Apple's Secrecy Extends to Putting New Employees on Fake Projects

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In his new book, Inside Apple, Adam Lashinsky details the process undergone by new hires at Apple, noting that many of them are hired without knowing the exact project they are working on that they are frequently put through a testing period working on a different project in order to provide time to evaluate their trustworthiness.
For new recruits, the secret keeping begins even before they learn which of these building they'll be working in. Despite surviving multiple rounds of rigorous interviews, many employees are hired into so-called dummy positions, roles that aren't explained in detail until after they join the company. The new hires have been welcomed but not yet indoctrinated and aren't necessarily to be trusted with information as sensitive as their own mission. "They wouldn't tell me what it was," remembered a former engineer who had been a graduate student before joining Apple. "I knew it was related to the iPod, but not what the job was." Others do know but won't say, a realization that hits the newbies on their first day of work at new-employee orientation.
As noted by Business Insider, a former Apple engineer confirmed that piece of information during the Q&A portion of Lashinsky's recent talk at LinkedIn (video clip via Fortune), going even farther to note that new hires are even sometimes placed on fake products during this probationary period.
A friend of mine who's a senior engineer at Apple, he works on -- or did work on -- fake products I'm sure for the first part of his career, and interviewed for 9 months. It's intense.
Lashinsky's tidbit on new hires is just one facet of his lengthier coverage of Apple's strict secrecy, part of which has been republished for Fortune as a look into how Apple's organizational structure maintains the company's security. His full 50-minute LinkedIn talk is also available on YouTube.

Article Link: Apple's Secrecy Extends to Putting New Employees on Fake Projects
 

Frosticus

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2010
528
2
Bristol, UK
I really must read this book - read the first chapter as a sample on iBooks and still have a copy of the Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson to read too... Not enough hours in the day...!
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,186
115
I'd love to know what the fake projects were.

"Today guys, we're going to reinvent the toilet."
 

allpar

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2002
299
35
"Thats amazing, although a good way of evaluating their work without making mistakes on a 'live' project."

And yet, we have Lion and countless other examples of people making mistakes on "live" projects.
 

dr Dunkel

macrumors regular
Nov 3, 2008
218
0
"The new hires have been welcomed but not yet indoctrinated and aren't necessarily to be trusted with information as sensitive as their own mission."

Quite telling.
 

Blakjack

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2009
1,796
309
I always thought about it, but now I am convinced that Apple is a branch of the CIA.

EDIT: I was only joking guys...Geeeez
 
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carboncow

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2009
53
1
"Thats amazing, although a good way of evaluating their work without making mistakes on a 'live' project."

And yet, we have Lion and countless other examples of people making mistakes on "live" projects.
please you act like a new OS never has an issue or more...Lion is far from Vista status and with the exception of a couple changes I didn't like and a handful of bugs...it's just fine, Leopard 2.0. Relax...
 

Andronicus

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2008
725
321
Finally! A new post. I swear MacRumors just shuts down on the weekends. It's like a 9-5 job! Please post on the weekends, macrumors!

On topic: it's insane how secretive apple can be. Insanely awesome.
 

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
16,637
39,876
USA
please you act like a new OS never has an issue or more...Lion is far from Vista status and with the exception of a couple changes I didn't like and a handful of bugs...it's just fine, Leopard 2.0. Relax...
Who mentioned Vista or made any comparison? The OP just said that Lion is an example where mistakes were made.
 

allpar

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2002
299
35
I tried Lion. It's not a Leopard II. You want fundamental mistakes? Screwing around unnecessarily with the user interface counts to me. Hiding the part of the file dialogue that lets you see the list of hard drives counts.

Yeah, a few bugs always sneak through. These are not bugs, they're fundamental design errors. Macintouch has a huge discussion with both sides chiming in, and I really don't think the "get over it" side has much to go on.

Just because Microsoft makes mistakes, doesn't mean Apple doesn't. That's like claiming I should love Adobe customer service because it's slightly better than Intuit's.
 

jadot

macrumors 6502
Apr 6, 2010
482
445
UK
Finally! A new post. I swear MacRumors just shuts down on the weekends. It's like a 9-5 job! Please post on the weekends, macrumors!
You should cut down, and then slowly try to re-integrate into the real world.
This story satisfied your 'need' for something (anything) Apple related?
Wow.
 

rwilliams

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2009
3,601
693
Raleigh, NC
It must be a complete thrill and a total nightmare to work for Apple.
My thoughts exactly. It seems like the shelf life for employees would be short because many people couldn't handle the constant paranoia and hassle of working at Apple (though one can understand WHY the company is like that). And interviewing for 9 months? There's no job in the world that I want that badly.

Finally! A new post. I swear MacRumors just shuts down on the weekends. It's like a 9-5 job! Please post on the weekends, macrumors!
If I had to take a wild guess, I'd say that the people running this site like to have a real life on the weekend and do things other than post to a website. Crazy, I know.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,562
631
Cork, Ireland.
It's all rather moot. As soon as you're relying on external companies for components - or in particular - for the entire manufacturing, assembly & packaging process; you completely lose control of product secrecy.

And with the volumes that Apple needs in advance of the product launch; and the time the manufacturers need to manufacture those units; we're not just talking about handing designs to external manufacturers in the last couple of weeks of a project, but rather many months ahead of the launch.

How often has Apple recently launched a product that was a complete surprise to all observers? Exactly.
 

nick_elt

macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2011
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Andronicus said:
Finally! A new post. I swear MacRumors just shuts down on the weekends. It's like a 9-5 job! Please post on the weekends, macrumors!

On topic: it's insane how secretive apple can be. Insanely awesome.
What news is going to come out on the weekend? Most of their sources will be 9-5. Ever thought about that?
 

mave1969

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2008
12
1
Asteroid?

Isn't it pretty much accepted that the "Asteroid" Garage Band audio breakout box that brought down Think Secret was, in fact, such a fake project designed to catch leaks?
 
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