Former employees shed light on Apple's internal corporate culture

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  • Reply 61 of 104
    maciekskontaktmaciekskontakt Posts: 1,169member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    My experience at Apple:



    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.





    Go work for Intel, Oracle, the entire Banking/Financial Industries, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and more. You'll wish you never left. I do.





    Have you analysed real reasons of your divorce? Is family lower on your priority list than high-tech job?



    I have different priorities in my life although I know what commitment is and after 20 years at IT with 11 companies including some banks, telecomm e.t.c. I still look for real challenge and cannot find it (all is red tape zones with old farts looking for cheap promotion and how to survive to retirement without taking much risk for acheievement). The challenge should not be destructive to private life however. One can understand that as it takes life experience. the keyword is balance. And yes at my 40-tees I prefer extensive gym and some other activities to bring me relax and perspective on what's next at work. That's unhealthy not do this.



    It is just a matter of life model, but most people mature and understand that independent youth is used (and frequently abused) at corporate work. It is good that they get chance to achieve something and motivation rather than perks is the key, but I have seen abuse of that to degree that people could not build their private lives (yes when I joined some teams that has changed as I am tough on my employers as well and talking very openly on some subjects). I had been on the other side and I still find it exciting to work hard, but then there is a limit... and living cost rises so we do not save money by going to work instead having private activites - we go there to get the money to support our private lives.



    It depends on model and I think Apple has probably good approach (no blaming the company for the model), but there is thin line of balance. I also agree with what Steve Jobs said as far as benefits, but those have to follow the company profits or morale will drop.
  • Reply 62 of 104
    maciekskontaktmaciekskontakt Posts: 1,169member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Because, as is shown in the video I posted a link to in my last post, monetary reward does not increase productivity, loyalty, happiness or creativity, on the contrary. Time Off may be nice but may not be very effective as a bonus. I am not sure that free coffee or snacks, or a free gym have that effect either but it strikes me that to charge employees is just cheap. You put those things in place not really as rewards but in order to create a nice place to work. Apple needs to charge its employees to use a gym? Really? My rational would be to make it free, encourage its use and hopefully create healthier employees.



    But watch that video - research shows that monetary reward does not better or happier employees make. I remember seeing research on this years ago. Kids were asked to solve a problem. Half were given 20 bucks before the task, while the rest were given nada. Guess which group performed best? By a LONG shot.



    One thing to notice that changes perspective of such experiment: kids do not have REAL sense of financial value in life. That takes time. So the experiment conditioned like that is pointless from psychology perspective. It is just a mock experiment like thousands of them just to polarize the public that does not see the detail.



    Try this experiment with really cool toy that is on top of list for the group of kids participating in it. See results then and tell about the experiement.





    You do not build teams by offering some public mojo - you build them by finding personal motivations. People are different and they want to be different to achieve something in reality.
  • Reply 63 of 104
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,234member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Because, as is shown in the video I posted a link to in my last post, monetary reward does not increase productivity, loyalty, happiness or creativity, on the contrary. Time Off may be nice but may not be very effective as a bonus. I am not sure that free coffee or snacks, or a free gym have that effect either but it strikes me that to charge employees is just cheap. You put those things in place not really as rewards but in order to create a nice place to work. Apple needs to charge its employees to use a gym? Really? My rational would be to make it free, encourage its use and hopefully create healthier employees.



    But watch that video - research shows that monetary reward does not better or happier employees make. I remember seeing research on this years ago. Kids were asked to solve a problem. Half were given 20 bucks before the task, while the rest were given nada. Guess which group performed best? By a LONG shot.



    I doubt anyone who works at Apple gives a crap about the price of a $1 packet of pretzels. I can't imagine the price of coffee disturbs them too much either.
  • Reply 64 of 104
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Because, as is shown in the video I posted a link to in my last post, monetary reward does not increase productivity, loyalty, happiness or creativity, on the contrary. Time Off may be nice but may not be very effective as a bonus. I am not sure that free coffee or snacks, or a free gym have that effect either but it strikes me that to charge employees is just cheap. You put those things in place not really as rewards but in order to create a nice place to work. Apple needs to charge its employees to use a gym? Really? My rational would be to make it free, encourage its use and hopefully create healthier employees.



