The Talk Show

347: ‘After Steve’, With Tripp Mickle


00:00:00   Let me just say right off the bat that I'm not sure I've ever seen a book that spoils itself

00:00:04   based on the subtitle alone.

00:00:06   Jon Moffitt By that you mean it's easy to judge it by the cover and dismiss it or what?

00:00:13   Jon Moffitt Well, not dismiss it, but the cover is very opinionated. And reading the book, I think

00:00:30   I've never written a book, so I don't know how titling and subtitling a book goes into projected

00:00:37   sales and stuff like that. And I can imagine that there's some idea that with that subtitle,

00:00:43   the book might spark more interest right off the shelf than if it was just called After Steve with

00:00:49   no lost-its-soul part. Or After Steve, how Apple became a trillion-dollar company, right?

00:00:57   It's the lost-its-soul is the, "Hmm, that's pretty sharp."

00:01:01   Jon Moffitt Right. And it's funny, when you go into the contract phase with the book,

00:01:09   or at least in this case, in my experience, and I literally only have one experience because I've

00:01:12   only written one book, it wasn't like the title was there. The title was born out of

00:01:17   really deep thought about what the structure of the book should be and what the book should be

00:01:24   about and what story it was going to tell. So, the contract didn't dictate that it wasn't based on

00:01:32   the title. So, it's interesting to think about like, "Oh, well, the title is designed to get

00:01:37   sales." Honestly, in my mind, that's a bit of an afterthought. The title is more designed to

00:01:43   reflect the reporting in the book, but also be provocative enough that people look at it and say,

00:01:48   "Well, that seems interesting. It at least made me think or have some feeling." Some people have said

00:01:56   the book made them angry or riled them up. And they said that that would be the case in their eyes.

00:02:03   Whether you loved Apple or had issues with Apple, which I'd rather people feel one way or the other

00:02:10   after reading it than just kind of set it aside when they're done. I get the feeling. Yeah,

00:02:16   I'm sure you're hearing it more than me as the author, but I've heard that there are people who

00:02:21   are not happy about the book. Just a general sense, but I don't know that, again, that's not a

00:02:26   condemnation of the book. Maybe any properly written book about this era, about a secretive,

00:02:34   very secretive company, if the book is well reported, it's going to report things that

00:02:40   people did not want to be public and therefore, of course, it's going to make them angry.

00:02:46   Or not angry. Maybe angry is the wrong word, but just wish that the book didn't exist.

00:02:50   Right. Right. I mean, yeah, you're writing about a corporation that really has what I call a corporate

00:02:58   emerita, right? That everybody who kind of goes in and out of Apple believes that you don't talk

00:03:02   about Apple. And you can certainly, if you're an alumni of Apple, you can become a pariah if you

00:03:11   violate those kind of basic principles. And so you're kind of as a reporter or writer, when you

00:03:17   unearth things, I just always felt like, well, that's just not appreciated because it violates

00:03:22   the very kind of foundation of the way they think about how they reveal information to the world.

00:03:28   So as background for people who aren't familiar with your byline,

00:03:32   you currently are a reporter for the New York Times, but previously you were at the Wall Street

00:03:38   Journal. Correct. Correct. And much of this book is born out of my reporting while I was at the

00:03:46   Wall Street Journal. And when you were at the Journal, your beat exactly was, was it Silicon

00:03:53   Valley in general? I mean, I know you personally from a couple of Apple events. I know we were

00:03:58   introduced, I think by Steve Dowling. We met when you did a talk show at WWDC several years ago.

00:04:05   I was talking with, I think it was your audio producer, a little bit about some of the app

00:04:11   experience, because I think he was, am I correct? And remembering that he did a documentary about

00:04:16   app developers and some of the challenges that they'd run into and dealing with the 30% fees or

00:04:23   something like that. Anyway, I recall being there for one of the talk shows and having a chance to

00:04:28   talk with you before you did the big show. And it was such a thrill to be there and see just how

00:04:35   packed the house was for that. I mean, people just really turned out for it. It was fun to see.

00:04:39   Yeah, it'll be interesting to see when or if that ever happens again. That was the documentary for

00:04:45   those. I'll just toss it out there before I forget app, the human story by Jake Shoemaker. And yeah,

00:04:51   he for years shot the video version of the show. And I say it in the past tense, but it could

00:04:59   happen in the future tense at some point again, but I do remember that. But what was your purview?

00:05:03   Was it just, was it super focused on Apple? It was strictly Apple. The Journal has an

00:05:09   Apple reporter. The Times has an Apple reporter. Reuters has an Apple reporter. I mean, there

00:05:13   are, you know, there's a sensibility here among large papers that these large companies have such

00:05:20   outsized influence over our lives in the world that you really need at least a single reporter

00:05:27   devoted to it. And in the case of Amazon, the Journal has a couple of reporters. And in the

00:05:31   case of Facebook, I think there are probably about four people that hand off coverage of Facebook at

00:05:37   the Journal. And I think that's just a reflection of its its impact on society. Yeah, Bloomberg,

00:05:42   of course, has Mark Gurman, amongst others who cover the Apple beat. I kind of knew that. But,

00:05:47   you know, I feel like it's worth clarifying. But so here's my next question. And it's a meta

00:05:51   discussion. You are a full time reporter for a major publication, and your beat is Apple. But

00:06:00   you have the idea that you would like to write a book about Apple. How do you draw the line between

00:06:06   what you're reporting for the paper and what you're reporting to collect for the book?

00:06:12   The line is actually pretty clear and well defined. And in this instance, it was,

00:06:19   it was, you take a sabbatical, essentially a book leave. I took mine in summer of 2020,

00:06:27   and took about seven months off. And that's when I really rolled up my sleeves and did a lot of the

00:06:32   reporting that's in this book. Now, there's other reporting that's in the book that anybody who may

00:06:37   have read stories over the years from the Wall Street Journal can tease out is based or was in

00:06:45   articles that the Journal had at the time when I was covering Apple. Like for example, there's

00:06:49   a guy inside Apple called the blevenator, Tony Blevins, who's just a master negotiator. And I

00:06:55   wrote a profile of Tony Blevins while I was at the Journal. And there's a few pages that highlight

00:07:02   some of his work at Apple. So it does kind of blend and overlap. But really, the writing and

00:07:10   the bulk of the reporting took place in that seven month period that I took off on on book leave.

00:07:14   And how, again, I'm fascinated by stuff like this. And I don't want to spend a ton of time about I

00:07:20   want to talk about the actual content, but I'm curious what because there is a ton. Here's my

00:07:25   favorite thing about the book. The book is clearly deeply researched. And I mean, do you have a count

00:07:33   of how many actual sources I think maybe in the forward you mentioned how many how many people

00:07:37   Jared Ranere: It's, it's 200 plus and that's that spans former and current Apple employees,

00:07:45   friends, family of the two central characters, Johnny Ive and Tim Cook, advisors to Apple

00:07:51   consultants. I mean, it's, it's, it's a real cross section of, of the world in and around the company.

00:07:58   And it shows it really does. And it is a, a nourishing read, in terms of how deeply reported

00:08:08   it is, I think, you know, as we mentioned at the outset, I think that you and I could possibly

00:08:13   quibble about the punditry aspect of it, the the whether or not Apple has lost its soul. But I don't

00:08:20   think and I think this is what I'm saying to my list, the listeners of the show, if if, if the

00:08:25   idea of how Apple lost its soul, immediately turns one's mind like, Hmm, is this book a hit piece,

00:08:33   I would say it is not it is in the, you know, reasonable people might reasonably disagree about,

00:08:40   like I said, the punditry aspect of it, but the reporting aspect is fascinating. And there's

00:08:45   so much new stuff in here. And firsthand stuff that it's sort of, again, I know, you're not going

00:08:51   to give up confidential sources. So I'm not even gonna ask, but there are some anecdotes that are

00:08:55   relayed in here, where it's like, who could, you know, there could not have been that many people

00:08:59   in that meeting. Who spoke to trip about this? It's, it's pretty, it shows. Yeah, well, it was

00:09:08   designed to be to be a real narrative nonfiction. Yes. So, you know, to have real arc and to bring

00:09:16   the reader forward, and to have broad appeal. So, you know, my hope is that there's something

00:09:21   in here for, for people who follow Apple closely and for people who don't, I mean, you know, if

00:09:29   your listeners because, you know, I know, most of the people who follow your your words on are real

00:09:34   Apple enthusiasts, if their family members don't understand why they're enthusiastic about the

00:09:40   company, or don't really understand Apple, I'm hopeful that there's something in here for them

00:09:44   as well. And so it's really designed to have broad appeal. What what tools do you use, like when

00:09:51   you're conducting 200 interviews and collecting this and trying to organize all of this information

00:10:00   you you've collected through your reporting into a narrative? What what's like what what what app?

