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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:06 AM   #101
Rogifan
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Originally Posted by Reason077 View Post
The tyrannical "work your employees hard and don't accept anything less than perfection" approach has worked extremely well for Apple for many years. Sure, obviously Tim is not Steve and he has a different management style. But should this really extend to letting employees slack around and goof off?

I understand that he's trying to replicate the Google model here, but the danger is that you end up like Google ... a giant that has a great internal culture, and makes a couple of great products - but also a whole lot of crappy ones.

I worry that Apple's post-Steve decline is really starting to set in. Perhaps it is inevitable? Is it unfair to blame Tim?
Wow translating this article into Tim allowing employees to slack and goof off is quite a stretch isn't it? How about he's trying to foster more creativity and collaboration rather than these fiefdoms that Steve promoted.

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Originally Posted by faroZ06 View Post
If Apple's new plans are not newsworthy on an Apple news/rumors site, I don't know what is besides product launches and company statements.
I'm saying it's not newsworthy because it's probably not something new. I have a hard time believing no one at Apple has ever done this before. Seems to me there's a meme the media is pushing with Apple these days and this story fits nicely into that meme. Just like these former employees that are crawling out of the woodwork to get there 10 minutes of fame claiming Apple is doomed under Tim Cook, they don't innovate, Scott Forstall shouldn't have been fired, Steve Jobs was God, etc. it's all quite laughable really.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:14 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by jaw04005 View Post
Oh please. This has been going on forever. They're just now making it formal. Of recent history, the Remote.app for iOS/Apple TV was developed as a side project like this.

Apple engineers switch from pet projects to major products all the time.

http://sachin.posterous.com/apple-is...a-huge-startup
Then there is the story of how OSX port started out as a pet project. As you said, this has been going on forever.

http://www.quora.com/Apple-Inc-2/How...80472?srid=i1#

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In JK's office, Joe watches in amazement as JK boots up an Intel PC and up on the screen comes the familiar 'Welcome to Macintosh'.

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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:40 AM   #103
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What is the point of this rumor?
Seven years ago, when apple developed Iphone, it surely were a secret project. Eight years ago, when apple moved from power pc to intel, it surely were a secret project. For big companies like Apple, is it really interesting to know whether there are secret projects/special projects?
Some media guys are bored and would like to make all readers bored.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:04 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by tech4all View Post
I thought OS X was a side project now.


No. Since there are 2 people working on OSX I believe that counts as a full-blown department.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:11 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Reason077 View Post
The tyrannical "work your employees hard and don't accept anything less than perfection" approach has worked extremely well for Apple for many years. Sure, obviously Tim is not Steve and he has a different management style. But should this really extend to letting employees slack around and goof off?
Right now Apple has a bit of a problem with the "maps" application. Lots of the problems could be solved by hiring say 1000 people driving around in a car with high-precision GPS and fixing problems in the maps. That kind of job, not highly paid because it's not that difficult a job, will only be done by someone who looks for a nine-to-five job, where the employee wants decent hours, decent money, and go home after work to spend time with their family. "Work your employees hard" doesn't work, because you can't check whether they have done a good job in their eight hour shift except by letting someone else spending eight hours to cover exactly the same tracks.

Same with Siri; to improve it you need humans checking questions and answers and checking if the answers can be improved (because the user posed a question that Siri doesn't understand, but a human understands). You need lots of people for that, and it only works if that is done by employees who are treated well.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:48 AM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregwyattjr View Post
I think their special project should be debugging Maps.
Why would you want to make debugging maps a special side project? I would have many people committed to maps, not doing it when you feel like working on it.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:49 AM   #107
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I don't know, the more of these stories I hear the more I am reminded of the mid 1980's when Sculley tried to make Apple into a "traditional corporation".

We all know how that went...

Let's hope that Apple remains focused on building great devices. In order to do that, the company has to be run by "product people". As soon as the sales & marketing fools get in there Apple will be doomed to repeat history.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 09:57 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by Shrink View Post
No, Apple is going to let their employees work on projects on Apple's time, with other Apple personnel, using Apple equipment, and then let them privately patent anything they create and make Apple pay them for the stuff they created.

Right!

Of course Apple owns the rights!!!
Thats why you don't work on personal products at work, or use anything that remotely looks like something that was developed 'in the office'.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
Right now Apple has a bit of a problem with the "maps" application. Lots of the problems could be solved by hiring say 1000 people driving around in a car with high-precision GPS and fixing problems in the maps. That kind of job, not highly paid because it's not that difficult a job, will only be done by someone who looks for a nine-to-five job, where the employee wants decent hours, decent money, and go home after work to spend time with their family. "Work your employees hard" doesn't work, because you can't check whether they have done a good job in their eight hour shift except by letting someone else spending eight hours to cover exactly the same tracks.

