Wired magazine is running this interesting article by Al Shipp, the CEO of 3VR. In it he talkes about what it's like to work for Steve Jobs, and Apple.
Al Shipp worked for Apple sales and marketing group and led the Enterprise Division to be one of Apple’s most profitable business units. Before working for Apple, Shipp worked for the IBM. "I was part of the team that designed the first group of IBM PC printers", writes Shipp. He has also worked for Criticial Path, Inktomi Corporation, BEA Systems, and IBM before working on the V3R Video Intelligence Platform.
I learnt one thing at Apple, says Shipp, "for technology to make sense, it had to touch lives." This idea of technology reaching out to change lives is something that was often close to Steve Jobs' heart. “I want to put a ding in the universe” is one of the more popular quotes from the late Apple CEO.
Al Shipp explains how the emotional payoff for this works: "When I travel around the world, and this may just be me, I feel a sense of familiarity and comfort when I see people using the same devices I see back home."
Jony Ive has also echoed similar sentiments in the past: "I get an incredible thrill and satisfaction from seeing somebody with Apple's tell-tale white earbuds." said Ive in an televised interview "but I'm constantly haunted by thoughts of, is it good enough? Is there any way we could have made it better?"
So why would anybody who has worked for Apple want to go somewhere else? Many former employees discuss how working at Apple is an incredible experience, but burnout is frequently cited as a problem by former employees. This article by Forbes claims that "Apple's employees have a hell of a ride".
Steve Jobs himself said: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Which is not to say Apple and it's staff don't make mistakes, but Apple employees are generally expected to be putting in 100% all the time.
But Shipp says it was the possibility to create even better products outside of consumer tech. "when I left my position at Apple for 3VR, I spotted something unique." says Shipp, "Here was a Silicon Valley start-up with major backers – one of them being the CIA – that had incredible technology. A CEO’s mandate is not to sell the most products. It is to drive change and bring improvement. I believe, innovation is what changes the balance sheet.'