00:10:06   What software do you use to collect the notes and and sort of start organizing this or? And what do

00:10:14   you use to write? I'm gonna, I'm gonna turn that on its ear a little bit and say that there's

00:10:20   there's very much an aspect of this is very analog. And part of that was the consequence

00:10:24   of the pandemic. It was when I was reporting this, it was a little difficult. So for example,

00:10:29   when I went to Robbersdale, Alabama, to visit Tim Cook's hometown, it was really hard to, you know,

00:10:35   to reach out to people ahead of time. And there was some weariness at that point, you know, mid

00:10:39   pandemic about seeing people. And I, I literally drew a map of people who went to high school with

00:10:47   Tim Cook. And then, you know, I drove around to their to their houses and like knocked on their

00:10:52   doors and asked if they'd be willing to talk to me and left notes in their mailboxes. So there's

00:10:58   an analog aspect of this. And then there's to your point, like, how do you keep track of everything

00:11:03   else? I used Evernote a good bit, you know, because I had it at the ready and I was able to

00:11:08   to leave notes because sometimes you're out on a run and you're like, oh, you know,

00:11:11   that'd be a great sentence in chapter 20 or something like that. And you just want to be

00:11:16   able to punch that in really quick. And then, you know, Google Docs and Microsoft Word actually

00:11:24   became a primary tool during this. And Scrivener is where I did the bulk of the writing. Scrivener

00:11:30   is a fantastic tool if you're embarking on a project like this.

00:11:35   Trenton Larkin Scrivener, I am familiar with Scrivener and have never really used it personally.

00:11:40   But the one thing I've heard from people who are devoted to it is that it really is,

00:11:45   it's super, it seems super useful for organizing a big writing project, you know, that it maybe it's

00:11:51   not an outliner in a traditional, this is a product that just does outlining, but it does sort of let

00:11:58   you sort of outline in a lowercase o sense of the word outlining. You know, this makes a chapter,

00:12:08   right? This Ted, and then that's a story. And then this chapter comes before this chapter, because

00:12:13   that's, you know, it happened this way chronologically is, is that a good way of putting

00:12:18   it? That's, yeah, that's a good way of putting it. The one thing that I found most beneficial

00:12:24   of using it was I, at the outset of this, I went back and read like, every clip from major and even

00:12:32   minor outlets about Apple over the span of a decade. And then I realized, crap, I got to go

00:12:36   back further and read clips about Johnny and Tim as well, like profiles of them over the years. And

00:12:41   I was able to put those in kind of a window off to the side. And then I could open and access those

00:12:47   really easily. And you can have a split window where you're looking at the at the at the old news

00:12:52   clip at the same time, you're looking at at what you're writing. So you can you can refer pretty

00:12:58   quickly to to kind of source material in a seamless fashion. All right, let me take a break

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00:14:42   There's I, what, let's start with the, the, the sort of structure of the book is sort of a,

00:14:50   sort of a dual biography, right? Like the two main characters are clearly,

00:14:55   I mean, you can see from the cover it's Cook and Johnny Ive, right?

00:14:58   Correct. I like to think of it as like, it's like three biographies in a way. It's like

00:15:04   a corporate history, you know, a biography of Apple and its totality. So there may be

00:15:10   some material that's very familiar to so many real listeners, but then also hopefully ample

00:15:16   fresh material and a fresh look at both Tim and Johnny themselves. The, after Steve Jobs died,

00:15:22   there was, and you know, it's, you mentioned all the, you know, the previous examples, Disney,

00:15:29   Polaroid with Edmund land, who else companies with a strong founder, Sony.

00:15:35   So, Sony would be the other one that, you know, I mean, these are all intimately familiar to

00:15:39   Jobs himself just because of his, you know, knowing the leaders of Sony, admiring Edwin

00:15:48   land and upgrading Polaroid for throwing him out of the company. And then in the case of Disney

00:15:52   being a large shareholder, he was intimately familiar with their own struggles after,

00:15:57   after Walt's death. Right. And, you know, obviously became, you know, just sort of,

00:16:03   not really coincidentally, but the way that with Pixar, like one of my, one of my recurring themes,

00:16:11   like to me, it's, it's the story of this whole last few decades of what we now call big tech

00:16:17   is the sort of computerization of everything like computers are so powerful and so profound that

00:16:24   just about everything that could be a computer is becoming a computer and something like making an

00:16:29   animated movie has gone from being this incredibly labor intensive hand analog thing, right? Like

00:16:36   where the classic Disney animation from the 20th century was drawn by artists at a desk on actual

00:16:43   cell. You know, it was very analog to purely computer driven, but that, you know, famously,

00:16:50   as we all know now drove Jobs to have a relationship with, with Disney. So his,

00:16:56   you know, familiarity with that company was, was, was more than just a superficial.

00:17:01   Absolutely. Yeah. It's funny you say that I actually read an article for, if you'll forgive

00:17:07   a brief digression about people mistakenly turning Sabbath mode on their ovens and getting locked out

00:17:13   of their ovens because your oven's essentially a computer now too. So for those who don't know,

00:17:18   Sabbath mode is designed for observant Jews to be able to kind of maintain a temperature through

00:17:24   the Sabbath and through the Holy holy celebrations. And then there were, there were, I guess,

00:17:29   people who weren't Jewish who accidentally pushed the button and all of a sudden couldn't get back

00:17:33   into their oven. So computers are everywhere. I've mentioned that recently when I was talking

00:17:39   about the Apple's new studio display, which itself is like an iOS computer or like an Apple TV,

00:17:45   like it actually, it, the display runs an operating system and gets firmware updates,

00:17:49   which is kind of mind blowing, but, you know, it's easy to understand why, but a couple of weeks

00:17:54   ago, my review unit, the audio was glitching out. It, it, you know, it has these great speakers,

00:17:59   but everything I was playing was just like that. It, you know, like that type of audio.

00:18:05   And I unplugged it from the computer. I did everything I could other than unplug it from

00:18:11   the wall, but that's ultimately what I had to do. And then you plug it back in and it actually

00:18:15   boots up, you know, like, like when your Apple TV starts up, it doesn't take a long time. It's,

00:18:19   it's not like a full version of iOS takes, but still you don't think of a monitor as being this

00:18:25   thing that has to boot, right? The computer boots and you see it boot, but now the display itself

00:18:31   boots. And my analogy was my, my refrigerator, you know, if that's how Apple is going to make this,

00:18:35   they should, and they don't want to put a power button on it, which is a very Apple like thing

00:18:41   to do. They should be damn sure. It doesn't need to be yanked out of the wall socket. You know,

00:18:47   like my refrigerator is also a computer. I've got a little touch screen in there. You can control

00:18:52   how much ice it makes and set the temperature and stuff like that. And, you know, we've had this

00:18:57   refrigerator now for over five years. I've never had to pull the, pull the plug on it. You know,

00:19:02   that's, that's what you expect from a refrigerator. Yeah. Well, you're lucky you haven't had to pull

00:19:08   the plug. I bet it will happen at some point, you know, that, that, that's, that's where we're

00:19:11   headed, I guess, with the computerization of everything. So how, how, how quickly did you

00:19:18   narrow the idea down to telling the story of Cook and Johnny Ive? It's a bit reductive, but

00:19:27   I've seen other people argue, but it's also, I think the, the most effective way to understand

00:19:36   what Jobs had in mind for Apple, you know, after he left. And it's also, there, there,

00:19:43   there's certainly stand-ins for the two, the two poles inside Apple that make Apple so successful

00:19:50   as a company. And that's this, this creative aspect of the company that's been such a force

00:19:55   and come up with so many revolutionary product ideas and revolutionary advertisements and

00:20:01   everything else. And that's where Jobs spent so much of his time. And then the operational side

00:20:05   of the company that's, that's been able to take the handoff of the designs and engineering and

00:20:12   make those products come to life. Not just like, you know, one perfect product, but like a hundred

00:20:18   million plus products coming off a factory line. I mean, that's, that's a remarkable achievement

00:20:24   and very few companies can do that. And almost none can do it at the level that Apple does.

00:20:29   I've heard from a few friends who've, who've made the, I forget what they call it. I think

00:20:37   the internally there's some kind of name for it, but the, the San Francisco to China flights,

00:20:43   you know, and there was a story, remember the story a couple of years ago where one of the

00:20:48   airlines seemingly thoughtlessly leaked that, you know, like that Apple has like a standing order

00:20:56   of like a hundred business class seats every day on the, on the flights across the Pacific ocean.

00:21:01   Brian Kardell Yeah. Oh, and United. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

00:21:04   There's a rumor at one point that they were buying out entire planes so that you couldn't have people

00:21:09   sitting behind their staff and like looking over their shoulders. I never got to the bottom of

00:21:14   whether that rumor was true or not. And forgive me for like flaming it, but, but it is interesting

00:21:18   to think about like the fact that they could reserve extra seats just to protect the secrecy

00:21:23   of work as people might be traveling to and from China.

00:21:27   Ted

00:21:40   and other facade of, you don't need to worry how we made this. Here's the thing. And it is,

00:21:48   you know, in the same way that the devices themselves at their best are wonderful little

00:21:55   objects that, that you can look at in the minutest of details and appreciate these fine things,

00:22:01   the story behind them, they try to present similarly, right? And it's like, they don't

00:22:07   really talk about how they do stuff and the scale of it. But when you think about like

00:22:13   a hundred people a day flying across the Pacific ocean, it's, and I know that they don't necessarily

00:22:17   use those seats every day, but it's, there's a lot of people who work at Apple in California,

00:22:26   who spend a lot of time in China and it's, it's

00:22:30   Brian Kardell Historically, you're like right now,

00:22:32   we're obviously going through a strange time and that's not, that's not as easy to pull off and,

00:22:37   and so there's a lot of demand in China for, for people who are bilingual and can provide,

00:22:44   provide some of the same engineering expertise on the ground that they once got. They, they want,

00:22:50   once we're able to send people over to do a lot of that work. So there's been some reshuffling

00:22:55   and a bit of a shakeout as a consequence of the pandemic.

