Want to know what it’s like to work at Apple? A post over at Quora has some illuminating answers, but according to ex-employee Chad Little, it all boils down to “a divided mix of typical corporate red tape and politics… mixed with a start-up level [of] urgency when the direction comes from Steve.”
“If you have a project that Steve is not involved in, it will take months of meetings to move things forward,” says Little. “If Steve wants it done, it’s done faster than anyone thinks is humanly possible.
Little cites the energy and excitement of the product launch process as the biggest high of the Apple employment experience. Curiously, though, he cites the perks as pretty bad compared to other companies: the cafe’s expensive (although you can apparently get 25 cent Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, which is just adorable) as is the gym.
You don’t even get a particularly good discount on Apple products: you are allowed to buy only one computer system at 25% off per year. Jobs’ defense of this cheapness is pretty flip: “It’s my job to make your stock go up so you can afford these things.”
Supplementing Little’s comments on Apple’s internal culture comes this quote by former colleague Justin Maxwell, who succinctly explains Apple’s obsession with secrecy: “You are part of something much bigger than you. The ideas you talk about in the hall, the neat tricks you figured out in CSS, the new unibody machining technique, that’s part of your job, something you are paid to do for Apple’s success, not something you need to blog about to satisfy your ego. Don’t fuck it up for everyone.”
At the end of the day, though, it’s all good: “[I]t’s exciting to be part of this. Knowing that that codename you know isn’t the same codename someone else knows, designed to see who slips up and leaks. Knowing that that thing you’re working on might not be what you think it is at all, only the relevant details of your interaction with it and work on it are what matter. It creates such a huge amount of respect for what the company is doing, internally, and I think people feel good about participating in it.”
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