'Cultish' secrecy, 'iBuddy' system & paid lunches all part of Apple's HQ

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 51
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    I guess all Apple hit pieces have to include the word "cult" now. Cultists and their sheeple seem to be the talking points these days. How else could the nerds explain Apple's success and dominaton of the tech industry.
  • Reply 22 of 51
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,228member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    From what I've read Google seems a fun place to work. I'm not sure I'd like to work for Apple though. They must be like robots, working really hard whilst trying to avoid talking to anyone outside their team in case they reveal something they shouldn't. Must be quite stressful. I'm sure there are lots good things about working for Apple that we never hear about.



    I met an engineer that had 7 years at Apple and 5 years at Google. He said they are two very different places to work. Apple really is a pressure cooker but you always get this amazing feeling of having accomplished things when a product ships. You learn new things very fast and skills sets jump up very fast. The company runs very lean and you are expected to produce.



    Google is much more laid back and is great if you have no family since they have activities to keep you there 14+ hours/day. Not all of it working but "on campus". But after 5 years, he could not look at anything that felt like accomplishment. Lower stress but lower accomplishment level. He was also convinced Google could lay off 9 of 10 engineers and not impact current or future earnings potential.
  • Reply 23 of 51
    hodarhodar Posts: 353member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Conrail View Post


    I'm betting anyone who ever worked as a defense department contractor just laughs at Apple's "security". Or anyone who's ever worked on a movie, or any number of competitive fields. Record companies were sending out sample albums in portable CD players that had been glued shut. I don't think Apple's ever done anything that paranoid.



    As for the iBuddies, I imagine the program has an official corporate buzz word name, like Employee Integration Liaison or some such derp (referred to by it's initials, of course), but after the first sarcastic prick uttered the term iBuddy, that's what stuck.



    Apple isn't perfect, but as seen from the outside, their corporate culture looks as healthy as anybodys



    Point well taken. Blab about what you work on at Apple, and you may be fired.



    Work for the DOD as a contractor and Blab, you WILL be fired, your co-workers may find themselves without a contract, and you might go to jail, and you mgiht find yourself fined to the tune of several thousands of dollars. That Security Clearance you are required to have, has some pretty harsh penalties.
  • Reply 24 of 51
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "Company lore holds that plainclothes Apple security agents lurk near the bar at BJ's and that employees have been fired for loose talk there," Lashinsky wrote. "It doesn't matter if the yarn is true or apocryphal. The fact that employees repeat it serves the purpose."





    It doesn't matter if the yarn is true?? Isn't that the entire point of book like this? To separate the myths from fact?



    Unfortunately, because of Apple's position in the tech industry, we will see a lot books and articles written about them because publishers know that even crap sells. I don't know if this book is crap or not, but judging by the statement above it would seem to be missing the one thing you would look for in a book like this, facts.



    -kpluck
  • Reply 25 of 51
    pokepoke Posts: 506member
    The secrecy is important to their success as innovators, not just to marketing. The biggest impediment to innovation is internal. Look at Microsoft. There are endless stories about one team in Microsoft doing their best to destroy a project because they find it threatening (this happened, for example, between the Windows team and the .NET team and led to all the problems with Vista; the Windows team didn't want the standard Windows API to be something developed outside their team). The easiest way to make sure this doesn't happen? Develop new products in secret. The iPod team couldn't feel threatened by the iPhone team because they didn't know a damned thing about it. The Mac team couldn't feel threatened by the iPad team because they didn't know a damned thing about it. Secrecy is how Apple manages to disrupt themselves and stay ahead of the game.
  • Reply 26 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


    In other words, Apple is exactly like almost every other company out there. Pairing new employees is common practice. Most companies call this shadowing. In fact, that is probably what Apple calls it. I have a hard time believing that they actually call them "iBuddies". A certain level of secrecy is necessary for all companies for competitive reasons. These are not the qualities that make Apple special.



    Yes, I was about to say the same thing. Nearly any services or product-based business is concerned about security and proprietary information and the training is just one part of a corporate culture.



    Nothing to see (or read) here.
  • Reply 27 of 51
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    Wow, I'll bet that never happens anywhere else...



