Apple's rampant culture of secrecy detailed £659
19th Jan 2012 | 00:39
New employees don't know 'real job' until day one, says book
Apple is famous for its mafia-like code of silence, but a new book chronicling life inside Infinite Loop lifts the lid on just how far the company is willing to go to keep its projects secret.
The Inside Apple book, penned by Fortune's Adam Lashinsky, says meetings are often cloak and dagger affairs due to "disclosure" issues, while new staff often don't know their real job until day one.
Lashinsky, who interviewed scores of former employees during his research, also revealed that new physical walls often go up around the complex when new projects begin.
Is everyone disclosed?
In a fascinating excerpt from the book, released January 25th, he writes: "To discuss a topic at a meeting, one must be sure everyone in the room is 'disclosed' on the topic, meaning they have been made privy to certain secrets.
"'You can't talk about any secret until you're sure everyone is disclosed on it,' said an ex-employee. As a result, Apple employees and their projects are pieces of a puzzle.
"The snapshot of the completed puzzle is known only at the highest reaches of the organization"
When the carpenters appear, stay clear
The latest excerpt from the book, which also claims iOS chief Scott Forstall is eying the top job at the company, says the physical surroundings will often change when a big project is afoot.
"Apple employees know something big is afoot when the carpenters appear in their office building," he writes.
"New walls are quickly erected. Doors are added and new security protocols put into place. Windows that once were transparent are now frosted. Other rooms have no windows at all. They are called lockdown rooms: No information goes in or out without a reason.
"The hubbub is disconcerting for employees. Quite likely you have no idea what is going on, and it's not like you're going to ask. If it hasn't been disclosed to you, then it's literally none of your business.
"What's more, your badge, which got you into particular areas before the new construction, no longer works in those places. All you can surmise is that a new, highly secretive project is under way, and you are not in the know. End of story."
Lashinsky also reckons that new starters at the company only find out the true nature of their role at the company when they arrive on the first day.
Often they have been interviewed for "dummy positions" and will be briefed fully on day one.
The book also reveals that unlike Google, Apple doesn't give out free lunches to its employees unless its on your first day. Little wonder the company has $80+ billion of stockpiled cash coming out of its ears, the giant skinflints!
Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired - and Secretive - Company Really Works, is released on 25th January