    But watch that video - research shows that monetary reward does not better or happier employees make. I remember seeing research on this years ago. Kids were asked to solve a problem. Half were given 20 bucks before the task, while the rest were given nada. Guess which group performed best? By a LONG shot.



    I'm not arguing that monetary reward necessarily increases productivity (even assuming that was the goal). I'm really only asking why these arbitrary employee perks are seen as being as being somehow essential, when others might be more to the point. Personally, I think they're vanity benefits -- meaning, they are relatively cheap, but make the company's image seem more groovy. The free snacks and soft drinks thing seems to me to be completely embedded in geek culture.



    Above, someone noted that Apple has 16,000 employees in Cupertino, so even the relatively small percentage who use a gym could hardly all use one gym anyway.
  • Reply 65 of 104
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,819member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    That's what Apple fans say now. But what were they saying during those times? Were they acknowledging Apple's problems in those times or just defending Apple like they always do? Is it only after Jobs came back that Apple fans dare to call the previous CEOs awful? And when Mac OS Classic was still around, weren't all those modern operating system features like preemptive multitasking, etc. simply dismissed by Apple fans as "buzzwords"?



    I wouldn't say i was an Apple fan back then. I didn't get my first Mac until 2001, at the release of OS X 10.0. I don't recall anyone liking either Spindler or Amelio. Particularly Amelio. Both were under pressure to reverse the company's fortunes, and they failed. It doesn't matter what the fanboys said because it's not about them. It's about Apple. And the company was doing awful, and they knew it. Why do you think they finally gave up on their own OS and bought NeXT?
  • Reply 66 of 104
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,920member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    ... Why do you think they finally gave up on their own OS and bought NeXT?



    I don't recall anyone being happy with Spindler or Amelio either. Although, I guess you could give Amelio credit, in a way, for saving Apple since they did buy NeXT and bring back Steve Jobs during his tenure.
  • Reply 67 of 104
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,920member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    I'm not arguing that monetary reward necessarily increases productivity...



    It may not always increase productivity, but withholding it can certainly cause resentment and decrease productivity.
  • Reply 68 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LewysBlackmore View Post


    A proper embracement of mediocrity allows the average person to make silly comments like this.



    Any operation that is on the cutting edge or trying to make significant advancements in any arena is going to have this level of commitment expectations. No organization of the many dozens I've experienced that purported a warm and fuzzy environment was on the cutting edge of anything. You accomplish nothing through complacency or striving to make people "feel good about themselves". If you are moving forward in any endevour, you are going to be uncomfortable, protective of your efforts and demanding of your teams. And as an individual, if you do not like the "edge" atmosphere, you will not understand it. It's OK - there are many, many jobs where warm and fuzzy, complacent and average efforts are the norm. But don't expect much excitement, don't expect much challenge, and don't expect to be the one who creates excitement, controversy or advances. If all you worry about is comfort, feeling OK about yourself or being able to live an average life then perhap Apple, Inc is not the sort of company for you.





    A good analogy would be a sports team.
  • Reply 69 of 104
    john galtjohn galt Posts: 960member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    ([Jobs] is not even a major AAPL shareholder).



    He holds about 5 1/2 million shares of AAPL. What do you think he does this for anyway?



    $250 a share, do the math.



    Don't know about exercisable options, they could be worth a lot more.



    I don't care what they're doing or how they're doing it, as long as it's legal and makes me $$$ (not necessarily in that order)
  • Reply 70 of 104
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dewindj View Post


    Sounds awful.



    It is no worst than working in an fDA or other environment with federally mandated security. You get use to it.
  • Reply 71 of 104
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,901member
    When Steve wants something done, it gets done.



    Contrast that with Microsoft. Bill Gates publicly declared that tablet computing is the future. And yet some petty fief lords were undermining the CEO's explicitly stated goals by holding back resources and refusing to adapt their software product to tablet computing.



    For any company to succeed, only one person should be allowed to engage in empire-building: the CEO.
  • Reply 72 of 104
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post


    Have you analysed real reasons of your divorce? Is family lower on your priority list than high-tech job?



    I have different priorities in my life although I know what commitment is and after 20 years at IT with 11 companies including some banks, telecomm e.t.c. I still look for real challenge and cannot find it (all is red tape zones with old farts looking for cheap promotion and how to survive to retirement without taking much risk for acheievement). The challenge should not be destructive to private life however. One can understand that as it takes life experience. the keyword is balance. And yes at my 40-tees I prefer extensive gym and some other activities to bring me relax and perspective on what's next at work. That's unhealthy not do this.