    No joke. It happens everywhere. Same with no free lunches, etc
  • Reply 28 of 51
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kpluck View Post


    It doesn't matter if the yarn is true?? Isn't that the entire point of book like this? To separate the myths from fact?



    Thy say. But half their info is also myth, hearsay etc.



    The only book that will really tell the truth doesn't exist because not even Apple will tell the truth. Well not the whole truth
  • Reply 29 of 51
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,724member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacCanuck View Post


    Apple secrecy has lead to many rumours and much excitement and speculation, but...



    IIRC, the company behind the Kinect technology had first approached Apple and was in talks/negotiations with Apple for months before becoming frustrated having to deal with this infamous secrecy and Apple's way of doing things.



    The company decided to move on and then approached Microsoft which accepted and developed what is now Kinect... and the rest is history. Kinect has proven to be quite successful for MS with new potential uses continually cropping up.



    IMO, one of the few (known) missteps and lost opportunities by Apple in recent memory.



    Perhaps Apple decided against in spite of the technology being good. Apple is famously good at staying focussed and saying no. I am sure Kinect technology has any applications beyond gaming but perhaps none that fits within Apple's roadmap?
  • Reply 30 of 51
    of the author being "poor me, being left out in the cold with no official standing".



    It's bullshit, with just enough "truth" in it to be the worst kind of lying.
  • Reply 31 of 51
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by God of Biscuits View Post


    of the author being "poor me, being left out in the cold with no official standing".



    It's bullshit, with just enough "truth" in it to be the worst kind of lying.



    While that might be true- why do we have to assume that? Because its anti Apple?



    Quote:

    Fortune conducted dozens of interviews over several months with former Apple employees and others in the Apple orbit to try to explain the phenomenon of life inside Apple. Few agreed to speak on the record; the fear of retribution persists for years. Once they get talking, however, the former Appleites paint a picture of a company that time and again thumbs its nose at modern corporate conventions in ways that let it behave more like a cutting-edge startup than the consumer-electronics behemoth it is.



    At least research has been done and interviews have been conducted by a credible organization. Who did you interview and what research have you (or anyone) done to debunk this?



    Is there going to be some fallacy? Sure. The vast majority of people thought Jose Canseco's book was ludicrous and full of lies. Then it all ended up being true. I can't resist saying it.... don't judge a book by its cover.
  • Reply 32 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    One anonymous person said that fighting between employees "can get personal and ugly."





    <sarcasm>

    Boy, that sure has never happened at every single company I ever worked for!

    </sarcasm>





  • Reply 33 of 51
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    From what I've read Google seems a fun place to work. I'm not sure I'd like to work for Apple though. They must be like robots, working really hard whilst trying to avoid talking to anyone outside their team in case they reveal something they shouldn't. Must be quite stressful. I'm sure there are lots good things about working for Apple that we never hear about.



    I worked at Apple from late 1979 through 1985 and what's described in the article doesn't sound much different from working there back then, if a good deal better organized.



    I have to say that my time there was just about the most fun I had in 30 years in computer product engineering. And I never worked around any "robots", either.
  • Reply 34 of 51
    Glad I'm not the only one who fails to see the uniqueness here.



    Am curious what is cultish about any of this. Even when I was younger a lot of retail stores I worked at worked like this. Probably not to the same level but still.
  • Reply 35 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hodar View Post


    Point well taken. Blab about what you work on at Apple, and you may be fired.



    Work for the DOD as a contractor and Blab, you WILL be fired, your co-workers may find themselves without a contract, and you might go to jail, and you mgiht find yourself fined to the tune of several thousands of dollars. That Security Clearance you are required to have, has some pretty harsh penalties.



    Ha!



    Brings back memories...



    I worked for IBM in Las Vegas in the 1960s. I was a system engineer (technical market support) and my "customer: was REECO -- prime contractor for the Atomic Energy Commission (they were doing underground nuclear tests at Jackass Flats).



    Anyway I was responsible for doing whatever it took to get the on-order 1410 mainframe computer installed on time.



    To do this I was required to get a "Q" Clearance. That's a story in itself -- you document every place you've ever lived and the FBI goes around and asks all the neighbors "everything" about you.



