Steve Jobs Legacy Will Live On In The Apple University

Steve Jobs Legacy Will Live On In The Apple University

While the Apple camp in Cupertino is now without its most famous founder, Steve Jobs has ensured that the company will do just fine while he’s not around. For years, Steve himself had been planning one of Apple’s most secretive projects. But it wasn’t a new iPhone or a new iPad, it was Apple University — an executive training program that teaches Apple bosses to be more like Steve.

Steve considered Apple University to be vital to the company’s future, according to the LA Times, and so he brought together a team of experts that will train Apple executives to keep things ticking over smoothly. One of those experts is said to be the dean of Yale’s Business School, Joel Podolny, who Steve personally recruited to run the program back in 2008.

A former Apple executive, who asked not to be named to preserve his relationship with the company, told the LA Times:

“Steve was looking to his legacy. The idea was to take what is unique about Apple and create a forum that can impart that DNA to future generations of Apple employees. No other company has a university charged with probing so deeply into the roots of what makes the company so successful.”

Steve reportedly began work on the university by putting together a group of academics around 5 years ago, but in 2008, the project took on a greater urgency when Steve took his second leave of medical absence.

Steve identified principals which he believes are essential to maintaining Apple’s famous innovation and success, including accountability, attention to detail, perfectionism, simplicity, and secrecy. All of which have been created into “university-caliber” courses that teach Apple bosses how those principals are key to the company’s strategies and practices.

After saying goodbye to his position at Yale, Podolny moved into an office between Steve and Tim Cook. He was already fond of both Steve and Apple, and even described writing his first computer program on an Apple II. In his letter of farewell to Yale students, Podolny wrote:

“While there are many great companies, I cannot think of one that has had as tremendous personal meaning for me as Apple”.

It’s fascinating the think that in the years preceding Steve’s resignation from the role of CEO, he was putting together a school that would teach Apple’s executives to think more like him when he’s not around.

  • SpellingFTW

    Principles*

  • JDWages

    I’ve been reading all the news about this and it still doesn’t make any sense to me.  Are we talking a series of classes at an existing university, or a full fledged university bearing the Apple name?  If the latter, it makes no sense that one would invest 4 years and then become a member of Apple.  Clearly, this must be a very unique kind of university.  Even so, how could every class be about Steve Jobs?

  • WVMikeP

    It’s a name.  Just like “iTunes U.”

  • Mike Pisino

    :-0 How do I enroll?

  • JDWages

    A name?  I still don’t understand.  Where is this university?  At Apple headquarters in Cupertino?  And it is merely “a name” and teaches nothing?  How does this “name” set about to accomplish its aims?

  • WVMikeP

    What’s so difficult to understand?

    Is Hamburger University a real university?  Does it matter that it’s not?  http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/

    Similar concept.

  • J H

    It’s just a program that Apple employees go through. Similar to a management training course.

  • atimoshenko

    From the blog post:
    “It’s fascinating the think that in the years preceding Steve’s resignation from the role of CEO, he was putting together a school that would teach Apple’s executives to think more like him when he’s not around.”

    From SJ’s Stanford address:
    “Don’t be trapped by dogma —which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

    This is the thing that I am most scared about in Apple’s future. That people would be asking WWSJD? That managers would be trying to be the next Steve Jobs rather than be the first ‘them’. This is, after all, what Jobs would ultimately do – he would continue to reinvent himself. Jobs was the quintessential iconoclast. You should not turn an iconoclast into an icon.

    I hope the clear purpose of the university then is for people to learn FROM Jobs, not to learn TO BE Jobs.

  • JDWages

    But the article says, ““university-caliber” courses that teach Apple bosses how those principals are key to the company’s strategies and practices.”  The use of the word “bosses” does not imply that this “university of courses” would be for every Apple employee.  And the use of the plural in “courses” implies that it would be more than one course as well.  Again, lots of questions, few details.  I cannot help but be curious on this point, as I would like to know exact how one teaches another to be like Steve Jobs!

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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