Same with Siri; to improve it you need humans checking questions and answers and checking if the answers can be improved (because the user posed a question that Siri doesn't understand, but a human understands). You need lots of people for that, and it only works if that is done by employees who are treated well.

Not only treated well, but apple could create and entire wing in their quality control department dedicated to improvements, and I still think you will need to pay them well since they are still being asked to be better than the competition.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:14 AM   #109
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great we'll get a bunch of Beta products with crappy interfaces

why is Apple trying to copy Google ?!
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:31 AM   #110
Rogifan
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Originally Posted by BMNB1tch View Post
great we'll get a bunch of Beta products with crappy interfaces

why is Apple trying to copy Google ?!
Yeah because Siri and Maps are so great.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:51 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by FourMoreYears View Post
Steve Jobs would have done this under his rule if this idea had any merit. Tim Cook, you may very well be the next Ballmer.
So...you are referring to the same Steve Jobs that ignored his doctors and had he actually listened and did surgery when they first found the cancer....might still be with us today.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 11:20 AM   #112
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People need to quit the Jobs vs. Cook argument. What makes Apple is us, the consumer.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 11:23 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by FourMoreYears View Post
Steve Jobs would have done this under his rule if this idea had any merit. Tim Cook, you may very well be the next Ballmer.
get a clue. youre beyond cliche.

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Originally Posted by macuser1232 View Post
Apple doesn't automatically own rights to the employee's projects. Remember a long time ago when Woz was deciding whether he wanted to develop his project for HP or Apple. In the end he decided to share his ideas with Apple.
no. youre referring to the Apple I, and Wozniak did in fact present it to HP first, since it was done on their equipment where he worked, and they said they werent interested and gave him their blessing. that was their discretion.

all of this is documented in the steve jobs book.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 11:39 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by camnchar View Post
I wonder if Apple will own the rights to all of these "personal projects," or if they just maintain right of first refusal.
They do. If you do it on company time it is Apple's. supposedly when you get a job there, even at retail, you have to sign way rights to anything even tangently related to Apple that you work on even on your own time. That is if it doesn't get you fired for violating the non compet agreement you signed.

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Originally Posted by iAco View Post
In other words, Apple is losing it's innovation, so it lets a small group of its creatives play around which they hope will strike gold for Apple.
Not at all. They have timetables etc for current projects but they are showing a willingliness to let someone spend a finite time on the clock now to sketch up something that might prove a previous notion wrong or show them a new project to work on next.

Rather than not giving them the time and having someone so passionate that they work off the clock on it.

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Originally Posted by FourMoreYears View Post
Steve Jobs would have done this under his rule if this idea had any merit. Tim Cook, you may very well be the next Ballmer.
So Steve Jobs opinions are infallible. That's basically what you are saying. Thus if Steve thought it had no merit Tim Cook has no right to a different opinion. Or to act on his opinions despite even Steve saying Tim should.

Given the number of blogs saying Apple lost all innovative when Steve died and the stock value tanking, this might be just the thing to recover opinions.

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Originally Posted by zbarvian View Post
Listen, I miss Jobs as much as the next guy, but this is nuts. You can't claim that this is a bad decision based on the fact that Steve never reportedly made it. .
You raise a good point. REPORTEDLY. Perhaps it's been around for a while in some form or another, started by Steve even, but is only now getting press

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Originally Posted by iAco View Post

There is no reason for you to allow your employees to work on side projects when you have work to assign them.
Sure there is. Too reasons actually

1. They might produce something amazing and since they were on the clock Apple owns it.

2. Morale. That can sometimes be more important than the work produced. Especially among creative types
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 12:06 PM   #115
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No, they weren't. Not on purporse. It was code left in from the original library of the original coder, now long gone.

What would be the point for Google to collect a possible few seconds of traffic anyway? For one thing, it would have to be both an insecure hotspot and insecure traffic. If that describes you, then you have much bigger problems than the one in a trillion chance that a Google map car drives by you while you're active online. Your neighbors are a greater threat by far.



Yes, exactly what Apple does. Only Apple probably has far more personal information due to their iTunes records of our media and app purchases, plus credit card info, and even phone model due to iOS registrations.

As we keep point out though, nobody sells that info directly to anyone. They just sell targeted ad placements, which is anonymous.

Knowledge is power.
I never said Apple wasn't collecting any user data, simply that selling same is search engine companies primary mode of operation, they have to capture it and sell it to make money. And the WiFi thing was simply illustrating the point that they will collect as much information as they possibly can, why were they even collecting private WiFi location data at all, so they can map internet usage density in an given area and sell that information. In fact they capture any data they legally can and even in some circumstances illegally. Look also at Google circumventing browser tracking preferences in safari for-instance.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 12:14 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by sfrancis928 View Post
What's wrong with OS X?
That's a whole new thread my friend. And many exist already.

