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Spaceship, Lion, iOS5, iCloud, Jobs, and jobs

Well, it is probably appropriate that today, after I finally got a chance to watch the WWDC keynote full screen on our 27-inch iMac, that I would learn of Apple’s plans for a new, circular office building to house 12,000-13,000 employees, on land purchased from Hewlett-Packard in Cupertino.

At this point, I think that the best way for folks to learn about MacOS X Lion, iOS5, and iCloud is to watch the keynote address on Apple’s site, preferably on a Mac or iOS device! :-) One of the things that I learned I put to immediate use! (As in, pausing the presentation and doing the downloads…!) Apps purchased from app stores can be purchased ONCE and downloaded to your several devices. This will also hold true for the upgrade to Lion, available for $29.99 ONLY from the Mac App Store. (Thanks, Apple!) It was very nice to see Steve Jobs, but it was ALSO nice for me to see Eddy Cue, VP of Internet Services, who presented two demonstrations during the keynote. I worked in Eddy’s area when I spent a year at Apple as a Netscape Enterprise Support Account Manager. It was good to see him on stage.

I think that the WWDC keynote should be required viewing for tech-sector executives who want to know what a truly creative and innovative company looks like. Creativity and innovation are more than marketing buzzwords or executive self-perception (as in “that exec is a legend in his/her own mind”). As one of the engineers with whom I worked at Sun said, “The keynote is a ‘must-see.'”

So, what’s this about a spaceship? :-)

Steve Jobs, a long-time Cupertino resident, gave a 20-minute presentation to the Cupertino City Council concerning proposed plans to build a large, circular environmentally-correct 4-story office building to house Apple’s current 12,000 employees, and then some, in 150 landscaped acres where there are now paved parking lots.

Jobs told a “star-struck city council” that:

“It’s a little like a spaceship has landed.”

And, for the journalist who once suggested that Jobs might be a Myers-Briggs “ENFP” (if Jobs is not an “ENTJ,” then he is either a superb actor [and he is! :-) ], or psychologists need to rewrite the “job description” [no pun intended]), Steve offered the Cupertino City Council one big “stick” – the specter of taking all of the building and all of the jobs and all of the city’s largest tax base to nearby Mountain View! :-) There. Wasn’t that “nice?” :-) (Adam Lashinsky offers additional insight.)

Since Apple treated me VERY well during my one year on their campus, and since I would find (and HAVE found :-) ) the very act of computing both AGONIZING and CLUNKY without their products, it would be inappropriate and ungracious for me to comment. (Note added June 09, 2011: I view that year as a Netscape employee, based at Apple, as the VERY BEST year of my employment history working for others, and Netscape as my very best employer, overall!)

For those of you who have spent any time in the offices of high-tech companies (I have), you might have noticed some similarities (as the result of the amount of security needed), with prisons. :-) Some of the details range from microphones to “man-traps” to palm-and-fingerprint scanners to cameras to RFID chips in employee IDs (… think “GPS anklets” :-) ) to monitoring software for phones and computers. But, since “physical security comes first,” many high-tech companies have buildings that are joined by fences (Apple’s cluster at Infinite Loop is, and Sun Microsystems campuses were) around a central “open space,” or are rectangular structures around a central courtyard…. Personally, I find the circular form an improvement, although Jobs noted that it is an expensive one to build. The concept of housing upward of 12,000 employees in one building says “a little something” about “control,” too! 😉

(Note added June 13, 2011: The shape of the building [since it is 3-dimensional] is NOT, of course, CIRCULAR, but sort of a vertically-flattened [“squashed”] “donut” or torus, a toroid. Yes, “torus” and “Taurus” are different! :-) )

The Fortune article seems certain that Jobs will get his project approved, and groundbreaking would begin in 2012 for occupancy in 2015. I wish Apple the best and hope that I get to see the building someday.

The Cupertino City Council posted a video of the presentation on YouTube. Enjoy!

-Bill at

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