How Apple comes out of an endless loop. Old campus stories
Photo: Michelle Groskopf, Wired
I feel strange looking every year the presentation of new iPhones. Everything is getting better, bigger, faster, sparkling. But at the same time, as if swaying from too dispersed metabolism.
I have nothing against Apple and the modern consumption of smartphones. Just from time to time, old fans drop melancholic and nostalgic: “It was not Jobs who bequeathed this company to us.” And a few days ago, perhaps the most beautiful, detached and subtly veiled expression of this opinion appeared. Stephen Levy, Wired editor who has been writing about Apple for about 30 years, has recorded the history of the company's old campusaccording to the people who worked in it. They saw, it seems, everything - armed people on the roof of the building, pickets of Newton fans, Jobs' tears when he learned that he was dying, the birth of an iPod and an iPhone.
The article almost no word from the author. It is called “The Story of Apple’s Endless Cycle through the Eyes of Eyewitnesses” (Infinite Loop is the name of the old campus, which he received in honor of a well-known programmer term for you). But Levi spotted the best metaphor in reality and perfectly matched the structure to express his attitude.
The text starts like this:
In the early 90s, Apple decided to expand its main office in Cupertino, building a new large campus. It was the idea of Steve Jobs, who was kicked out of the company in the mid-80s.
And it ends - as you probably guess - by returning to the beginning of the cycle.
We have selected the best stories and quotes from the article.
Start of an endless loop
Steve Jobs has infected the idea of a new John Sculley campus, which was head of Apple from 1983 to 1992. “He called him Super Construction, and he wanted everything to resemble a visit to Disneyland. Around the monorails, people in multicolored uniforms. "
Chris Espinoza, a man who has worked at Apple since 1977, says: “The leaders and the software group were the first to enter. They occupied Building 1. Building 2 was completely relegated to the Mac team. The third was taken for development tools, technical support and marketing. Building 4 had a cafeteria and a library. As planned, the entire R & D department was also supposed to fit, but by the time of the move we had grown too large. Of course, then the company's business went downhill, and as a result, everyone had enough space. By 1996, we were already working at the Infinite Loop. ”
Employees called the corps abbreviated IL1, IL2. The phrase “meet at Infinite Loop 7” meant “let's get drunk” because there was a Pepper Mill restaurant. From the very beginning, no one numbered the negotiations, and the staff used to call them "Ta" and "This." “We will meet in that negotiation,” they said, but which one, naturally, was always confused.
“These buildings were a real labyrinth,” says former company vice president Scott Fortel, “no matter who I went to campus, everyone was lost. I remember only one case when this did not happen. We made a screen for people with limited vision, and I called for a person who walked with a guide dog. He asked where the toilet is. All those who asked me about it, eventually lost on the way back. Left, right, left, right, right. And then five minutes later the dog returned it to us. So, this guide dog is the only one who did not get lost in the campus, having got there for the first time. ”
When Apple finally moved to the Infinite Loop, she had serious problems. The employees did not even dream then whether Apple would be successful again. They thought how long the company would last. The leaders took turns one after another, and no one really understood what to do. Gil Amelio led the company from 1996 to 1997. “I was handed a trash can and I did what I could to clean it,” he says. At that time, losses were in the hundreds of millions, and managers continually cut teams.
Apple turned into a trash can, but Jobs is back
Steve Jobs at this time headed the company NeXT. When Apple announced its purchase, and that Jobs would take control again, people whispered - “we are saved.” Amelio also understood that "his days are numbered, because Jobs would never leave him in the post."
“I absolutely did not fit into the culture,” he says, “I ran the company in a very professional, disciplined style. I had one goal - to make the company work. It was the solution of fundamental problems. We created a new platform, we solved quality problems. ”
Steve, returning, talked a lot of people, but nobody liked him. Then he remained at the post himself. That day, Chris Espinoza brought a pirate flag to the campus, glued the Apple logo on it and hung it in the atrium. Jobs did not enter the spacious study of Amelio. He occupied a small room and very quickly piled it with all sorts of rubbish and things that he was constantly sent to.
He held meetings every Monday, and as an employee recalls, he spoke 75% of the time himself while the others listened. Then he launched the Think Different campaign, primarily aimed at the employees themselves. He hung on the campus giant posters with photos of workers, their products and this very inscription. “If you're a manager or an engineer, nothing motivates you more than a 40-foot-high banner with your product,” Espinoza says.
Protests for Newton and the mysterious Tim Cook
In 1997, Jobs decided to close the Newton project, on the very day that Tim Cook got to work - the current head of the company.
“On my first day, I had to make my way through the picket to get into the office,” he says, “people stood with signs, shouting, as it turned out because Steve decided to kill Newton. I say, "there are protesters outside," and he is, "but, yes, do not worry about it."
To the bewilderment of employees, Steve replied: “They have every right to be angry. They love Newton. This is a great product, but we have to close it, and this is sad, so we will bring them coffee and donuts, say that we love them, support them, and that we are sorry. ”
One day, before the launch of iMovie, Jobs distributed new Sony cameras to the employees, issued an iMac and told everyone to make a film.
“The following Monday, we returned with our films,” says Mike Slade, who worked at Apple from 1999 to 2004, “Most of us had children, and we made films about them. Steve also made a movie about his children. But it’s not the children’s films that were the most fun. Tim Cook took off as he makes fun of the high prices of housing in Palo Alto. Interesting - but then it did not tell us about Tim. We knew nothing about him, he was impenetrable. ”
In 1998, Steve asked his friend Francesco Longoni to take over the management of the cafeteria used by Apple employees. Francesco replied, “Only if I become an Apple employee, and all the chefs become employees, instead of this nonsense with third-party companies. And then I got an offer. All friends said I was crazy because Apple is dead. And I said, "No, Steve is back, and I know Steve very well - he will turn everything over there." Francesco still feeds the company's employees for 20 years.
