updated 10:02 am EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Workers say institution is 'meticulously planned'
Citing three people who have attended the school, the New York Times has published a profile of Apple University, the institution used to indoctrinate workers into Apple's corporate culture. The dean of the school is Joel Podolny, who took over full-time in February. The school is reportedly "meticulously planned, with polished presentations and a gleaming veneer that masks a great deal of effort;" one worker comments that "even the toilet paper in the bathrooms is really nice." Classrooms are described as well-lit and trapezoid-shaped, with stadium seating so that everyone has a clear field of view. In some cases, though, teachers travel outside the US to present lectures.
A private website lets workers of virtually any position in the company sign up for classes. Subjects are said to cover areas like general company culture and past business decisions. One course is even meant to indoctrinate founders of companies bought by Apple, and the Times suggests that a new class may be ushered in for absorbed Beats employees. A "Communicating at Apple" course, run by former Pixar University dean Randy Nelson, teaches workers both internal collaboration and outside marketing skills. "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," says one participant.
A "What Makes Apple, Apple" class reportedly echoes this idea of stripping down content. A given example is a slide -- shown by a teacher last year -- of a 78-button Google TV remote, which was contrasted with the three-button Apple TV remote. Another part of Apple's doctrine is conveyed in a course called "The Best Things," which asks workers to surround themselves with its namesake, such as skilled peers and top-shelf materials.
Apple University was originated by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who wanted to keep his business ideologically in-check even as it expanded and the technology industry changed. Its courses aren't mandatory, but the Times claims that getting new employees to try them is rarely difficult.