Apple's Secretive Internal Training Program Detailed in New Profile

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    A new profile of Apple's internal training program published by the New York Times has shed new light on how the company teaches its vision and practices to select new employees. Originally established by Steve Jobs and Apple's Vice President of Human Resources Joel Podolny, the-so called "Apple University" is a year-round, in-house program that allows employees to enroll in a number of classes with instructors coming from universities like Yale, Harvard, Stanford, M.I.T., and more.

    Apple's internal training programs are taught at the company's Cupertino, California campus, with rooms being described as being "well lit" and formed in a trapezoid shape with elevated seats so employees can clearly see their instructors.

    Interested individuals sign up on an internal Apple website, as classes are taught to employees based on their positions at the company and work backgrounds. Some courses teach employees about vital business decisions in the history of Apple, with one employee citing a case study on how Steve Jobs chose to make the iPod and iTunes compatible with Windows after being opposed to the idea. Even classes for founders of recently acquired companies are available:
    Another course, titled "Communicating at Apple", focuses on being able to convey products and ideas to others and is taught by the former Dean of Pixar University Randy Nelson among others. A detailed overview of the course given by an employee shares how Apple used the works of Picasso to explain its vision:
    Another class taught by Nelson, titled "What Makes Apple, Apple" gives lessons on how the company executes its design principles with precision and simplicity in time. To convey that idea to employees, Nelson showed a comparison of the Apple TV remote that has three buttons and the remote from a Google TV, which features 68 buttons. The instructor explained that Apple designers included just what was needed, while the Google TV remote resulted in a complicated device because its designers "got everything that they wanted."

    Finally, the article describes a course called "The Best Things", which teaches employees to be proactive in a high-caliber work environment so they can perform their best work. An example relayed to employees by course teacher and Stanford professor Joshua Cohen pointed out New York City's Central Park, which was transformed from a rocky swamp into an area that made residents feel comfortable with nature. The goal of the class was to teach employees how to make intricate computer technologies feel natural, which was a main philosophy of Jobs.

    Article Link: Apple's Secretive Internal Training Program Detailed in New Profile
  2. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Too bad they don't offer these online [as online courses]. Could be useful for a lot of people.
  3. sshambles macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2005
    "But three employees who have taken classes agreed to speak to The New York Times on the condition that they not be identified...

    'Even the toilet paper in the bathrooms is really nice,' one of the employees said."

    *Journalist from The New York Times sighs*
  4. Z400Racer37 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2011
    I wish they would figure out how to do something with iTunesU to make it so that you can get a degree in something through that directly... These tuition rates are obnoxious... :/
  5. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    What a horrible photo.

    I wish I could get access to Ivy League instructors without the price tag.
  6. carjakester macrumors 68020


    Oct 21, 2013
  7. taptic macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2012
    Is there a program on how to pump product pipelines instead of just talk about how awesome they are?
  8. mdlooker macrumors 65816


    Mar 7, 2011
    If those courses are transferrable to degree plans, that would be awesome but I doubt they'll have all of the testing as regular courses.
  9. cmaier macrumors G5

    Jul 25, 2007
    I'm sure they'd rather say nothing, but unfortunately as a public company they have to answer the occasional question; probably why they keep buying up their own stock - solve that problem.
  10. Junipr macrumors regular


    May 4, 2011
    Did you all miss the part where this is an internal program on practices for integrating new employees? Or do you just have that much time to kill?
  11. odds macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2014
    Los Angeles
    This is pretty cool. It must be great to with at Apple.
  12. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    They should pay Joel more so he can afford a razor :D.
  13. midwestfisherma macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2012
    S.E. Mich
    So Apple basically brainwashes their employees into thinking the Apple way.
  14. wiz329 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2010
  15. AxoNeuron macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2012
    The Left Coast
    Am I the only person who gets a creepy vibe from this? It's like a Corporate Reeducation Center where people go to be brainwashed, it reeks of meaningless corporate doublespeak.

    It's even creepier how they are treating Steve Jobs like a religious demigod...

    If they wanted actual value they would keep that last class (teaching minimalism and industrialist/functionalist design) and add some highly technical courses like neural network computing, nanotechnology like working with graphene and carbon nanotubes, and green energy. Valuable people working for Apple already know the spirit that has made Apple successful in the past, trying to distill it in a classroom just won't work.
  16. ogremoustro macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    You can through Youtube.
  17. macrumors 68000

    May 25, 2012
    Agreed. I think most companies would benefit from something like this.
  18. krravi macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2010
    Much has been made of the Apple TV remote. Its the worst remote I have ever used. Often I hear the clicking sounds and nothing happens(yes I have it pointed at the Apple TV with great difficulty considering how thin it is) and have to click twice sometimes... The very slight button travel also confuses you if you even clicked it and sometimes you do inadvertently.

    No wonder it is only being used at "Apple University" as opposed to being in every home!

    It looks good but works like crap.
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    What the NY Times actually wrote:

    A small thing, maybe, but made larger when you put quotation marks around it.
  20. TomMcIn macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2008
    Alternate Schools

    It would be good if some of the naysayers could publish the course titles and instructors for the SameSong Reform School training program.
  21. BobbyLight macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2008
    1st rule: you don't talk about the internal training program
  22. samh004 macrumors 68020


    Mar 1, 2004
    I wouldn't use the Apple Remote as an example of a product they should be proud of... it's a PITA to navigate the system at the best of times... perhaps though that's a case of the OS on the device, but it's still hard to input letters and numbers, passwords, accounts etc... when you can only go left/right, up/down and select or backwards.

    I haven't seen, nor used the Google Remote, but would imagine it would be quicker to type commands into/search for things than with the Apple Remote.
  23. macdude3, Aug 10, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014

    macdude3 macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010
    Anyone else getting a creepy vibe from that? It seems like they're trying to calculate out exactly how to get the perfect product every time, which I suppose makes sense and is something that many people would benefit from.

    It just seems off – and we probably didn't quite get all the details of course – but it makes you wonder, what is Apple's end goal? Do they think Steve Jobs had the correct and only solution for determining how to make products? If they hypothetically did buy back all their stock would it necessarily be a bad thing? Why is Apple trying to make so much money? I feel they must envision something greater.

    One more thought, if they need this school does't that show you just how ridiculously pliable we are as people to believe somethings that sounds amazing. Something like that should be useless right? People should inherently understand it and not need to be taught it –*the apple way –*but apparently some people aren't fully convinced and this school persuades them.

    But perhaps this article actually says much less...
  24. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Seems like they need two more classes "It Just Works" and "From a Fraction of a millimeter Comes Quality"
  25. jennyp macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    No, you're not. The "thoughts of Chairman Steve" ..

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