00:22:58   Pete: And it's, when you think about it, I know that you can easily do the back of the,

00:23:04   back of the envelope math. I forget what it is, but you've got it in the book where it's like,

00:23:07   how many iPhones they sell per minute, you know, just all day, every day around the world. It's,

00:23:13   you know, like, I don't know, like a couple hundred every minute or something like that.

00:23:17   Brian Kardell Yeah. I can't, I don't have the figure right

00:23:20   in front of me, but I think the analogy I compared it to is that, you know, they're selling

00:23:24   at this point, like thousand dollar devices at the rate McDonald's sells Big Macs, which is just

00:23:29   crazy, right? Like a Big Mac costs five bucks. I mean, it's, it's nuts that they're able to,

00:23:35   to move those units as fast as they do. Pete: Right. And it's, it, it, it, it's,

00:23:42   it's like the old adage. I know, I know I've heard Bill Gates be credited with it, but it's probably,

00:23:47   you know, something that's been floating around forever, but that we, we tend to underestimate

00:23:53   how much, overestimate how much we can do in a year, but underestimate how much we can do in a

00:23:57   decade. And just reading your book and sort of looking back at it and thinking about it,

00:24:04   it boggles the mind how different Apple's operations were before Tim Cook got there.

00:24:09   And I know that that's, you know, we're talking 20 some years at this point, but

00:24:13   they weren't doing anything in China. They had factories in California, they were

00:24:19   factories in Singapore, they had, it really was in hindsight, it was a mess.

00:24:24   Matthew: It was, it was total mess. I mean, if, if anything, that, that may, I mean, for all the,

00:24:31   all the praise that's been lavished on Jobsford, coming up with the string of hits that he came

00:24:36   up with in that period, perhaps his, his, his greatest skill was finding, you know,

00:24:42   uber talented individuals in various specific arenas and putting them to work. And

00:24:49   Tim Cook is emblematic of that. You know, I think one of my favorite stories in working on the book

00:24:55   was that when Jobs interviewed Tim Cook and he was about to leave and take this job for Apple,

00:25:00   his boss at Compaq brings him in and says, and says, "Tim, like, I was planning on retiring in

00:25:05   the next couple of years, but I'll walk out the door right now if you'll just stay and take my

00:25:10   job." And I asked him, I was like, "Why would you do that?" And he goes, "Well, I'm a shareholder,

00:25:14   and he was the best, best hire I'd ever made. And I knew that if we kept him, the share price would

00:25:19   increase, and that was better for me than staying in my job." But I think that just testifies to how

00:25:24   skilled he was in that period of his life at bringing efficiency to a supply chain. And that's

00:25:31   certainly what he brought into Apple immediately. And that's why Jobs ultimately tapped him to

00:25:36   lead Apple after his death. Do you think in the world where Tim Cook wavered on that decision

00:25:45   and maybe took him up and stayed at Compaq, is Compaq's fate different in that universe

00:25:52   because Tim Cook was there? Like, is he that good? Or was that, I tend to think no, because I don't

00:26:01   see, he could have helped them operationally, but I don't see how Tim Cook's presence leading

00:26:05   Compaq would have saved them from the fate of the ultimate fate they have, which is sort of

00:26:10   irrelevant. Well, yeah, and the stagnation of the PC market, right? I mean, if you think about it,

00:26:18   what was the PC markets I'm doing in many ways was the revival at Apple itself from the iMac

00:26:26   all the way to the MacBook Air and the way those two products in particular in the computer world

00:26:31   changed people's perception of what a computer should be, you know? One, you know, in the iMac

00:26:39   showed that a computer could actually be kind of fun to have, and then the other later showed that

00:26:44   you didn't have to lug, you know, I don't know, a cinder block around on your shoulder every single

00:26:49   day. Yeah. I remember the, were you there for the keynote where they introduced the Air and Jobs

00:26:56   pulled it out of the Manila envelope? No, I was actually writing about the Olympics in that day

00:27:04   and age. That was a different lifetime for me. It was just a pinnacle of showmanship, and it's like,

00:27:12   in hindsight, it's like, well, so big deal. Everybody's laptop today could fit in a sufficiently

00:27:18   large inner office mail Manila envelope, but at the time it seemed ridiculous, right? It was like,

00:27:26   laptops are not this thin. And I guess the other thing that sticks out about that sighting, if you

00:27:31   want to cite the iMac and the MacBook Air, which I think is a good one-two punch of the evolution

00:27:40   of Apple's design, to me, there's a big difference between the two, which is that the iMac ultimately

00:27:46   was very trendy and that translucent candy colored plastic look, it obviously became a sensation.

00:27:56   I remember like going to Target and you'd, you know, there'd be like an $11 alarm clock and it

00:28:01   was made out of clear blue plastic. Why? Why? Like everything you could make, you could buy like a

00:28:08   coffee maker and it was made out of clear blue or pink plastic or something like that. And it was

00:28:14   like, there's nothing inside this device that is good to look at, you know, like part of the appeal

00:28:19   of the iMac was that it was supposed, you know, the internals were worth showing off, right?

00:28:23   But it was ultimately trendy. And, you know, I think that's what the doctor ordered for Apple,

00:28:30   famously. It's not like your book is, you know, making an original point that the iMac

00:28:35   marked a turning point of Apple, you know, having, you know, having a hit product that they'd sorely

00:28:41   needed, but it wasn't that long until the MacBook Air. When did the first MacBook Air come out?

00:28:47   Was it? What? Circuit 2007? Yeah. Am I crazy? Yeah, that sounds about right.

00:28:53   You know, so about a decade, a little bit less than a decade, but with the i, with the MacBook

00:29:00   Air, they kind of hit with that aluminum, which you go into in the book about the tooling that

00:29:07   they had to invest in to get these one piece aluminum cases. I'm not going to say it's forever.

00:29:15   I'm not saying that 20 more years from now, we'll still have computers that are made out of aluminum

00:29:20   that look like that. I mean, you know, everything changes in the computer world, but it's much more

00:29:24   of a timeless design that is sort of the opposite of trendy. It's like a classic Rolex watch or

00:29:33   something where, or a Porsche, you know, Porsche 911, where, okay, you know, the cars evolve

00:29:38   constantly and they're way different than they were 30 years ago, but you can just see there's

00:29:43   a sort of just a visual DNA, oh yeah, that's a Porsche 911. I mean, to this day, I mean,

00:29:51   that's still the signature look of the MacBook product line, whether you have a Pro or an Air,

00:29:57   right? It's still on that legacy foundation that was introduced back then.

00:30:01   Well, and the other thing is, you know, and again, not accusing anybody of copying per se,

00:30:05   but it's so pervasive that it's sort of the default look for all laptops. And I know,

00:30:10   you know, there are certain brands like ThinkPad that have a very distinctive look that's very

00:30:14   different, you know, with their black plastic type look, but for the most part, like if you're

00:30:19   watching TV and the people on TV have a laptop in front of them, like the sports people in the booth

00:30:25   or whatever, it doesn't matter what brand it is, if it's an Apple or not, it probably looks like

00:30:29   a MacBook Air. Yeah, absolutely. To get back to what, like compacts or HPs look like that a lot

00:30:35   right now, right? Am I crazy? No, no, they all do. That kind of like silver finish and everything

00:30:42   else. So yeah. I always thought that that was something that Jonny Ive was moving to from the

00:30:52   get-go. Like, it's not like he ever told me this. I don't think he would, but it seems to me though,

00:31:01   and listening to Jonny's public remarks and talking and the way he talks about products,

00:31:09   it seems to me, and seeing what he seems to want to be doing at Love From, which we really haven't

00:31:16   seen much come out of that yet. So we don't know who's to say where that's going. I guess maybe we

00:31:21   can touch back on this towards the end of the interview and see what you think. But it seems

00:31:25   to me like he's interested in building things that are not transient in terms of their relevance.

00:31:32   And that's why he does things like design chairs. Every designer seems to at some point design a

00:31:40   chair. Yeah, I know. I think he's looking to reach beyond the confines of the world that he was

00:31:50   resigned to live within for such a long time. I think that's acquired a little bit of the

00:31:55   restlessness that he was dealing with in his latter years at Apple was working with the same

00:32:02   form factors he'd been working with for a long time and having a desire to move on to something

00:32:08   else. And that's probably part of the reason he poured a ton of time into like a camera. And it's

00:32:13   part of the reason right now I love From. I'm sure he's invigorated by working with Ferrari and

00:32:20   working on leather goods and anything that they're doing on the auto front. I'm not clear on what

00:32:26   they're doing on the auto front, but I know he's gonna be able to have some influence over that.

00:32:31   Yeah. And you know, and his pal Mark Nusen designed a car quite a while ago, which is sort

00:32:38   of a fascinating design and it kind of looks appley you can kind of see how Johnny Ive and

00:32:46   Mark Nusen are of a like mind. You could see why they're such close friends and collaborators.

00:32:52   But it's, you know, and that's obviously, I mean, how much of that do you think you got into in the

00:32:58   book with Project Titan at Apple? Probably not enough to satisfy your listeners. But because

00:33:06   much of what I've focused on in delving into Project Titan was the waywardness of the project

00:33:13   and the struggles and the political infighting that occurred that help explain why that project

00:33:20   still, you know, still is still struggling to shake itself out. And a lot of that is rooted

00:33:26   in the tension between some of the engineering vision for it led by Dan Riccio and then Johnny

00:33:33   Ive's own ambition to really pursue full autonomy. I mean, there was a bit of a breakdown after that

00:33:39   and a lot of political infighting and this giant organization that got built up and spun up really,

00:33:45   really quickly by Apple standards with a lot of external people. And that was a difficult thing

00:33:51   for the company to deal with. I think it still is. I mean, because it still is an ongoing concern.

