Former employees shed light on Apple's internal corporate culture



  • Reply 81 of 104
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,903member
    I've thought about applying for work at Apple's Austin facility. However, when I read the job descriptions my eyes glaze over. Sometimes I have no idea what they are talking about, yet judging by the job title I should be qualified. I guess working for small companies has left me ill prepared for the bureaucratic corporate world with it's numerous acronyms.

    I did notice that they do place these words on the main jobs page: You don’t necessarily have to be an Apple expert.

    Fortunately I am somewhat of an expert in certain areas. Maybe I can learn to adapt.
  • Reply 82 of 104
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

    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.

    Actually, Apple is smarter in not offering many free bennies. Those who take advantaged of a company-subsidized benefit will appreciate it more. Also, this probably reduces Apple's exposure to lawsuits.

    By not offering a freebie to Cupertino employees prevents folks from other offices from saying that there is unequal distribution of benefits. A multinational company like Apple Inc. is better off thinking about worldwide implications of its employee benefits. They can never be totally balanced, but offering free meals to the folks who work at the corporate headquarters isn't quite right, is it?
  • Reply 83 of 104
    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"?

    Of course unless you are as old as I and can directly reference infallible memories of specific instances (which of course I cannot, but hey give it your best shot) in first person, you are largely wrong in your perception.. On the other hand I distinctly (and perhaps fallibly) remember Apple loyalists as being some of the most outspoken critics (myself being one of them, since my research depended on them producing decent machines and software at the time). So while there are always critics to level jaded eyes at any virtue, there is nothing more venomous than a pissed off Apple loyalist, then and even now.

    There is no Dvorak, no Enderle, no Thurott as hateful and angry as an Ireland (par example recent) who suspects that the latest product is not everything he thinks it should be without exception. No mistake tolerated, no oversight allowed, period. Absolutely NO quarter given. Or perhaps some of the ardent detractors whose lines very nearly always start "I have owned every single [insert model of Mac here], or [insert model of iPod here], or [insert model of iPhone here], or [insert version of Mac OS here], and have been an Apple shareholder since before 1980*". You don't fear the trolls here (or in the Apple forums), it is the ardent, obsessed perfectionists that self-label as Apple fanbois that are the most murderous if you do not meet their highest expectations.

    Which is why so many of Apple's critics are so evenly dismissed in fora like this, where gather the dark hordes of Apple loyalists. Here the pale verbiage of Thurott or Enderle are as a mildly tainted glass of warm water compared to the mortal venom that courses here.

    There are of course some few gladsome proclaimers tolerated here, those who are recent novitiates, starry-eyed newbies for whom the higher standards and acute vision of Apple are a mind-bending and awe-inspiring revelation, they are merely tolerated. Yes tolerated as sweet honey for the incautious Microsoftie or Androidy detractor. Thinking they are hellbent for fame and defamation in the AI fora, they attack gleefully those happy enthusiasts, thinking they are striking at the heart of Apple fandom. Unknowing and unwittingly unaware that the heart is black and the cornered prey stands defiantly in the shadow cast by the vicious and murderous true Apple loyalist. Like a coiled snake, they wait, because if there is not Apple product prey to tear apart in frenzy, a sweet incautious little morsel of Redmond's or Mountain View's fandom is a welcome if short-lived distraction. And then the newbies are allowed to scamper about, making noise to attract the next silly attacker.

    *Oh yes. Nearly forgot. Apple's first IPO was in December of '80.
  • Reply 84 of 104
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,757member
    Originally Posted by dewindj View Post

    Sounds awful.

    It's what's necessary.

    The next time you're enjoying the unparalleled User Experience of an Apple product, thank Apple's corporate culture.
  • Reply 85 of 104
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,759member
    Originally Posted by dewindj View Post

    Who is to say such accomplishments could not be done in a better environment?

    I'm curious - what's your definition of a "better environment"?
  • Reply 86 of 104
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,759member
    Originally Posted by LewysBlackmore View Post

    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.

    Bingo - on one hand people cherish movies like Office Space that lampoon the banal, then when a story like this comes out all the sudden the banal isn't that bad.

