Apple’s New Campus

A few of my favorite excerpts from Steven Levy’s tour of Apple’s new campus.

“Jobs discussed the walls he had in mind for the offices: “He knew exactly what timber he wanted, but not just ‘I like oak’ or ‘I like maple.’ He knew it had to be quarter-­cut. It had to be cut in the winter, ideally in January, to have the least amount of sap and sugar content. We were all sitting there, architects with gray hair, going, ‘Holy shit!’”

“At first, we had no idea what Steve was actually talking about with these pods. But he had it all mapped out: a space where you could concentrate one minute and then bump into another group of people in the next,” Behling says.”

“To withstand earthquakes, the Ring is mounted on huge steel base isolators that ensure the building can move up to 4.5 feet in any direction without losing its vital services.”

“The very toughest challenge came from constructing the giant glass sliding doors for the café—they had to extend from the ground to the roof, a full four stories. Each door leaf is about 85 feet by 54 feet. “The only doors I know of in the world that size are on an airplane hangar,” Diller says.”

“It’s not like we’re asking people to be uncomfortable at work,” she says. “We’re asking them to recognize that part of being connected to the outside is knowing what temperature it is. We don’t want you to feel like you’re in a casino. We want you to know what time of day it is, what temperature it is outside. Is the wind really blowing? That was Steve’s original intention, to sort of blur that line between the inside and outside. It sort of wakes up your senses.”

Steve Jobs

What can I say about the new Steve Jobs movie other than I really enjoyed it. I came to the Mac late in life so Jobs never had the god-like status he did/does for many. This movie will seem blasphemous for those folks (like The Last Temptation of Christ).

As Aaron Sorkin has said in almost every interview, this is not a cradle-to-grave biopic. If it’s not the Steve Jobs story, it’s i Steve Jobs story and, in my opinion, a damned good one.

I like the way Aaron Sorkin writes. (And make no mistake, this is a talky movie. Noting but talk) And while he could have tried to bunt and beat it out for a single; or pull one hard to left for a stand-up double; he swung for the fence and — again, in my opinion — knocked it out of the park.

If you think the man walked on water, don’t go see this movie. If you go nuts every time Apple sets a new sales record with a product launch (looking at you Android Boy), I don’t think you’ll like it either.

If you enjoyed West Wing or The Newsroom or Social Network, I think you’ll be entertained.

I’m going to again link to a good interview (of Sorkin) by Steven Levy. If you plan to see the movie, read this first.

Steve Jobs Schools

Boy (4-5) and Girl (1) play with iPad and iPhone

“Some 1,000 children aged four to 12 will attend the schools, without notebooks, books or backpacks. Each of them, however, will have his or her own iPad. There will be no blackboards, chalk or classrooms, homeroom teachers, formal classes, lesson plans, seating charts, pens, teachers teaching from the front of the room, schedules, parent-teacher meetings, grades, recess bells, fixed school days and school vacations. If a child would rather play on his or her iPad instead of learning, it’ll be okay. And the children will choose what they wish to learn based on what they happen to be curious about.”

More at Spiegel Online

Steve Jobs’ “High Ground Maneuver”

A couple of observations on the iPhone antenna story:

  1. Of the dozen or so people I know who have the new phone, not one has had a problem.
  2. Most of the people who are pissing and moaning about this, don’t have an iPhone.

But Steve Jobs had to respond and he did so with what Scott Adams (SGITR*) calls the High Ground Maneuver:

“Apple’s response to the iPhone 4 problem didn’t follow the public relations playbook because Jobs decided to rewrite the playbook. (I pause now to insert the necessary phrase Magnificent Bastard.) If you want to know what genius looks like, study Jobs’ words: “We’re not perfect. Phones are not perfect. We all know that. But we want to make our users happy.”

Jobs changed the entire argument with nineteen words. He was brief. He spoke indisputable truth. And later in his press conference, he offered clear fixes.

Did it work? Check out the media response. There’s lots of talk about whether other smartphones are perfect or not. There’s lots of talk about whether Jobs’ response was the right one. But the central question that was in everyone’s head before the press conference – “Is the iPhone 4 a dud” – has, well, evaporated.”

Mr. Adams predicts Jobs’ response will become the public relations standard for consumer products. Let’s revisit this in 90 days.

*Smartest Guy in the Room

UPDATE: Seems I do know at least one person with the new phone who is having problems. I either forgot or repressed that. See Phil’s comment below.

Stephen Fry on Steve Jobs and the iPad

Of all the early reviews of the iPad, this one by Stephen Fry soars above the rest for me. During his visit to Apple HQ, he gets time with Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs. Fry is shameless and open in his love of all things Apple reminds me of the decision to buy my first Mac.

“We are human beings; our first responses to anything are dominated not by calculations but by feelings. What (Jonathan) Ive and his team understand is that if you have an object in your pocket or hand for hours every day, then your relationship with it is profound, human and emotional. Apple’s success has been founded on consumer products that address this side of us: their products make users smile as they reach forward to manipulate, touch, fondle, slide, tweak, pinch, prod and stroke.”

On Steve Jobs:

“For some, his personal magnetism is almost of a dangerous, Elmer Gantry kind.”

Jobs on Life and Career:

“I don’t think of my life as a career,” he says. “I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That’s not a career — it’s a life!”

Fry’s hand-on review of the iPad:

“It is possible that the public will not fall on the iPad, as I did, like lions on an antelope. Perhaps they will find the apps and the iBooks too expensive. Maybe they will wait for more fully featured later models. But for me, my iPad is like a gun lobbyist’s rifle: the only way you will take it from me is to prise it from my cold, dead hands.”