00:33:57   It still is an ongoing division. As Tim Cook says, autonomy is an area of interest. I think

00:34:03   something to that effect. One of the most interesting things Tim Cook has ever said publicly

00:34:11   was at one point before the watch came out and somebody asked like, "Hey, there's rumors you guys

00:34:15   are making a watch. What do you think of that?" And he goes, "The wrist is an area of interest."

00:34:19   And it was like, that's like you kind of gave it up there, like which is on Apple-like, but it

00:34:26   wasn't like he said it offhandedly. He was very deliberate about it. But it's sort of like in the

00:34:31   way that whenever there's a new area that they're going into there, they can be a little bit freer

00:34:36   to talk or hint about it because they're not spoiling their own sales with the famous

00:34:41   Osborne effect, right? Like if they've got like a brand new revolutionary iPad in the works,

00:34:47   they're not going to talk about it until it's ready to ship so as not to decrease interest in

00:34:52   the iPads that are currently on the market or the iPhone or whatever product. But when they don't

00:34:58   sell anything for the wrist, he could say something intriguing like that and go on.

00:35:01   The car thing is such a fascinating story though, because it's so secretive, but we know there's so

00:35:08   much turnover, right? Like one of the things that can't really be held completely secret is when,

00:35:15   you know, thanks to like LinkedIn and just it's human nature, right? Like just because you worked

00:35:21   at Apple doesn't, you know, there is a code of Omerta, but if you leave and go to another company,

00:35:27   people find out, right? And there's been so much turnover within the Titan division at the

00:35:32   executive level that it's, and unlike any other division at Apple that I'm aware of, I've never

00:35:39   heard of anything like that. No, no. And it, because you haven't seen the influence of

00:35:46   external hiring either for many other projects. And for people at Apple, that was a real struggle

00:35:51   was all of a sudden you had a division that was a thousand people strong, many of whom were not

00:35:57   from the Apple culture. And so there was this internal friction between

00:36:02   people who had grown up at Apple and understood how Apple pursued product development and kind of

00:36:10   defied or sought to defy like the basic understanding of like what people thought

00:36:17   a product in that arena should be. And those who had been working in autonomy for a long time and

00:36:23   knew the problems and said, yeah, but you can't just say, we'll fix this or we'll get around this,

00:36:29   like this has existed. And that was a constant push and pull between those two forces.

00:36:34   Trenton Larkin I mean, I guess fundamentally the overarching

00:36:39   story and the overarching doubts continuing even today as the company is, you know, it's super

00:36:45   successful, the most profitable company in the world. There seemed to be firing on all cylinders

00:36:51   with their existing product line, but the what's the next big thing, right? And when Jobs died,

00:37:00   the argument was, you know, he was the one who drove them to make these new things at this

00:37:07   incredible pace with this incredible panache and to debut with something like the iPhone that just

00:37:13   blows people away. And then just a few years later to turn the iPhone technology into the iPad,

00:37:19   which has obviously gone on to be an enormous hit and a huge part of people's daily lives.

00:37:24   Can they do it? You know, can they keep doing that without them? And part of my writing has been to

00:37:32   sort of remind people that even when Steve Jobs was alive and well and firing on all cylinders,

00:37:38   Apple didn't come out with new products very often. It is still, it was always a rare thing,

00:37:43   right? Like what did they have in the Jobs 2.0 era at Apple after they reunified with Next? The iMac.

00:37:52   Brian Kardell The iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad would be the

00:37:56   four I would point to and I would point to those largely because of their cultural significance,

00:38:01   right? I mean, when you talked about like the way the iMac was such a cultural sensation that

00:38:06   there were alarm clocks designed like that, you know, with the iPod, it really changed the way

00:38:12   people listen to music. iPhone obviously is indispensable to everyone's life to this day.

00:38:17   And then the iPad is become an extension of the iPhone and is how many people begin their days

00:38:25   and end their days, whether it's reading a magazine or a newspaper in the morning or,

00:38:28   you know, watching a movie in bed at night. Steve McLaughlin

00:38:32   Yeah, and you know, I would throw from my perspective, I would throw Mac OS 10,

00:38:36   the operating system in there. But I also get it though, that from most people, they don't really,

00:38:43   you know, people go into the Apple Store not to buy a Mac OS 10 machine, they go in to buy a Mac

00:38:48   Book, right? That's what it's the overall product. And I think Apple has always gotten that. So in,

00:38:54   in the years since Jobs died, there's Apple Watch, right? That's, that's the one

00:39:02   big loot and launch. Jared: Yeah, and really, I would, I don't know,

00:39:08   I would broaden that and say the wearables category because with it, when they were,

00:39:12   when they were thinking about the Apple Watch, and the book is into this in some detail, they,

00:39:16   their aspirations were for it to liberate you from your phone. And as they were thinking about,

00:39:22   well, if it's going to liberate you from your phone, what else do you need?

00:39:25   That was when they began their earliest conversations about having a Bluetooth headset.

00:39:30   So AirPods are really an extension of Apple Watch. I mean, they're kind of interconnected. So

00:39:35   that is, yeah. And when you look at what they've done over the past decade, that is the

00:39:41   new product category that they they've embarked on.

00:39:44   Yeah, AirPods is, I have to remind myself that it should count as a major launch because I do think,

00:39:51   I think it's changed, you know, it's, you see them everywhere, right? I mean, you can,

00:39:57   and it is funny, like you go into it in the book, too, talking about the original

00:40:01   iPod from 2001. And that there was pressure within Apple to have black headphones, because that was

00:40:09   sort of the, you know, if you're only going to include one set of earbuds with with a mobile

00:40:15   music player, Sony was sort of the state of the art and the Sony look was black. And Johnny,

00:40:22   I've and his team pushed for no, we're going to do this thing, it's going to be white, it's going

00:40:26   to be a white device, and we're going to have white headphones. And then right, and then that becomes,

00:40:33   you know, significant, obviously, when they develop the silhouette, I mean, that becomes like,

00:40:38   part of the reason that decade, that product became such a cultural sensation.

00:40:42   Yeah, yeah. And that was a long running ad campaign, too. And I just I always think of it,

00:40:46   because it was print, it was TV, it worked just as well, like at a billboard in a subway station,

00:40:53   as it did in a 30 second spot during, you know, a football game or, or something like that. But it

00:41:00   really was distinctive, where you had these bright primary colors for the background, black silhouette

00:41:05   of a person, and then these iconic white headphones, you know, with the cable, but it's

00:41:10   funny thinking about how AirPods to me have been so normalized, like when I see a show now, but we

00:41:16   were just what I don't know if you watch the Ozark on Netflix, my wife and I are addicted, and it's

00:41:21   coming to a close. But there's a one of the main characters was listening to music for a whole

00:41:27   episode. And she was like on like a long road trip. And, but she's using wired earbuds with

00:41:33   her iPhone. And I'm like, that's that does not seem like 2022. Get that, get that woman some AirPods.

00:41:39   Right, right. It's funny, because Apple has been deemed for like having too much AirPod exposure

00:41:45   and the morning show and some of their other programming, right. But it but in a way, they're

00:41:50   they're a better reflection of reality than then say, like Ozarks are where you've got this wired

00:41:56   headset, because that you just don't see that that often if you're commuting anywhere in any kind of

00:42:00   major metropolitan city, right? Or especially for a younger character, you know what I mean? Like,

00:42:05   you know, maybe the older you are, the less likely you are to jump on the newest thing. But I don't

00:42:11   know, you just don't see them too much in the city anymore. I mean, wired headphones, it's it's pretty

00:42:17   pretty interesting. The watch is something though, that you get into a great length, you had an excerpt

00:42:25   from the book that ran in the New York Times last weekend, I believe over the weekend talking about

00:42:29   that. So let's get into to that aspect. And I do you think is it fair for me to say that,

00:42:38   that your take is that there was some fundamental tension as to what the what the purpose of the

00:42:47   watch was, and that Johnny Ive, in your view, saw it primarily as a fashion item?

00:42:53   That's probably overstating things slightly. I mean, Johnny was also involved in some of the

00:42:58   human interface aspects of the fitness rings and everything else. So it'd be short checking him to

00:43:06   say that he's solely saw it as a fashion item. But when it came to marketing the product,

00:43:12   that was where his emphasis and priority was, in part because he really believed that if it was,

00:43:19   if the product was rejected by society's tastemakers, by the fashion world,

00:43:24   that it would never be accepted by anyone. And it was interesting to come into the whole thing

00:43:29   because, and into the reporting process, because I was inclined to believe that that was foolhardy

00:43:34   and, you know, mistaken emphasis on his part. And I came out the other side after talking with a lot

00:43:41   of people, both from the world of fashion and from the world of Apple, people who were sympathetic to

00:43:48   Johnny's vision for leading with or putting an emphasis on fashion and the marketing.

