Apple’s dedication to simplicity and elegance has been evident for quite some time. From the company’s first computers to its most recent portable devices, Apple has always put design first. But how does it instill those same values in its employees decades later? Reporting for The New York Times, Brian X. Chen was able to spend a day inside Apple University, the company’s internal training program which includes full-time faculty members who create and teach their own courses and attempt to pass on the values of the founders from one generation of employees to the next.
Apple may well be the only tech company on the planet that would dare compare itself to Picasso. In a class at the company’s internal training program, the so-called Apple University, the instructor likened the 11 lithographs that make up Picasso’s “The Bull” to the way Apple builds its smartphones and other devices. The idea: Apple designers strive for simplicity just as Picasso eliminated details to create a great work of art. Steven P. Jobs established Apple University as a way to inculcate employees into Apple’s business culture and educate them about its history, particularly as the company grew and the tech business changed. Courses are not required, only recommended, but getting new employees to enroll is rarely a problem. Although many companies have such internal programs, sometimes referred to as indoctrination, Apple’s version is a topic of speculation and fascination in the tech world. It is highly secretive and rarely written about, referred to briefly in the biography of Mr. Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Apple employees are discouraged from talking about the company in general, and the classes are no exception. No pictures of the classrooms have surfaced publicly. And a spokeswoman for Apple declined to make instructors available for interviews for this article.