    Once I had the "Q" clearance I had free access to the entire facility, including keys -- I was able to go into the facility on the weekend or late at night and work.



    You were required to wear a badge, everywhere, that displayed your picture and level of Security Clearance.



    New hire programmers who had not, yet, received their clearances had to be escorted everywhere -- from the lobby, to their cubicle, to the meeting room, to the bathroom, etc.



    Often, since I had a clearance I (an outside contractor), would escort REECO employees to wherever... seemed a bit odd.



    The weirdest thing that happened was: I was working alone in the facility late Saturday night. Early the next morning (Easter Sunday) The front bell rang and I went to see who it was. It was the top executive of REECO in Las Vegas.



    He forgot his badge and I wouldn't let him in -- made him go home and get his badge.



    I thought I would be fired (by IBM), pulled off the account, or at least catch Hell...



    As it turned out, I was commended for playing it straight and enforcing the rules.



  • Reply 36 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    Ha!



    Brings back memories...



    I worked for IBM in Las Vegas in the 1960s. I was a system engineer (technical market support) and my "customer: was REECO -- prime contractor for the Atomic Energy Commission (they were doing underground nuclear tests at Jackass Flats).



    Anyway I was responsible for doing whatever it took to get the on-order 1410 mainframe computer installed on time.



    To do this I was required to get a "Q" Clearance. That's a story in itself -- you document every place you've ever lived and the FBI goes around and asks all the neighbors "everything" about you.



    Once I had the "Q" clearance I had free access to the entire facility, including keys -- I was able to go into the facility on the weekend or late at night and work.



    You were required to wear a badge, everywhere, that displayed your picture and level of Security Clearance.



    New hire programmers who had not, yet, received their clearances had to be escorted everywhere -- from the lobby, to their cubicle, to the meeting room, to the bathroom, etc.



    Often, since I had a clearance I (an outside contractor), would escort REECO employees to wherever... seemed a bit odd.



    The weirdest thing that happened was: I was working alone in the facility late Saturday night. Early the next morning (Easter Sunday) The front bell rang and I went to see who it was. It was the top executive of REECO in Las Vegas.



    He forgot his badge and I wouldn't let him in -- made him go home and get his badge.



    I thought I would be fired (by IBM), pulled off the account, or at least catch Hell...



    As it turned out, I was commended for playing it straight and enforcing the rules.







    I need stories like THAT. lol
  • Reply 37 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by _Rick_V_ View Post


    <sarcasm>

    Boy, that sure has never happened at every single company I ever worked for!

    </sarcasm>







    Whenever you get two or more people together, there are bound to be conflicts.
  • Reply 38 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Whenever you get two or more people together, there are bound to be conflicts.



    As with children, the tipping point is three -- then they choose sides...



    I guess that's why, for a long time, there were an average of 2.5 kids per family
  • Reply 39 of 51
    The book excerpt makes working at Apple sound like a nightmare of paranoia and totalitarianism. Yet there are several well known former Apple employees who are active on twitter, have their own blogs etc (Matt Drance, Jean Louis Gassee, Michael Mace pop to mind though there are others) who have talk about their careers at Apple in positive terms and with real deep respect for the company. I've read pieces by Apple employees who acknowledged the secrecy but talked about it in a different context than how the book presents it.



    Lets see if armies of former Apple employees (they do let people leave don't they?) come out of the woodwork to reveal their telling times at Apple to the press. Lets see if there's not another side to this story. Perhaps there isn't and my respect for the company is misplaced but so far things (this distopian nightmare of a company) don't add up for me.
  • Reply 40 of 51
    evacevac Posts: 1member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Perhaps Apple decided against in spite of the technology being good. Apple is famously good at staying focussed and saying no. I am sure Kinect technology has any applications beyond gaming but perhaps none that fits within Apple's roadmap?



    Having used Kinect at home to control the Xbox UI, I think the obvious application for Apple is controlling an Apple TV with gestures. The Kinect experience is a bit hit and miss, but polish it up a bit and converting gestures to iOS touch events would make a nice UI.
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