00:43:54   And I left persuaded that that actually was probably the right instinct. And maybe

00:44:00   the fault in all of it was leaning too far into that. And I don't know if leaning too far into

00:44:07   that was a consequence of maybe the, of the watch not being functionally sophisticated enough to put

00:44:14   the emphasis elsewhere yet. I mean, if you remember, here was a time piece that didn't tell

00:44:18   time half the time. That's a lot of times in one sentence, but you know what I'm saying? Like you

00:44:23   had to flick it towards your face in order to see what time it was because the battery power was so

00:44:29   insufficient that they really needed to manage that. But with the fashion thing, the reason I

00:44:33   came around to believing that Johnny had some point in emphasizing it is this scene that a

00:44:40   lot of people directed me to in Devil Wears Prada, which I had watched but not paid that

00:44:45   close of attention to, where Anne Hathaway's character gets upbraided by the Anna Wintour

00:44:50   character. And she's, she's just savage because she has on a blue sweater and she's dismissive of

00:44:58   fashion. And she's told, well, look, that's cerulean blue. If you knew anything about fashion,

00:45:04   you would know the only reason that that's being sold at the Gap or wherever she had bought it

00:45:09   was because it was introduced on Runways two years earlier. And that set the tone that this was going

00:45:15   to be the it color for the foreseeable future. And that's, that's something that a lot of people

00:45:21   that Apple pointed to and just said, like, this is why we needed to put the emphasis there because

00:45:26   otherwise, people would say, you know, in the fashion world might have dismissed this as a

00:45:29   computer on the wrist, and it would have never taken flight. So I'm sympathetic to that view.

00:45:35   I think there's there's validity to it. I love that scene from that movie. I've I think I've

00:45:39   seen it on I know I've seen the movie, but I've seen that scene pulled out on YouTube a few times

00:45:44   and it's it it's it makes you think it makes you realize that it's there's more to it. Like that's

00:45:50   obviously the Anna Wintour Streep's characters point is that this is not as superficial as you

00:45:57   think there's there's a real thing here. And there's an expertise she gets into like that

00:46:01   being an expert, you know, the expertise it takes to reproduce a color exactly and to to

00:46:06   weave a certain fabric a certain way. One of the things I think you get into in the book was is,

00:46:12   is the idea of was the watch ready to launch when they launched it, and that it seems and I think

00:46:19   you just touched on this a little bit with with talking about why did Johnny Ive want to lean into

00:46:25   the fashion side of it and how it looks was out of a concern that how it worked wasn't good enough yet.

00:46:33   Right? Yeah, yeah. I mean, there's a scene in the book was pretty telling where

00:46:38   one of the central engineers who was who was the lead engineer on the project pulls Jeff Williams

00:46:45   aside just on the cusp of them pushing to try to get this thing out the door and announce it and

00:46:51   says, "Hey, Jeff, you know, let me ask you a question. If you came to work today and you forgot

00:46:57   your iPhone, what would you do?" And Jeff said, "Why turn around and go get it because I need it

00:47:02   all day." And he said, "Well, if you forgot your watch, what would you do?" And Jeff coped to the

00:47:07   thing that he would he would go and get it, he would go and get it at the end of the day, you

00:47:11   know, and the engineer looks at him and says, "Well, that's that's the point. This this product's

00:47:15   not ready. People don't need it yet." And for people who had been raised in in the jobs world,

00:47:22   that was a fundamental aspect of what they needed to do was create a product that people

00:47:29   immediately recognize there was some need for. And there's a real sense among some people inside

00:47:34   Apple that that this product was not there yet. I think in hindsight, that's true. I believe that.

00:47:41   I've mentioned that I think it needed another year. But because and I really do think that the

00:47:47   as they called it the series two, even though they never called the original the series one,

00:47:52   because then it sort of complicated where they came out with a series one that was like an

00:47:57   upgraded version of the series zero for lack of a better, a better term for the original.

00:48:03   But I also understand it was a time of inordinate, unprecedented stress within the company because

00:48:11   of the timeline of Steve Jobs is passing. I think coincidental to that was the sort of 2013 era,

00:48:23   Samsung is taking over this market and it Samsung is on the upswing. Apple can't do it just like we

00:48:32   all predicted Apple can't do it without Steve Jobs. Samsung is the one who's innovating.

00:48:37   You know, that's that's the the famous ad lib by Phil Schiller at WWDC introducing the the Mac Pro

00:48:44   can't innovate my ass, right? Right. And then yeah, that just spoke to the

00:48:49   unrelenting pressure externally and the deep skepticism that everyone at Apple face that

00:48:56   they could they could do without Steve Jobs, right, which is got to be got to be exhausting,

00:49:02   right? Because one of the things that I hope that people get out of this book is that these

00:49:07   are people who who had a deep connection with Steve, they worked with him every day. You know,

00:49:12   we all know that Steve Jobs could be an asshole, but these people loved working for him. And that

00:49:16   was why they woke up in the morning. And so there was there was just real profound grief in the wake

00:49:22   of his death. And I just don't think that that's something that we think enough about as we think

00:49:27   about a company is like the individuals and some of the some of the just basic, you know,

00:49:33   hardship that they went to as human beings in the aftermath of that.

00:49:36   Yeah. And I just think, you know, if they aired on the side of pushing the Apple Watch out one year,

00:49:44   maybe before they should have, I think it's understandable. And maybe, maybe it still was

00:49:50   the right decision to do overall. I mean, and you know, in the success the watch has had since then

00:49:55   would would sort of, you know, back that up to some degree. But that it in the same way that like,

00:50:01   when when Jobs first came back to the company, and they did the think secret ad campaign, or think

00:50:06   different ad campaign, which wasn't about pushing products, but was just a pure brand message,

00:50:12   right? Was

00:50:14   Yeah, it was about redefining the company's image publicly, right? So they're not perceived as a

00:50:19   beleaguered, beleaguered company on the brink of bankruptcy anymore.

00:50:23   Right? Or maybe even certainly redefining the then current narrative around the company,

00:50:30   but not really redefining but reasserting what it really was, you know, right? Like the idea wasn't

00:50:36   that this is the new Apple, this is a fixed Apple from from the hiccups of recent years, but we're

00:50:43   we're, we're clarified in our thinking of what it is we're here to do. And this is the way we

00:50:49   should think about it. And in some sense, if they pushed if Tim Cook pushed to get and Jeff Williams

00:50:57   to launch Apple Watch, let's just say one year before they should have technically,

00:51:03   maybe it was worth it to assert that they can still launch a major new product when when they

00:51:09   did and that for morale and for you know, the the the what the what the outside world thinks of

00:51:17   Apple is they can still launch new things. But right, it's certainly relieved and alleviated

00:51:23   a lot of pressure externally, but by the same token, once it was released, when it didn't

00:51:30   measure up to internal and external expectations in terms of sales, then then they also took it on

00:51:38   the chin for that as well, which is, which is unfortunate because to your point with persistence,

00:51:44   that product is improved its capabilities and its functionalities. And you don't see it as often as

00:51:50   you see AirPods when you're commuting to work, but you see it a lot. If you're if you next time you

00:51:55   sit down at a restaurant, look around and see how many people have on a on an Apple Watch. It's,

00:51:59   it's it's got to be at least a third of the restaurant, if not more. I mean, that's

00:52:03   that's pretty deep reach for a product like that. Yeah. And I think that they did.

00:52:08   One of the knocks against the whole idea was the idea that people don't wear watches anymore,

00:52:13   especially you know, the younger people are the less likely they are to wear a watch that watch

00:52:18   wearing was was at an all time low, especially for you know, people in their 20s at the time,

00:52:24   or even younger, like teenagers. And you know, the response is, why would I want to wear a watch? I

00:52:29   have a phone in my pocket, it tells me the time it's almost like the world you know, like for time

00:52:33   telling the whole world went back 100 years to pocket watches. But I get it. I'm always been a

00:52:39   watch where I've worn a wristwatch since I was a teenager. It's I feel naked without a watch on my

00:52:45   left wrist. But you know, I realized that that's a habit and I totally get the idea of why have

00:52:52   another thing to charge? Why have another thing to worry about? If I want to know what time it is,

00:52:56   I just take my phone out and I'm taking my phone in and out of my pocket 1000 times a day anyway.

00:53:00   Right. And I read Yeah, but they almost had to like recondition the world to accept that like,

00:53:08   watches have value. Yeah, yeah. And that you might want to have one like, I think that's part of the

00:53:14   ubiquity of seeing Apple watches on men's and women's wrists. Everywhere you go,

00:53:20   every restaurant you go to, or you go to an airport or something like that. And if you do

00:53:24   look for people wearing Apple Watch, you're going to see a lot of them. And I think it's a lot of

00:53:28   people who weren't wearing a watch previously. Yes, sure. There's definitely people who did and

00:53:34   have switched to an Apple Watch. But I think that to be a success, they kind of had to reinvigorate

00:53:40   the idea that you might even want to wear a watch. Right, which gets you back to fashion, right?

00:53:46   Because that's the industry that had the deepest connection to timepieces up until that point. I

00:53:55   mean, what else could you have leaned on in order to kind of bridge that gap and sell this product

00:54:00   into into a world that had largely abandoned wearing timepieces. And you know, there is

00:54:05   technology in traditional watches. I just actually by coincidence linked to a thing the other day on

00:54:11   during Fireball, some somebody had just a wonderful, wonderful online, almost like a little mini book,

00:54:17   but animated, explaining how a mechanical watch works with all these little animations. It's just

00:54:23   absolutely fascinating. And, you know, it's technology, right? Like having a Rolex Submariner

00:54:30   that can go 300 meters under the surface of water and still remain airtight. That's technology. You

00:54:37   know, I mean, how many people who actually buy a Rolex go 100 meters deep in the ocean? I mean,

00:54:43   probably 0.001. And you know, the one is James Cameron. It's not something people typically do,

00:54:53   but the technology is there and people, you know, it is a technology product, but

00:54:56   primarily, it's, you know, they're sold as fashion, their jewelry, right? You go,

00:55:01   when you want to buy a Rolex, you go to a jeweler, you don't go to, you know, a technology store.

