News Analysis: Apple's top iPhone executive has left the company over reports that he didn't fit into Apple's corporate culture. So, maybe it's time for a review of what Apple's culture is really all about.
The announcement that Apple Senior Vice President Mark Papermaster left
Apple sent shockwaves through the tech industry. Papermaster came to Apple from
IBM after the companies waged a short-lived
battle over exactly when he could start working at the hardware company.
After that, he took over the iPhone and iPod Touch and, at least to
outsiders, did a fine job of delivering products that consumers wanted. His
departure from Apple was very much a surprise.
But it didn't take long for some details and speculation about
the reasons for Papermaster's departure from anonymous sources to make their
way into news reports. One claim made by the Wall Street Journal stood out. The
publication said that its sources claimed Papermaster didn't
match well with Apple's corporate culture
. And as those problems persisted,
Steve Jobs started losing faith in his ability to lead the mobile devices
Admittedly, the Wall Street Journal's report has not been
confirmed by Apple or Papermaster, so it's impossible to say why he really
left. But the source's claim of cultural incompatibility seems to be something
that some employees suffer from at Apple. And that's unfortunate because Jobs
has created one of the most distinct corporate cultures in the
business. Here is what makes Apple's corporate culture so
1. Focus on design
The first thing that every employee must remember about Apple
is that the company
cares more about the design
of products than any other firm in the market.
Unlike Microsoft, which has historically done a poor job of creating
aesthetically pleasing products, Apple really gets design. It understands what
consumers want, it knows how to meet those desires, and it sets out to beat any
and all expectations. It's not always easy, but Apple seems to get it right
every time. If an employee doesn't help the company do that, he might end up
with another company sooner than he thinks.
2. Believe in Jobs
Apple is an interesting firm. Its corporate culture extends
beyond its employees to its consumers. So, what it expects from its employees,
it also expects from its customers. One of the most important things it expects
is for both stakeholders to believe in Steve Jobs. Over the past decade, Jobs
has been Apple's savior. He has helped the company revive its aging business
model, innovate beyond all expectations and deliver some of the better products
on the market. Sometimes, that belief in Jobs can go too far, as evidenced by the
most recent iPhone antenna debacle, but for the most part, believing in Steve
Jobs has been good for Apple and good for both employees and consumers.
3. Forget everything that came before it
When employees come to Apple, they are expected to immediately
do one thing: forget everything they ever knew about the technology world.
Apple does everything differently. Whether it's the design of products, how it
goes about devising ideas for new products or simply the way it carries itself,
everything is different at Apple. To pretend like something is similar to a
past employer is a mistake that could cause more trouble than it's worth. Apple
4. Believe Apple is better than all others
Apple has an ego unlike any other company in the space. Whereas
Microsoft always believes that the other shoe is about to drop, Apple believes
that it can stop the shoe from ever falling. Part
of that is due to Steve Jobs' ego
. He believes that his company is the best
in the world and it should carry itself that way. Apple haters can't stand
that, but it has become a call to arms for all of the company's lovers and