    It is just a matter of life model, but most people mature and understand that independent youth is used (and frequently abused) at corporate work. It is good that they get chance to achieve something and motivation rather than perks is the key, but I have seen abuse of that to degree that people could not build their private lives (yes when I joined some teams that has changed as I am tough on my employers as well and talking very openly on some subjects). I had been on the other side and I still find it exciting to work hard, but then there is a limit... and living cost rises so we do not save money by going to work instead having private activites - we go there to get the money to support our private lives.



    It depends on model and I think Apple has probably good approach (no blaming the company for the model), but there is thin line of balance. I also agree with what Steve Jobs said as far as benefits, but those have to follow the company profits or morale will drop.



    You sound like a complete moron. I'm 41 and having been married twice [and yes that first marriage was hell], yet how does that have any thing to do with your life? I cited the marriage as an example of two incomes and with one leaving, the cost was beyond my salary, at that time, during the pay freeze at Apple.



    Are you an evangelical by any chance?
  • Reply 73 of 104
    bartbuzzbartbuzz Posts: 131member
    Are you kidding me? AI must be digging thru trash cans for stories. When I worked in R&D, the best way to get things done was to use the bosses name. And I always wanted to work the bosses problems. If the boss was happy, everything ran much better. Of course you had to produce!
  • Reply 74 of 104
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    You would if you worked at Google where the food is free. However, in the real world I suspect we'd all be quite happy with Apple's benefits.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    IMHO food at the Cupertino campus cafeteria is excellent, the prices are very reasonable, and no employee should be complaining about that.



  • Reply 75 of 104
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Options are hardly worthless, unless they are under water, and even then they have value if they cost you nothing and can only turn into value if the stock trades above the strike price. We know that if Jobs had held onto his original options they'd have been worth far more today than the stock he got in exchange. As for being a "major stockholder," as nearly as I can tell, he now owns over 5.4 million shares. Whether that meets the SEC definition of "major" is kind of besides the point, it's still plenty big.



    It's hard to know what his attitude is towards money. He doesn't appear to be in a huge hurry either to make it, or to give it away.



    I've owned thousands of shares in various companies at one point worth six figures. Most of those companies are gone, several have file Chapter 11, etc. rendering the options worthless.



    I reiterate my stance that options are worthless until exercised. Again, I am basing my comments on SEC filings and the fact that Steve has a heck of a lot more money in Disney stock. What he owns in AAPL (real shares or unexercised options) is a mere fraction of his Disney holdings.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by john galt View Post


    He holds about 5 1/2 million shares of AAPL. What do you think he does this for anyway?



    $250 a share, do the math.



    Don't know about exercisable options, they could be worth a lot more.



    I don't care what they're doing or how they're doing it, as long as it's legal and makes me $$$ (not necessarily in that order)



    Apple's market cap is $236 billion. If Steve owns $1 billion in AAPL right now, in the SEC's eyes, that's chump change. It's less than 0.5%.



    A billion dollars is a lot to the Great Unwashed like you or I. It's nothing to Steve.



    Again, I reiterate that Steve doesn't do this for the money. He has tons. An extra billion is meaningless apart from the symbolic value of his success at Apple. He can chill out on the beach and watch the dollars roll in on his iPhone. He didn't take the post of interim CEO at Apple in the late 90s for money. The money he has earned for himself in real or on paper at Apple is nothing. The guy works at Apple because he likes working and he likes making the competition look like fools.



    Steve is supremely arrogant. Most of these Fortune 500 CEO types are. However, unlike many of the others, Steve can talk the talk and he can walk the walk. As a matter of fact, Steve doesn't talk too much about what he's going to do (Apple's notorious secrecy). Apple just does.
  • Reply 76 of 104
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post


    One thing to notice that changes perspective of such experiment: kids do not have REAL sense of financial value in life. That takes time. So the experiment conditioned like that is pointless from psychology perspective. It is just a mock experiment like thousands of them just to polarize the public that does not see the detail.



    Try this experiment with really cool toy that is on top of list for the group of kids participating in it. See results then and tell about the experiement.