Billionaire who steals dinners from his company
Scott Forstel recalls that Jobs was constantly paying him lunch.
“It always seemed strange to me. Even when we walked together, he picked up some ready-made sushi on the move, and I, for example, ordered pizza from the oven - he still waited for me at the cash register, 10 minutes, or even 15. I was so embarrassed. Finally, I told him, "I can pay for myself, please stop standing and wait for me." And he replied, "Scott, you don't understand. We pay for food with our badges, and we deduct money from our salary. And my salary is one dollar a year. So, I eat for free. ” This is how a multi-billionaire heated up his company every day for a few dollars. ”
In 2001, the Infinite Loop still seemed empty, and the company was far from the most successful. “It was a terrible time,” Tim Cook recalls, “Shares collapsed by 60-70%. We were called by Ted White, the founder of Gateway. He wanted to discuss buying Apple. Steve and I went to meet him - and then it was a completely different Steve. Calm, listening to their comments, plans, what they will do with Apple. And I sat next to me, and it seemed to me that everything inside was cut out. When they said that they might have a place for Steve, I thought it would explode! Explode at any minute! And when they started talking about the price, Steve looked at them - and he could look as if he pierced his soul with his eyes - and said, “What do you think, who is more expensive, Apple or Gateway?”. The meeting ended in a couple of minutes. And after a few weeks they had problems, and their shares collapsed. ”
iPod, iPhone and gunmen
No matter how the company looked from the outside, there was intense work on the iPod inside.
“I got the idea that we can embody the wheel on a music player. You can twist and twist it, and it will be really cool, ”says Tim Schiller, vice president of international marketing.
But right after the presentation, when everyone wanted to go celebrate, Steve had other plans. “Tony, Joni, Jos, Phil, let's go to the ID room [industrial design studio], he said,“ In the next generation we have to do this, this, this, this, this, this ... ”.
“That is, we literally celebrated in a nanosecond, and then continued to work,” recalls designer Tony Fadell.
After the release of the iPod, Steve Jobs finally established itself as the center for solving all issues in the company. The design studio was off-campus, but Jobs insisted that she be transferred to Infinite Loop. Not all employees wanted him to break into and impose his ideas any time, but he could not argue. Jobs was capricious and eccentric. Often, he did not even hold meetings in negotiations, but on the move - making circles in the corridors of the Infinite Loop.
In the meantime, music celebrities were visiting the campus more and more often. One guest - the ambassador from a country that no one wanted to call - demanded armed security around the perimeter. On that day, all the employees worked, while the arrows looked at them from the roofs through the rifle sights.
“In the mid-2000s, we worked on prototypes of tablets that never saw the light,” says senior engineer Evi Tevanian, “Multitouch, soft keyboard, a lot of things. We tried to understand what we could do. ”
According to Forstel, once they were sitting in a cafe, buried in telephones - like all the people around. But the phones, they thought, were just awful. And then Steve asked: “Do you think the technologies we make for the tablet can be applied to something that fits in your pocket?” After that, they made a prototype. So began the work on the iPhone.
He was made in terrible secrecy. The campus at this time became almost a fortress. One of the employees even said that he took advice from friends from the CIA on how to avoid surveillance.
But long before the release, Jobs found out that he had cancer.
Apple without Jobs again, the cycle continues
“I can count on my fingers how many times Steve looked into my office,” recalls Mike Slade. “Once he came in, closed the door and said,“ I have to discuss something extremely important with you. ” And he began to talk about his argument with Lauren [Jobs' wife] about cheese. He believed that children should not eat it, and Lauren argued that cheese is an excellent source of protein. I said, “Steve, maybe you're right, but this is the situation in which you lose by winning. Wouldn't it be better to leave the choice to her? ”The next time he came in the fall of 2003 and said,“ I have to tell you something - I have pancreatic cancer, I am dying. ” He cried, I cried, it was terrible. Such is Monday. ”
8 incredibly intense and important for the company years have passed. We all know how Apple influenced the world during the time Jobs fought cancer. He died on October 5, 2011.
“It was probably the only day in my 20 years on the campus when I was not there. On this day, there was a shooting in Cupertino, police helicopters were flying all around, and the criminal was still not caught, so I stayed at home, ”recalls one of the employees. “When the news came, I decided that I should be in the office, with all the people. But when I got there, everyone’s gone. The campus looked like a ghost town, it was so weird. ”
“We locked Steve’s office,” says Tim Cook, “Neither I, nor anyone else, entered his office. I immediately decided that it would be wrong to change something there. There were his personal belongings, which are now with Lauren. But the table, the bookshelf, the armchair are still the same. The drawings of his daughter are still on the blackboard. Last summer she came, I showed her these pictures. It seems that Steve is still there, because I so often saw him in this office. Usually people visit graves to remember a person. I rarely go there, but I often come to his office. ”
Scott Forstel recalls: “Soon after buying the land for a new campus, Steve and I examined it. I thought he would be happy, but he was a little sad. We walked past an abandoned building with a Hewlett-Packard sign. Apple bought land from HP, one of the largest companies in the history of Silicon Valley, founded by two legendary people. Steve glanced at the building and said, “Everything eventually comes to an end.”
So Levy ends the article - almost as it begins. The company is moving to a new, ultra-modern Apple Park campus - according to Steve's idea, but without Steve. If Levi sees an endless cycle in this, it is rather funny to re-read the text a second time, not as a memory, but as a prophecy.