    I truly pity those who never get to taste the true feeling of accomplishment or contributing to significant change. As you point out, real accomplishment doesn't come cheaply or easily.
  • Reply 87 of 104
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,759member
    Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

    ... you need look no further than Nintendo. And I've heard of no complaints regarding their work culture.

    Not to be flip, but really who cares about Nintendo? People talk about Apple because they are amazingly successful. Nintendo could be worse than Apple, they just aren't held to the same level of scrutiny.
  • Reply 88 of 104
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

    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.

    His holdings in other companies are of no relevance to the question of whether he should be considered a major stockholder in Apple. All that matters to that question is his AAPL shares. On that score the numbers speak for themselves.
  • Reply 89 of 104
    elliots11elliots11 Posts: 290member
    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.

    Well obviously that works at Apple because Jobs has a vision. He knows what he wants on certain products and makes it as close to his vision as possible, and doesn't have that big of a variety of products. Not all leaders have that focus and vision or even need to carry it out the same way.

    Google seems to have a job environment based on hiring smart people and providing perks that Apple doesn't, then making it a lifestyle where you work longer than normal. They seem to be doing just fine.

    I've been employed at both types (not either company in actuality) and I'm starting to hire freelance occasionally, and I can see the ups and downs for both approaches.

    The my way or the highway approach works for Steve Jobs because he's Steve Jobs. I'd hate to see other people who are not Steve Jobs (or even close) try to do things his way as it might be disastrous. His personality and individual situation help make this whole approach work. Might or might not be the best thing for everybody - other CEOs or employees.

    And I'm sure it's lonely at the top. There's got to be a personal cost associated with what he's doing.
  • Reply 90 of 104
    drudru Posts: 43member
    Sounds like a GREAT place to work.

    Compare to Microsoft as seen in the book "Showstopper" about the development of Windows NT.
  • Reply 91 of 104
    rivertriprivertrip Posts: 143member
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

    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 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.

    Sounds like many biotech companies. Genentech and Apple were generational cohorts.
  • Reply 92 of 104
    macyeahmacyeah Posts: 13member
    Much better benefits at the CIA/NSA...
  • Reply 93 of 104
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

    Interesting post, I can’t say I’ve ever heard the word hygiene used in that sense.

    An element of a significant theory in the field of organizational behavior. Check out for a summary.
  • Reply 94 of 104
    bobrkbobrk Posts: 36member
    No surprises here if you've ever worked for a defense contractor.
  • Reply 95 of 104
    john galtjohn galt Posts: 960member
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

    A billion dollars is a lot to the Great Unwashed like you or I.

    Speak for yourself, unwashed one
  • Reply 96 of 104
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

    An element of a significant theory in the field of organizational behavior. Check out for a summary.

    Thanks for the link.
  • Reply 97 of 104
    winterspanwinterspan Posts: 605member
    Although it is not a huge issue, with Apple's industry-leading product margins, and huge mountain of cash in the bank, I don't see why it is necessary to nickel and dime employees for things like on-campus food, gym use, etc... It is pretty standard among large tech corporations in that area to offer these perks for free
  • Reply 98 of 104
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

    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.

    You should really be talking to people who have worked at Apple for a year, after the initial fascination has worn off. Then see if the job is really what they expected, and if their opinions of the company have changed now they know what it's like to work there.
  • Reply 99 of 104
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

    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.

    When Steve Jobs retires or leaves Apple, will Apple defenders also start pointing out all the problems at Apple under Steve's leadership, but were afraid to say at the time?
  • Reply 100 of 104
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

    When Steve Jobs retires or leaves Apple, will Apple defenders also start pointing out all the problems at Apple under Steve's leadership, but were afraid to say at the time?

    I believe your actual question should be whether they will stop. I've heard plenty of criticism of Steve here and elsewhere even from Apple fans, but I think for comparative purposes you have to look to the bottom-line issues. Apple was completely rudderless under Spindler and Amelio and was losing market share and money hand over fist. The only people buying Apple products during those years were the dedicated fans.
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