    You do not build teams by offering some public mojo - you build them by finding personal motivations. People are different and they want to be different to achieve something in reality.



    Essentially true.

    They call it work for a reason

    Most people work for one reason only, $$$

    This $ can take many forms, perks etc.

    The work time and rewards($) has to be balanced with personnel time goals. For some people it is all the same, but in my experience in a large Corp, they diverge the older one gets; more likely perks and time off come into play. So working for free just for the experience is a nonstarter. If I was in my 20's and just starting out, might be a different story. Btw, in our company they built a gym for use for free. Some accountant showed they would save healthcare costs. Remember folks companies don't love employees, they only do the minimum necessary to get the maximum amount of work out you. If it does not add to that, they won't do it. Except upper management, that's a club. Just my observations, your milage may vary.
  • Reply 77 of 104
    ezduzitezduzit Posts: 158member
    admiral hyman rickover. he was called the father of the atomic submarine. he built the first one from scratch and went on to build over 260 more.



    rickover personally supervised every submarine and hired and interviewed every person hired to work on the submarines. didn't trust anyone. similar to the way jobs stays on top of the employees.



    the results: after 40 years, never an accident. never a particle leak. never a security leak. steve is close but not that perfect and surely bp is not on the same page.



    job is truly unique and all the small faux pas' are soon corrected. enjoy him if you are a user or investor.
  • Reply 78 of 104
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    I don't think Jobs owns any Apple options. He owns a little over 5 million Apple shares. He used to own 10 million, but sold about half to pay the tax liability on his sale of Pixar to Disney. I have no idea what percentage that is of Apple stock. Jobs, however, owns about 7 percent of Walt Disney. That hardly is inconsequential. You are right, he probably is at the point where he doesn't care about money from Apple anymore. He certainly could ask the company for more stock, but hasn't done so. Apple would surely grant it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    Options are worthless until exercised. While Steve's paper value is not inconsequential, however he has traded in a bunch of underwater options in the past. Technically, since he hasn't exercised much, he is not a major shareholder. If he were a major stockholder, it would be divulged in various SEC filings (Form 3 & Form 4).



    Frankly, I don't think Steve really cares about the money. He doesn't need any more. He's Disney's largest single individual shareholder and he would make $30 million just in Disney dividends every year just sitting on the beach. Heck, the guy wouldn't even take the non-executive Disney board member stipend.



  • Reply 79 of 104
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post


    Essentially true.

    They call it work for a reason

    Most people work for one reason only, $$$

    This $ can take many forms, perks etc.

    The work time and rewards($) has to be balanced with personnel time goals. For some people it is all the same, but in my experience in a large Corp, they diverge the older one gets; more likely perks and time off come into play. So working for free just for the experience is a nonstarter. If I was in my 20's and just starting out, might be a different story. Btw, in our company they built a gym for use for free. Some accountant showed they would save healthcare costs. Remember folks companies don't love employees, they only do the minimum necessary to get the maximum amount of work out you. If it does not add to that, they won't do it. Except upper management, that's a club. Just my observations, your milage may vary.



    People work to get paid - its called survival, but that's not the whole story. Research shows that rewards such as more money will not make people work more or produce better work. In fact, money seems to be a really crappy motivator. A far better motivator is autonomy, and the creation of a sense of 'worth'.So people may not want to work for nothing yet some of the best work people ever do is often unpaid, or at least not incentivised by money.

    The gym thing is irrelevant - but it is still nuts that Apple charges its employees to use one.
  • Reply 80 of 104
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post


    One thing to notice that changes perspective of such experiment: kids do not have REAL sense of financial value in life. That takes time. So the experiment conditioned like that is pointless from psychology perspective. It is just a mock experiment like thousands of them just to polarize the public that does not see the detail.



    Try this experiment with really cool toy that is on top of list for the group of kids participating in it. See results then and tell about the experiement.





    You do not build teams by offering some public mojo - you build them by finding personal motivations. People are different and they want to be different to achieve something in reality.



    I didn't make this stuff up. The idea that you can bribe people with money, or a cool toy, is the fallacy. It just doesn't work. People are indeed different as you point out and yet we are all the same. The personal motivations as you non-specifically mention, may vary from person to person but there are certain things that most people seem to respond to. Check the video. It explains the concept better than I can and it is far more entertaining.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&sns=em
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