00:55:07   All right, let me...

00:55:08   Jared: Right. And, oh, yeah, we can pick up when you come back. But I have some thoughts on that,

00:55:13   because I think one of the interesting things was delving into the history of time and timepieces,

00:55:19   because it provided both a lens into the deep thought that goes on inside Apple as they pursue

00:55:25   a product, but then also this kind of weird, I have this weird thing about empires and time

00:55:31   that I'd love to talk to you a little bit about as well.

00:55:33   All right, put your finger on that. Let's come back to it after a moment. I'm going to tell

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00:57:44   All right, you were talking about time.

00:57:47   Tim Cynova Right. Right. I think one of the more interesting

00:57:51   days that I spent while I was reporting on this was when I went to the Greenwich Observatory in

00:57:57   London because I was trying to walk in the footsteps of the designers as they were trying

00:58:03   to learn more about history and history of timekeeping and everything else. And I met

00:58:07   with this guy who's got a great book called About Time. His name's David Rooney. He's studied the

00:58:14   history of time for, you know, most of his life. And he was talking to me about how central developing

00:58:23   the mechanism to tell time accurately was to the construction of the British Empire. And it was

00:58:30   just like an interesting thing. So, like all the ships would come into the Greenwich Observatory,

00:58:35   they'd get the timepieces that they had on the boat tuned and dialed correctly,

00:58:40   and then that allowed them to navigate the world and build out the British Empire.

00:58:44   And for me, what was interesting about this is Apple was embarking on this journey to

00:58:49   create its own timepiece. And at the same time, it was building an empire of its own.

00:58:54   If you think about it, it's really become a borderless country. And I just, I don't know,

00:58:59   it was just something that was like an interesting and slightly unique spin on history, like,

00:59:06   corporate history was ape being, you know, real history from years earlier.

00:59:10   Dave Asprey At some point, technology as generation,

00:59:14   as humans, genera, you know, whatever, whatever was invented before you were born doesn't seem

00:59:19   like technology anymore. Right? Like, I often think about that, like, if you could time travel

00:59:24   and bring, say, Ben Franklin to the present day and show them around. And it's like, you might

00:59:29   think he might be, wouldn't you love to show them the iPhone? And it's like, I always think, like,

00:59:33   wouldn't he be most impressed by like indoor toilets? Like, you could just

00:59:37   Ben Franklin be true. Yeah, right. That probably would be the

00:59:42   thing that he'd be like, wait, I don't have to go outside anymore. That's fantastic.

00:59:45   Dave Asprey You just go right in there, and you hit a button,

00:59:49   and then it just goes, where's it go? Where's the waste go? And it's like, you just say it just

00:59:54   goes out into the city, there's special pipes, it goes to a facility. And it's, you know,

01:00:00   wouldn't that be the most one of the most amazing things? Or even just all of indoor plumbing,

01:00:04   right? You just have a sink, you could just get clean, cold or hot water anytime you want, just by

01:00:09   turning a dial. You just don't think about it as technology. But you're talking about the

01:00:16   shipbuilding history of timekeeping is I've heard too that like the standardization in the US was

01:00:21   driven by the railroad companies. Because it before railroads, there was really no reason

01:00:30   to worry about whether, you know, like, let's say, you know, there's a big clock on Independence

01:00:36   Hall here in Philadelphia. And, you know, if you want to say that's and there's one on our city

01:00:40   hall, too. And if those clocks are four minutes different than a clock in New York City, well,

01:00:47   who cares, right? But then all of a sudden, with railroads, it kind of mattered, right? Like,

01:00:52   if a train was supposed to come in at five o'clock, you kind of needed it to be at the same,

01:00:57   you know, to the people in New York and Philadelphia had to have their watches at the same

01:01:01   time. Right. And that's why, at the outset of the watch project, they were so determined to make

01:01:07   sure that this was the most accurate timepiece that had ever been built. Because if they didn't

01:01:13   achieve that, then they would be violating the legacy of the problem tradition of time and why

01:01:21   it was so important to the development of society. That's it's a curious thing. And I know even now,

01:01:26   years later, people still mention that and we're still sort of circling around this, the

01:01:31   introduction of the original Apple Watch. And there's the fashion angle, which I still want

01:01:35   to get back to. But one of the pillars, as it was announced in September of, I believe, 2014,

01:01:43   and then it shipped in like April, May 2015. But in September 2014, when they introduced it,

01:01:49   one of the pillars was, they reiterated it. This is the most accurate watch in the history of the

01:01:55   world. This is the most accurate watch, the most accurate time piecing. I think Johnny Ive himself

01:02:01   might have narrated part of that in his introduction video. I've heard people like roll

01:02:06   their eyes, like who cares, right? Like who's ever been worried about whether it's the most accurate

01:02:10   watch in the world, but it clearly meant a lot to Apple. And they don't really talk about it anymore.

01:02:15   But I see as a watch person, I get it. I get why they were saying that.

01:02:20   Matthew: Right, right. Because if they couldn't deliver on that very basic thing, then

01:02:26   they weren't fully honoring the tradition of it. And they were deeply aware that this was one of the

01:02:35   most unique products they'd ever embarked on because it was one that was familiar to everyone.

01:02:40   Whereas, you know, if you look at the iPhone, yes, there were mobile phones, but there was nothing

01:02:45   like what they introduced at the time. And so, it changed our very understanding of what a phone

01:02:51   could be. And I guess this had to bridge our understanding of what a watch was and take us to

01:02:59   what a watch could be. And so, they were very aware that they were moving into something that

01:03:04   was pre-existing and that people came to with their own pre-existing notions of what it should

01:03:11   be and what it should do. One of the fascinating things, and it gets to the heart of this,

01:03:17   is it a fashion object? Is it a tech object? Is it a fitness object? And the answer to all of them

01:03:23   is yes, right? It's one of those trick questions where it's all of the above. But what mix do you

01:03:29   think about it? But one of the things that I can't think of anything else that was like it is the way

01:03:35   that it launched with three distinct tiers. They called it at the time the Apple Watch Sport,

01:03:41   which was the aluminum model, which is really the base model. Then there was just plain Apple Watch,

01:03:46   which was stainless steel. And instead of being like $400, $500, it was like $700, $800. And then

01:03:56   the, I guess the most controversial angle of it was the Apple Watch Edition, which was made out of

01:04:03   solid gold and started at $10,000 and sold up to like $17,500 or something like that. Yet all three,

01:04:13   like you could go in and buy a $17,000 gold Apple Watch, and I could go in and buy a $400,

01:04:21   or maybe it was $500 Apple Watch Sport made out of aluminum. And in terms of technology,

01:04:27   they were exactly the same. There was no battery life difference. There's just slight difference

01:04:34   in terms of the screen being sapphire on the higher end models and thus far more scratch

01:04:40   proof. And on the lower end models, ionized glass or something they call it. But it's still like the

01:04:46   same screen underneath the actual glass or sapphire. And that-

01:04:51   I've even been told that the bill of materials costs between difference between stainless steel

01:04:57   and aluminum is borderline negligible. So the profit that Apple's re reaping on that model

01:05:04   alone to this day is outstanding. So yeah. But I'm also sitting here with a stainless steel watch on

01:05:12   my wrist. So you can feel the difference and some people are willing to pay out for it.

01:05:18   Yeah, I have the titanium one because I'm an idiot. But I do, I like the way it looks. I just

01:05:25   like the way that the titanium looks and I buy one and keep it for a few years. So it's worth it. But

01:05:29   this was obviously, it baffled people outside the company. And another weird thing about that

01:05:35   introduction was that they didn't talk about pricing at the introduction. They didn't say

01:05:40   what any of these, I think they said the starting price and that was it. But they didn't even say

01:05:46   which model was the low end one. And I remember in that interim between the announcement and

01:05:54   about six months before it shipped arguing with people and trying to- it was fun to be

01:06:00   a pundit in the Apple space because there was lots to speculate upon. It's kind of fun to be

01:06:08   in my seat when Apple leaves a lot of stuff left to the imagination. That's the job of

01:06:15   the guy who writes Daring Fireball. But there were a lot of people who thought that the

01:06:19   sport models would cost more than Apple Watch because they had an adjective and they thought

01:06:25   maybe ionized glass. They were so, you know, was even better than Sapphire and that it was meant

01:06:31   for an active lifestyle and therefore it would cost more. And I was like, no, you don't understand

01:06:35   the watch world. The watch world is very simple. Stainless steel is better than aluminum. That's

01:06:39   it. That's more expensive. But I'm curious how much reporting you did on the conflict within Apple

01:06:49   about that launch strategy of going all the way from $400 to $17,000 for the same product.

01:06:59   Matthew 4 My reporting was less focused on conflict internal or any internal conflict over pricing.

