Jony Ive talks Silicon Valley’s culture in BBC interview

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Jony Ive
Jony Ive agrees that diversity is one of Apple's biggest strengths.
Photo: Vanity Fair/YouTube

Jony Ive was interviewed on the BBC’s Today program on BBC Radio 4 today, during which he talked about the importance of design, and Apple’s push to embrace diversity.

“At Apple, we’ve been very clear about how important it is that we have a diverse pool of talent that we can hire from,” Ive said. He also described the way that Silicon Valley’s cultural diversity, comprising people from all over the world, is what makes it special.

This backs up a message Tim Cook has been eager to spread. Earlier this year, Cook sent a message to all Apple employees, criticizing President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. As part of the letter, Cook wrote that, “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.”

Jony Ive backed up this perspective in today’s interview, but without mentioning Trump. “That general principle [is that it is] terribly important for creating a context for multiple companies to grow and in a healthy way explore and develop new products and new product types,” he said.

Ive also talked about the way that Silicon Valley doesn’t penalize failure as harshly as some other places. “There is the sense that failure isn’t irreversible, so very often people will work on an idea, and there isn’t the same sense of stigma when one idea and perhaps one company doesn’t work out,” he said.

Finally, Ive discussed his belief that design should be a far more central part of education, since it is something that affects us all. “If we care about our cars, our houses, our chairs and our phones, it naturally follows that we care about design,” he said.

You can listen to the interview here (note: I’m based in the U.K., so there is a chance that region-blocking may stop this working in other countries), where Jony Ive’s interview starts at around the 2 hour 47 mark.

It’s not a particularly long interview, and you won’t find much discussion about Apple in there. However, for a relatively rare radio appearance from Ive, it’s certainly worth a listen.