[via @jonzissou]

“Some things need to be believed to be seen”

Excerpts from Adam Bryant’s interview with Guy Kawasaki:

  • “I learned from Steve Jobs that people can change the world. Maybe we didn’t get 95 percent market share, but we did make the world a better place. I learned from Steve that some things need to be believed to be seen.”
  • “We believed in the Mac division that we were making the world a better place by making people more creative and productive. Google, at its core, probably believes it’s making the world a better place by democratizing information.”
  • “Make yourself dispensable — what greater accomplishment is there than the organization running well without you?”
  • “You should conduct first- and second-round (hiring) interviews by phone, not in person.”
  • “(Business schools) should teach students how to communicate in five-sentence e-mails and with 10-slide PowerPoint presentations.”

That last bullet is my new objective. If you get a longer email from me, remind me of this post.

My first laptop sticker

I’ve wanted to to. But just couldn’t bring myself to stick something to the silky brushed aluminum of my MacBook Pro. Same lack of committment that’s kept me from getting a tattoo.  But tonight I did it. In proud, Mac fan-boy fashion.

Maybe it had somthing to do with today’s earnings report by Apple (north of $50 billion). Or the rumor (TechCrunch) that Jobs has referred to the forthcoming Tablet as, “…the most important thing I’ve ever done.” Who knows.

The one above is the creation of JIROBOT. I also like the one with the Apple logo on Steve Ballmer’s head… or the finger-roll lay up by Michael Jordon. I’m sure you’ll find one you like.

Waiting in line in the dark and the cold

Sarah Palin has another book signing at noon today at the Barnes & Noble in Sioux City, Iowa. Supporters spent the night in the parking lot in hopes of getting their book signed. My friend Kay drove up from Des Moines to cover the event and took some photos. The wind chill was about 9 degrees.


Her story and photos got me thinking about things about which I care enough to wait in line, in the cold (I hate both). I couldn’t come up with much.

There was the time George (pictured), David and I waited in bitter cold weather to attend a taping of Digg Nation in St. Louis.


I had not idea San Francisco could be so cold at 4:30 a.m. or I would not have waited in line to see Steve Jobs give a keynote at MacWorld.

But the coldest of the cold will always be (I hope) the inauguration. My hands are shaking just typeing these words.


For whom/what have you/are you willing to wait all night in the freezing cold?

The all-digital newsroom

From Steve Outing column at Editor & Publisher:

“What will it take to get one of the remaining jobs in the all-digital newsroom? Certainly an understanding of, and probably enthusiasm for, new forms of media and storytelling. The transformed newsroom will be filled with multi-functional journalists who are comfortable carrying around a digital camera and tiny video camera; who make it part of their routine to record audio for possible use in podcasts or multimedia project sound clips; who are regular users of social networks and understand how to leverage them to communicate with and attract new readers, and share some personal information about themselves as well as promote their work; and who are comfortable and willing to put in the time to engage and communicate with their readers or viewers, including participating in reader comment threads accompanying their stories.”

“With blogs at the center of a reporter’s work universe, there’s still much to do in this new kind of news operation.

Here’s what the reporter/blogger will routinely do:

1. Long-form stories and features. But in this new environment, a reporter may do fewer of these because of other duties. And they may be in a variety of formats, from simple text and video to multimedia presentations, audio or podcasts.

2. Regular blog entries (basically short articles) through the day. The reporter in this organization doesn’t wait till all the facts are in when it’s a big breaking story, but reports what’s known quickly. Additional blog updates can be added as the news event progresses. (Again, don’t take “blog entry” to mean “text.” A reporter might post video or audio to the blog, as well.)

3. Instant updates. When relevant, a reporter will put out short alerts to mobile phone news alert subscribers; to an e-mail list; as a “tweet” on Twitter or brief report on other social networks to update the reporter’s “friends” and “followers,” etc. This can take but a minute (with proper systems in place to streamline the process), and then it’s on to the write-up for the blog.”

And I hate crowds

Did I mention that Barb and I will be attending the inauguration in a couple of weeks? I use the word “attending” loosely.

Bridges and major roadways closed to all but bus traffic; the D.C. subway system expecting ‘crush-level’ crowds; escalators closed. The Congressional Inaugural Committee issued an “Inaugural Advisory” that basically said: stay home.

From CBS News: “While the actual swearing-in will take place shortly before noon, the formal program begins at 11:30 AM and the musical prelude and seating will begin much earlier. Security checkpoints will open for ticketed guests at 8:00 AM, and the committee advises arriving no later than 9:00 AM to ensure that you are through the checkpoints by the time the program begins. Screening will end when the program begins at 11:30 AM and late arrivals will not be able to enter the grounds.”

And if it’s raining like pouring piss out of a boot?

“Regardless of the weather conditions, umbrellas will not be permitted in the ticketed areas.”

Same goes for “strollers, Laser pointers, Signs, Posters, Animals (other than service animals), Alcoholic beverages, (and) Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screeners.”

But I’ll get some good pix that I can put online, right?

“Be aware that it may be difficult to talk or send pictures from your cell phone, according to wireless companies. Please use text messaging to send critical messages.”

What the hell. I waited in for five hours to hear a Steve Jobs keynote address at MacWorld (which, as it turns out, was his final one)… I can wait a few hours to watch history being made. I’ll be the one dressed like Frances McDormand.