01:07:10   It was more focused on two things that I thought were interesting, you know, around the watch

01:07:16   project. And one of which is, you know, the fact that they embarked on all those three different

01:07:22   plus the array of watch band materials that they designed made that they had to have a support team

01:07:30   to build out all of those support team of engineers and operations figures. And this

01:07:39   ability of Johnny Ive to keep the studio kind of, I guess, protected and guarded and really curated

01:07:49   in terms of who had badge access to the studio and this principle that was understood and these

01:07:56   rules that were understood that had been abided by everyone who had access over the years, this

01:08:01   idea that you don't talk about costs in the studio, that suddenly began, those lines began to get

01:08:08   blurry because you had people who were coming into the studio who weren't indoctrinated in that and

01:08:13   it became harder to keep the group that had access and badge access as carefully curated as it had

01:08:21   been in the past. So there's one moment in the book where there are a couple of designers who

01:08:26   are in a meeting with some ops and engineers guys and the ops guys are like, "Well, if we

01:08:30   cut the crown with this system, we'll save this amount of money and it's totally worth it. And

01:08:37   look, you can't see the difference between the two." And the designers are looking at them going,

01:08:41   "No, no, no, that's something Samsung would do. That's not something Apple would ever do."

01:08:45   And it's partly an outgrowth of being so ambitious in terms of how many SKUs they were undertaking,

01:08:53   SKUs being the different array of and variations of the watch they were undertaking at that time,

01:09:00   and how that created some tension and kind of wrinkles in a well-designed and well-ironed and

01:09:09   operating system that they built. Yeah, and compare and contrast with just the original iPhone where

01:09:15   there was one color. I mean, there were like, I guess, storage configurations, right? It was like

01:09:21   64, 16 gigs or 8 gigs even. I think they even had an 8 gig original phone, but it was like you go

01:09:28   like 8, 16, 32 gigabytes, but that was it. Your only option was how much storage do you want in

01:09:35   it. Every box looked the same. Every iPhone looked the same. Apple didn't even sell cases at the time.

01:09:41   I don't think they foresaw the way the world actually evolved where 98% of people put their

01:09:48   phone in a case and keep it in a case until they stopped using it. It was one thing, right? And we

01:09:53   just make as many of this one thing as we possibly can and go versus the watch just not that many

01:10:00   years later with not quite infinite, but borderline, right? Three tiers of materials, two sizes of

01:10:08   watch, 38 and 42 in each material. And whichever watch strap you want as a customer, you could

01:10:17   configure the steel watch with that strap or an aluminum watch with this other strap or buy a

01:10:23   couple extra straps. And all of it was there at the beginning. It wasn't just here's the one Apple

01:10:28   watch go. Right. Right. And it was probably the right decision, right? If you don't want everybody

01:10:36   to be walking around feeling like a cyborg with the same exact thing on their wrist, like you have

01:10:41   to give them some variety and some choice as to how they want to configure it and personalize it.

01:10:47   By the same token, I don't know that in embarking on that strategy, it was understood what the

01:10:54   consequences of that would be to kind of the internal operations of the company, namely the

01:11:00   design studio, which was really spearheading and driving its project. One of the stories I want to

01:11:07   touch on is we mentioned this before we started recording, but a saga of the last decade at Apple

01:11:14   that isn't really in the book is the saga of the butterfly keyboards. And the maybe to a lesser

01:11:21   degree with the same Mac books, the, the port story, I think fame, you know, maybe exemplified

01:11:28   by the no adjective 12 inch MacBook that just had one port, one USB C port, that was for all data

01:11:36   and power. And I'm curious why, you know, it's not that it's a conspicuous option. It's a nice

01:11:43   thick book full of chock full of reporting, some stuff had to be left out. But I'm wondering

01:11:49   why that didn't play a bigger role in them. I mean, the honest answer is you really do have

01:11:54   to make choices as you're working on this. And a lot of my choices were driven by how,

01:12:00   you know, tight and close the focus was on Johnny Ive and Tim Cook and what their core concerns were

01:12:09   during this period. And in doing that, you know, I certainly did some reporting on the butterfly

01:12:18   keyboard fiasco. My reporting found, and John, you know, this world honestly in many ways better than

01:12:24   I ever could, it found that, you know, some of the fault for that was, was laid at the feet of some

01:12:30   of the engineers. And it didn't seem that, you know, that it fell at the feet of Johnny and that

01:12:37   he didn't personally drive a lot of that. But more than that, I mean, if you're looking at,

01:12:42   and I've seen a lot of the chatter around us in social media, if you're looking at

01:12:48   you know, the flaws that Johnny might have had or the mistakes he might have made in terms of form

01:12:54   over function, I felt like that was best revealed through his work on Apple Park and the experience

01:13:02   of employees once they got into Apple Park. So, I thought that there was a way and that, of course,

01:13:08   is a major thread of the book that goes from beginning to end, that there was a way to touch

01:13:12   on it through that because that was such a seminal effort for Apple during this decade. And when

01:13:19   you're making these choices, a lot of what you're thinking is, okay, what are people going to look

01:13:23   back in 10, 15, 20 years from now and say like, that was an important moment during that period

01:13:30   at Apple. And I know that the butterfly keyboard feels important to a lot of people because they

01:13:38   dreaded having to plug and unplug all the dongles in and out of their computer or, you know,

01:13:43   got frustrated that the keyboard didn't work the way that they wanted to. But I think ultimately,

01:13:48   when people look back on it 10, 15 years from now, that's not going to be something that they

01:13:53   think about. But that Apple Park is something that's going to still be big on people's radar

01:13:59   because it's such a unique building. Well, I think it gets to what I said earlier about Johnny

01:14:04   I've been driven to design things that weren't transient, right? And what is more permanent

01:14:12   than a building, right? That's about as permanent as anything a human can help to design and build.

01:14:19   I mean, and I, you know, I mean, honestly, I mean, it sounds ridiculous, but I, the, it seems like

01:14:27   a safe assumption that, you know, Apple Park is going to be there and look like that long after

01:14:33   you and I are gone, right? Like 70, 80 years from now, isn't that still going to be Apple's

01:14:38   headquarters if Apple is still a concern, you know? Yeah, so long as it doesn't, you know,

01:14:44   fall to fall victim to the same fate that like Sun or some of these other giant companies did

01:14:49   right before they built their giant headquarters. You know, it doesn't seem like Apple's on a path

01:14:55   to stumble in the near future, but you never know long term. I almost think with a building so

01:15:01   striking and such a incredible, you know, it really is a park. It is it's this huge thing that even

01:15:08   if something, if Apple over the next 20 years falls into decline and irrelevance, that it's

01:15:17   more like the classic skyscrapers of 100 years ago, you know, like the Chrysler building. I don't

01:15:22   even know if the Chrysler Company still occupies the building, but the building is still there,

01:15:26   right? The Sears Tower is no longer called the Sears Tower. Sears is not a retailer anymore.

01:15:33   The whole chain has gone away, but the skyscraper is still there. You know, like I almost feel like

01:15:39   that's what Johnny Ive was building, a building that might have more permanence than Apple itself.

01:15:44   Yeah, yeah. And also in doing so, it kind of became a manifestation of some of

01:15:53   some of the physical manifestation of some of the flaws that dogged Apple over this decade, right?

01:15:59   I mean, it's both breathtaking and stunning. And I know you've walked the halls there,

01:16:07   and they're just things that you see as you walk through the place that you're like,

01:16:11   this just does not exist anywhere else. And it took a tremendous imagination to pull it off.

01:16:15   And then there are also there were these frustrations that occurred when people first

01:16:20   moved in there, including the fact that, you know, chatter would just ricochet down the halls

01:16:25   in such a way that they had to come in and put in sound machines to dampen the noise because that

01:16:30   wasn't anticipated. So yeah. It is, you know, and there was, I know, I don't even know how this got

01:16:36   resolved. But I know that when it first opened, it there was a lot of consternation that it was being

01:16:42   dictated that you had to use a certain type of chair. And, you know, it was like a Johnny Ive

01:16:47   designed chair. And I certainly am picky about my chairs. I think most of us who have, you know,

01:16:53   some sort of desk job, at some point, a lot of people learn to get a get a good comfortable chair

01:17:00   and your body will thank you for it. But the chair that is comfortable for you to sit in for 810,

01:17:07   maybe more hours a day, you know, obviously, some people at Apple during crunch periods are putting

01:17:11   in incredibly long hours. Your comfortable chair is not necessarily my comfortable chair and people

01:17:17   really, really, really care about it. And here was this thing where they're like,

01:17:21   Johnny likes these chairs. So, here's your chair.

01:17:23   Jared: Yeah, yeah. And the doubt about it, there's almost something like almost like a little

01:17:29   Howard Roark like that, or Frank Lloyd Wright or something like that. Very insistent that the

01:17:34   furniture goes with the architecture, which is a bit impractical to your point when you're there

01:17:40   to do a job and spend your work day and you want to be as comfortable as possible.

01:17:44   Do you think I mean, all right, let me take one last break. I have one more sponsor. Let's do

01:17:51   this. And then we'll we'll head down the homestretch on the show. But let me get this.

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01:19:12   monetize your membership with Memberful. So, obviously, a big part of this book and a big

01:19:18   part of this post-jobs era at Apple is that Johnny Ive is no longer there, right? It was,

01:19:25   do you think, I'm not sure he would have lasted as long as he did if he didn't have the Apple

01:19:34   Park project to focus on. And I think so. I mean, he tried to leave in 2015. I mean,

01:19:42   he was fatigued and weary after the launch. He walked into Tim Cook and basically said,

01:19:46   you know, I'd like to go and they ultimately came up with an arrangement that he would be there part

01:19:53   time and continue to work on new things. So, Apple Park and the car and augmented reality efforts,

01:20:02   things that were forward-looking rather than refinements of the existing product line.

01:20:09   Pete: Right. And do you think, I mean, let's go all the way back to the cover of the book.

01:20:15   Tell me, make the case for why you think Apple lost its soul.