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Originally Posted by JHankwitz View Post
Why would you want to make debugging maps a special side project? I would have many people committed to maps, not doing it when you feel like working on it.
I think the poster was saying the same thing.

Forget this "discretionary" crap. Most of the minions merely want to be told what to do. They want direction - give it to them.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 12:57 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by iMule View Post
People need to quit the Jobs vs. Cook argument. What makes Apple is us, the consumer.
Tell that to "us" back in the 80s and early 90s. Apple was really a hollow shell at that point and only being propped up by academia and diehard fans. Now look how Apple treats both groups. OSX 10.8 is a cluster grope from a 'diehard' fan point of view, their Volume Purchase Program for iOS is nightmare of needless complexity, and more and more the Mac line is getting squeezed down into pure consumer non-user modifiable packages.

Ya, what makes Apple is the customer... keep believing that. Or rather the customer is now so non-tech that Apple can get away with making computers as appliances. This diehard Mac user is really starting to eye the competition over in Redmond and may jump ship fully to Windows for the first time in nearly 30 years. And that's despite Microsoft's own bit of a cluster grope.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 01:22 PM   #118
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 01:31 PM   #119
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Google stopped their program

I heard from an employee at the company that Google stopped their personal project program a few months ago.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 01:52 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Reason077 View Post
T Sure, obviously Tim is not Steve and he has a different management style. But should this really extend to letting employees slack around and goof off?
This really isn't a "slack around and goof off" measure.

Three factors.

1. This isn't really all that new since sometimes Jobs or another exec with some clout would kick off projects to do something that pulled resources from working on a existing product 100% of the time.

2. Apple is bigger now. This is a somewhat an anti-bureaucracy mechanism. As organizations get bigger they tend to calcify around what they already know well. The top revenue making group represses alternatives that other groups may want to pursue because "that's not our core business".

Also if they only grant this to a subset of folks it is an incentive. Work hard and creatively on what you are on now and may give you a shot at your own project. If successful ... good for both sides. If not as successful go back into the pool and earn credits at another shot. Additionally folks tend to be more focused when let them get minor things out of the way so they can get back to work. Some folks abuse it but the large majority (if have hired well ) don't.


3. This will likely grow Apple's patent portifolio faster with much higher quality content. Even if most of these 20% projects get shut down and not turned into products they can be patented and Apple can sue anyone else who tries to bring it to market and/or cross license with some those that do want to make it.

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I understand that he's trying to replicate the Google model here, but the danger is that you end up like Google ... a giant that has a great internal culture, and makes a couple of great products - but also a whole lot of crappy ones.
Invention is always about creating a whole lot of defective ones. The iPad was in the labs for years before Apple ever mutating it a bit and produced the iPhone.

The big difference between Apple and Google is that Google lets external folks in on the projects while they are still not quite fully finished ( Nexus Q ) while Apple will sit on things privately until they think it is fully finished.

Apple tends to kill off failed attempts sooner than Google does and does so behind closed doors. Ping is dead now though. Apples web/email hosting has gone through several gyrations. The Mac cube died .

Google is spread thinner than Apple. But they are tightening up as their margins get tighter.


Quote:
I worry that Apple's post-Steve decline is really starting to set in. Perhaps it is inevitable? Is it unfair to blame Tim?
It is not so much decline as folks expectations being completely detached from reality. That Jobs walked on water ( he didn't ) or that Apple has 3-4 more high double digit billion dollar "iPod and iPad/iPhone" ideas waiting to be uncorked. Apple wasn't going to double in revenues forever.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 02:25 PM   #121
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New App idea: Map Book Pro?

Maybe one of their employees will come up with the idea of making a Maps App that is quicker than going down to the newstand and buying a map book (No, not Mac Book ).

All Apple needs is to buy a shed load of data and satellite imagery, then lay that on a framework. As opposed to launching the framework and waiting for the punters to fill in the gaps, which is a bad idea.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:45 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by macchiato2009 View Post
Last year, in a session of Apple's internal management program Apple University, officials discussed how the company is in some ways more like the military than a traditional corporation, according to a person who was told about the presentation.


well, this is still the case
I think the key part of your quote is 'according to a person who was told about the presentation'

There is a reason why heresay is generally not allowed in court. Tends to be wrong or at least not completely right

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Originally Posted by Reason077 View Post
The tyrannical "work your employees hard and don't accept anything less than perfection" approach has worked extremely well for Apple for many years. Sure, obviously Tim is not Steve and he has a different management style. But should this really extend to letting employees slack around and goof off?

?
Letting folks take time off from their general time table to focus on an employee generated idea is not slacking around or goofing off. They would have to have approval for the switch and something to show for it at the end.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 07:39 AM   #123
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I think the most interesting thing for me is that they are allowed to work on outside projects.

Here's a project I know of that is being developed by a team that includes some Apple staff:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenEmu

Which has been active for almost 2 years now.
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