampooned for drinking the Kool-aid and being lemmings. What commitment must it take to work for the company then? People proudly post their Appe job application forms, even if they didn't get hired.
  • Reply 34 of 104
    s4mb4s4mb4 Posts: 267member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post


    I'd work there for nothing just for the experience.



    apply for a position then and tell them your salary requirements are $0.
  • Reply 35 of 104
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Funny how for a company that is so secretive, we know about how they operate. It comes from various sources of course, but we still know a lot I think. We know when most new products like iMacs are going to be rolled out, we know that every september we get new iPods (although I can't really think what else they could do with them) and we also know how they operate internally when using top secret products. Of course we don't know the in and outs of every detail, but we know enough.
  • Reply 36 of 104
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    My experience at Apple:



    The Cafe is a set of gourmet bistros.

    The Gym discount for any private club/gym is excellent. Most corporations in the world don't off to cover most of your costs.

    The 50% off one system, per year and then up to 3 others for family/friends at 15% is stellar. The best you get at Intel is a CPU discount.

    The vending machines? Seriously? I don't pay you to get unhealthy. You're fired.

    Coffee is free, including Lattes, espressos, etc. I pay for you to be awake.

    The 12 hour shifts were common and I never noticed them. I enjoyed my work.



    Left because of a divorce and cost of living was surpassing my pay and it was just a fact of life in the dot.com bubble era. Rates for housing for a 1 bedroom flat in Cupertino was 1400-1600/month and I wasn't living off of 80k.



    To complain about the lack of massages, free food and all the lack of an olympic pool and NCAA football level weight training facilities is a joke.



    90% of the staff never even went to the gym. There's over 15,000 staff members in Cupertino. You'd need an enormous facility for fitness on-campus to meet the total membership. Golds Gym and [24hr/Oz Fitness] was two blocks from my flat in San Francisco. Volleyball was used by many in engineering. Foosball and more were what we brought over from NeXT.



    Go work for a start-up who brings you more food perks. You don't get public stock options.



    No other IT company [if you aren't an introverted sod] will let you network internally like Apple.



    Go work for Intel, Oracle, the entire Banking/Financial Industries, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and more. You'll wish you never left. I do.
  • Reply 37 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dewindj View Post


    Sounds awful.



    depends who you ask
  • Reply 38 of 104
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,819member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post


    apply for a position then and tell them your salary requirements are $0.



    The position of CEO pays $1.00/year.
  • Reply 39 of 104
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Sounds pretty good to me. Personally I'd find working in a corporate environment to be extremely boring unless the people at the top instilled everyone with a sense excitement and vision. Sounds like Apple does quite well in that department.



    Agree

    Quote:

    I think all those trivial perks that some companies offer, like free gyms and snacks, are incredibly silly.



    Disagree

    Charging for use of a gym when you spend 60+ hours at the office is silly. Coffee and snacks may be different as long as they are charged at cost or nicely subsidized.



    Here is a very interesting video related to this subject (motivation): (Steve Jobs is even mentioned as an example)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&sns=em
  • Reply 40 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    So if you spent 3 weeks perfecting a subroutine or getting hardware design just right, you'd be okay seeing it splashed in AI or used on anther company's product?



    That's not what he said and you know it. If you want to take a look at another company with a leak track-record that's as good, if not better than Apple's, you need look no further than Nintendo. And I've heard of no complaints regarding their work culture.
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