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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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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.

internal_training_apple_video-800x450.jpg
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:
One class taught founders of recently acquired companies how to smoothly blend resources and talents into Apple. The company may also offer a course tailored specifically to employees of Beats, perhaps including its founders, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Neither Apple nor Beats would comment.
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:
In a version of the class taught last year, Mr. Nelson showed a slide of "The Bull," a series of 11 lithographs of a bull that Picasso created over about a month, starting in late 1945. In the early stages, the bull has a snout, shoulder shanks and hooves, but over the iterations, those details vanish. The last image is a curvy stick figure that is still unmistakably a bull.

"You go through more iterations until you can simply deliver your message in a very concise way, and that is true to the Apple brand and everything we do," recalled one person who took the course.
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
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,182
1,236
NYC
Too bad they don't offer these online [as online courses]. Could be useful for a lot of people.
 

sshambles

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2005
743
1,095
Australia
"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*
 

Z400Racer37

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2011
710
1,662
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... :/
 

spillproof

macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2009
2,028
2
USA
What a horrible photo.

I wish I could get access to Ivy League instructors without the price tag.
 

mdlooker

macrumors 65816
Mar 7, 2011
1,220
201
US
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.
 

cmaier

Suspended
Jul 25, 2007
25,407
33,453
California
Is there a program on how to pump product pipelines instead of just talk about how awesome they are?

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.
 

AxoNeuron

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2012
1,251
855
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.

“The Best Things,” another course, takes its name from a quotation by Mr. Jobs.
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.
 

krravi

macrumors 65816
Nov 30, 2010
1,173
0
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.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,891
1,479
Palookaville
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."

What the NY Times actually wrote:

The Google TV remote serves as a counterexample; it had so many buttons, Mr. Nelson said, because the individual engineers and designers who worked on the project all got what they wanted. But, Apple’s designers concluded, only three were needed.

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

TomMcIn

macrumors regular
Oct 22, 2008
115
178
Canada
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.
 

samh004

macrumors 68020
Mar 1, 2004
2,222
140
Australia
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."

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.
 

macdude3

macrumors member
Jun 16, 2010
41
0
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...
 
Last edited:

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,884
77
Seems like they need two more classes "It Just Works" and "From a Fraction of a millimeter Comes Quality"
 
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