room at the same time?  Where else have I felt like I just walked in the transporter room and am about to be energized into a new part of a universe? 

Other corporations might have conference rooms with names like, Conference Room 1 or 3M Company’s “Interactive Nodes” (Peters 1997).  Where else but Apple can you attend meetings in conference rooms that were named, Eternity or Mission Impossible?   I used to love the “Did I just hear what I think you said” reaction that I so often got when telling people outside Apple that we were going to meet in a conference room named, Daffy Duck, Three Ring Circus, 10-acious, The Star Trek Bridge, Play-Doh, U2, Chief Crazy Horse, Disney Land, Pycho, or Dizzy Gilespie.  I’d always smile and wink and say, “Where else but Apple?” 

I remembered that every city has its own energy, it own feeling.  Times Square feels very different that Union Square in San Francisco. Apple has its own individual energy… a palpable energy, a place like no other, an off-beat individuality, a mystical space in the epicenter of venture capitalism, a mysterious place like Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory in the center of London.

I had always warned my visitors that they couldn’t wonder around the Apple campus without a corporate badge because the Umpa Lumpas (corporate security) would get them.  My feelings in being there so often resonated with what Gene Wilder (Willie Wonka) said, in the movie, "If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it...  There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.  Living there, you'll be free, if you truly wish to be." 

“So much for objective analysis,” I chided myself.  “How can I get back on an objective track.” I decided to go back to the management basics.  What I had been describing was obviously Corporate Culture.

And teach the world  to sing in perfect harmony…  Apple’s Corporate Culture

“So what were the observables of Apple’s culture?” I asked my self.

As I thought about it, I realized that beyond the obvious four-story banners and other messages posted on  and in the buildings, something less obvious was silently yelling out at me, something I’d seen but could not put my finger on. 

I thought of my daily routine at Apple, and what it might have to tell me.  I realized that the common ground of general corporate life at Apple was the corporate cafeteria, Caffé Macs.  The majority of Apple employees all met in Building 4 for lunch.  Caffé Macs was the center of it all, it was the center of the day, the only daily central meeting place, a special egalitarian turf—there was no executive dining room. Production might be sitting next to Sales who might be next to System Software and Steve Jobs might be dining at the table next to you. 

But when I closed my eyes and tried to picture it, I realized what I had been on the edges of my perception.  What had been yelling out at me was a pervasive, explicit, and cascading vista of diversity.  At the core of Apple corporate life was a remarkable display of individual diversity.

The diversity started with a veritable moveable feast of food in Caffé Macs: hamburgers, pizza, calzone, build your own burrito, Caesar salad, vegetarian, meat and potatoes, a vegan bar, sandwich bar, salad bar, latte bar, pasta bar, and, my favorite, a sushi bar. 

Caffé Macs also fed a veritable feast of human diversity, a visual kaleidoscope of humanity.  I remember looking around the room at the hundreds of people eating at the

<<<<< Previous Page5.html
         Click here for Next Page  >>>>>7.html

© 2011 by Michael J. Johnson