Nellie Bowles writing for The Guardian:
The Silicon Valley computing giant is stumbling. With news of massive but slowing sales, its stock price fell 6.5% after its results on 27 January, to $93.42 from a springtime high of $133. Apple’s market value is now $522.63bn, down from a high of $774.69bn in February 2015.
More curious is how the company has been relatively undervalued: Apple stock’s market value relative to its earnings is about 10, while Facebook’s is about 109 –indicating investors have significantly more confidence in the social giant’s future.
Side note: reading that passage, an uninitiated reader would never guess that the same company also made the most amount of money this quarter than any company ever.
Long unassailable, there is now a chink in Apple’s armor.
All for grandeur.
Tellingly, Apple is no longer seen as the best place for engineers to work, according to several Silicon Valley talent recruiters. It’s a trend that has been happening slowly for years – and now, in this latest tech boom, has become more acute.
Stock prices tumbling is suggestive of unwanted working conditions… Didn’t Amazon’s stock do quite well last year? ((The article mentions this later))
Also, Apple being the ‘best place to work’ is news to me.
A pain point for a lot of people with Apple is they can’t talk about what they’re working on, which hinders your social status in a way,” said Troy Sultan, the founder of tech recruiting startup IDK Labs. “You want to put on your LinkedIn that you’re working on the latest iPhone, but you absolutely can’t. It’s interesting Apple can retain top talent at all. I don’t know how. They keep you sort of locked up.”[…]
Young ambitious programmers and designers have been put off by this: “Apple culture’s a little weird. A lot of secrecy, a lot of control. It just seems kind of like the empire down there,” said Matthew Wood, a designer at the development agency Arsenal. “Thinking about jobs, Apple never really comes up.”
Apple is working on a self-driving car and on artificial intelligence, along with secretive development of many other products, but its failure to produce a new killer product is turning off developers.
The cat’s out of the bag isn’t it?
The best engineers want to work on the bleeding edge of technology,” said Michael Solomon, the co-founder of 10x, an engineering talent management firm. “Apple’s last release [the Apple Watch] was not a giant hit. And everyone’s already got an iPhone.
Google Glass is entirely shelved(for now) and Google Plus is shutting down; more people own an Android phone than an iPhone and everyone (essentially) ‘googles’ their way around the Internet .
There’s just diminishing returns making it another degree of a crisper screen or a higher megapixel camera. It’s just a replacement game.”
Isn’t that what Samsung does?
But Apple’s reputation among young programmers is telling. In an industry built on the notion of “disruption”, attracting exceptional talent and keeping them nimble is key. Apple doesn’t need to just make a better iPhone – it needs to make something new.
iOS for the fridge – fridgeOS – it’s only natural.
Here’s John Gruber with a better understanding towards this problem:
I’ve been saying for a while now that recruiting and talent retention are the single biggest problem Apple faces. But my take on it is subtle. Apple is driven by A-team talent, and A-team talent is in high demand across the whole industry. And as Guy English has pointed out, it’s a lot less exciting to be working on the tenth-generation iPhone than the first-generation of something new. The other problem Apple faces is that it’s not just any A-team talent that Apple needs, Apple needs A-team talent that understands and appreciates Apple’s design-focused culture.
I’ll go a step further and place my money on the fact that Apple values loyalty in their talent-engineers in this case-more than any other company. No company wants well-performing individuals leaving every couple of years but Apple’s nature(it’s obsession with secrecy, it’s product-first mantra) is such that it would benefit from loyal, push-yourself-to-the-limit talent way more than other companies.
The reason articles like these seem to get slated for mockery is how badly they misunderstand Apple; sometimes even employing narrative that bends facts for sheer audience appeal. If you want a better understanding of the work culture at Apple, I’d suggest the recent series of Debug podcasts where formerly well-placed ex-Apple managers talk about their experiences working for the company.