01:20:19   Chris: So, the subtitle is twofold, right? I mean, the first part of it,

01:20:23   how Apple became a multi-trillion dollar company refers to the Tim Cook thread of the book. And

01:20:29   then the flip side of that is how it lost its soul. Jobs called Johnny Ive his spiritual partner,

01:20:36   they were essentially creative soulmates. Ive walks out the door in a way they literally lost

01:20:43   their soul in that essence. But in a metaphorical way, the reason Johnny left was he grew disillusioned

01:20:51   inside this company that he loved because in the Jobs era, it was a place where art was really

01:20:58   designed to lead to commerce and increasingly in the Cook era, it's become a place where

01:21:03   commerce dictates art. Pete: What do you think exemplifies that?

01:21:08   Chris I think I hit on this a little bit earlier when we were talking about the watch,

01:21:12   but you start to have people coming into the design studio, which people on campus called

01:21:18   the Holy of Holies, and raising concerns about cost. You have limitations in terms of the

01:21:25   projects you can undertake because Apple's so big after jobs stuff that they really need to

01:21:31   only embark on and pursue products that have the potential to be at least a 10 billion dollar

01:21:37   business. And that becomes a metric internally and that's why they explore these giant categories

01:21:42   like healthcare, auto, and energy because they know that they've really saturated the electronics

01:21:50   market and they need to move into something else to satisfy Wall Street. So, those are the tensions

01:21:56   that take place internally that they're dealing with. Somebody put this in, I mean, this is not to

01:22:02   knock Apple, this is a manifestation of the kind of growth that many Silicon Valley companies have

01:22:08   been wrestling with. You can look at Google and see some of the same challenges there as well,

01:22:14   but as you get bigger and bigger, it's hard, I mean, it's impossible to be the same nimble

01:22:20   company you once were and to pursue some of the things and take some of the risks that you might

01:22:26   have done in the past. It's, the phone is such a fascinating product and I, you know, it, and I

01:22:36   think we touched on it earlier when we talked about the scope of the manufacturing effort in China to

01:22:43   make this many, you know, hundreds of millions of these things a year and it's so labor intensive,

01:22:49   right? It's not like an iPhone is assembled by robots yet, I mean, maybe someday, but right now

01:22:55   it's incredibly labor intensive and it's effectively these city-sized factories to fill these

01:23:03   boats with enough iPhones to satisfy demand. It's just unbelievable. It really is, I think,

01:23:09   without question, the most successful consumer product in the history of the world. I don't know

01:23:15   what else you could compare it to. I mean, it's like you have to go back to like the East India

01:23:19   trading company, you know, centuries ago to find anything that's that successful, but then again,

01:23:25   you know, and it's like, so that's, it's sort of like the ultimate goal. I've always said that the

01:23:29   iPhone introduction in 2007 was the canonical ideal Apple keynote, right? Everybody went, goes into,

01:23:38   before the iPhone went into every keynote hoping, I hope that Steve Jobs has the biggest surprise

01:23:43   of all time and, you know, ready to, ready to blow our minds with something that's been kept under

01:23:49   wraps and will change the world. And, you know, you can't do that every year. You know, you can't

01:23:55   do it twice a year or three times a year or however many times they have these keynotes. It doesn't

01:23:59   work that way. Ideas like that don't come along very often, but here's the one where the actual

01:24:04   keynote blew everybody away and then turned out to be a product that people loved and changed their

01:24:11   lives and became this true. I mean, just almost unfathomable juggernaut of financial success,

01:24:19   right? I mean, I know a lot of times people misspeak when they're talking about millions

01:24:23   and billions or even trillions, because it's like your brain files them all under like gazillions and,

01:24:29   you know, it's easy to misspeak, but you're, you're off by a, you know, a factor of a thousand.

01:24:33   If you misuse millions for billions, but you start looking at the money, it doesn't make sense to a

01:24:38   normal human being. You know, like that must clearly be part of Tim Cook's genius is that he,

01:24:44   he can think in terms of trillions of dollars. I can't.

01:24:48   Jared I can't. Yeah. Yeah. We haven't,

01:24:50   we haven't spent a lot of time talking about him, but that's, that's his great gift is,

01:24:54   it is his mastery of numbers and his precision with those. But that's why,

01:25:00   that's why Apple has been able to go from making on the order of 20 million iPhones a year around

01:25:05   the time of job staff to 200 million a year. And that's, that's a staggering increase over,

01:25:11   over the span of a decade. Right. And, you know, and you start thinking about, you know,

01:25:30   have every quarter, lots of new people to the iPhone, but it's clearly sort of maxed out in

01:25:39   terms of how big it could get. And it, and like, to your point, it leaves Apple in a very different

01:25:46   position than they were in pre iPhone as to what can move the needle for the company. Right. And

01:25:56   it's funny looking back at the, the iPod era of 2001 to, and I know they kept selling them after

01:26:04   the iPhone came out, but effectively in hindsight, the iPhone was the end of the iPod, right? Because

01:26:10   everybody just plays their music and podcasts on their phone. It was only, that's only like a seven

01:26:17   year period, which is kind of mind boggling because it felt like a whole era. But it's like

01:26:23   the biggest the iPod got in that era, by today's Apple standards is not even that big, even though

01:26:29   we all felt it was this cultural phenomenon. You know, it was sort of more like, you know,

01:26:34   like what AirPods are today. It's a nice business, but it's probably about as small as it could be to

01:26:40   actually be worth Apple doing. Right. Right. The interesting thing, like, as we talk about this

01:26:46   and talk about the scope of, of what they're manufacturing is the schedule that they have

01:26:52   to keep to do it. It's very, very precise. And you know, we were talking about Johnny Iovin,

01:26:58   what does it mean for art no longer to lead commerce? I mean, there was a moment, you know,

01:27:03   after the iPhone was born, they're still making iPods and he had an idea for how to talk to

01:27:10   somebody who he was telling, he was lamenting, because he had an idea for a design change to the

01:27:17   iPod that was like two weeks too late to meet the schedule. And that meant that like, he couldn't

01:27:25   introduce it for a whole year, by which point it might be stale and not work. And those are the

01:27:30   type of sacrifices that all of a sudden you're having to make. It limits your creativity when

01:27:37   you're doing things at scale in the way that Apple has to do them because of how big it is.

01:27:43   Yeah, I love that story. That's one of the, I have that one highlighted in my copy of the book,

01:27:47   but I loved it because I'd never heard that before. But, and I can't, I can't say that I know

01:27:53   Johnny Iovin well. I've met him a few times, but I think I understand his, to some degree,

01:27:59   his frustrations under post-iPhone, post-Steve, Apple with the size. And I think that, you know,

01:28:09   like, is there possibly, I, the feeling I got from that anecdote in your book is that it wasn't just

01:28:15   that he came up with the idea too late. It was that he came up with it at literally the worst

01:28:20   time on the entire calendar. Like, you know, at least if he had had the idea three months later,

01:28:27   it's like, well, we've only got nine months to go. Whereas it was two weeks after the point of

01:28:31   no return for this is where it's locked in for September launch. And literally then 50 weeks

01:28:37   before it could be brought to bear and the next one around, you know, it must be frustrating.

01:28:47   And you also, I know this is not a new story, but like the story about with the original iPhone,

01:28:52   where when Steve Jobs introduced it at Mac world expo in January of 2007, it had a plastic screen

01:28:59   and shortly thereafter jobs, you know, carrying around prototypes, realized his keys were

01:29:07   scratching up the screen. We've got to get it to glass. The thing was already announced,

01:29:11   had to ship in June and they made it happen. You know, with Corning, he calls the Corning,

01:29:18   talks to the CEO, says all of your glass sucks. And which of course, who does that? Right. Except

01:29:25   for Steve Jobs. And instead of hanging up on him, the Corning CEO is like, well, we do have this

01:29:30   thing called gorilla glass that we're working on. And then they make it happen. Right. And there's,

01:29:35   there's Tim Cook, right? Like coming into that, you know, Tim Cook's role in that early 2007 is,

01:29:43   it's not like a minor change. Like, Hey, let's change the color of the plastic a little bit,

01:29:49   you know, or the color of orange underneath the mute switch. Let's, let's, let's go with

01:29:54   a different shade of orange or something like that. It's an altogether different material for

01:29:58   the screen on a device that was all screen. And they made it happen. I feel like that's exactly

01:30:06   what Johnny I've just profoundly missed about the earlier days, you know, that you could come up with

01:30:15   an idea like that and make it happen because the scale that Apple was operating at was so

01:30:20   much smaller. Right. Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. No, you're right. I mean, that's, there was a nimbleness

01:30:28   that afforded them time to make changes or pursue something that in later years, they just couldn't.

01:30:37   I mean, I don't know what you, the HomePod, it's like a great example of this, right? Like,

01:30:41   what value does that really add to Apple's profitability and its bottom line? It would

01:30:49   be hard to sell enough speakers to add enough zeros to what they make on an annual basis

01:30:57   for a product like that to be worthwhile. Yet at the same time, they had to kind of jump into that

01:31:02   because Amazon was there. So there were competitive reasons to jump into it. But from a pure business

01:31:07   standpoint, there was no real reason to be in that business. Yeah. And then they got out of it

01:31:12   in a very un-Apple-like way where they were just like, you know, just sort of, well, we're gonna,

01:31:17   we're gonna stop making the big HomePod. And now if you'd like one, just, you have to get the HomePod

01:31:22   Mini and that's it. And it just sort of, it was just sort of like a sad little wah wah, you know.

01:31:28   And it's unlike Apple not to stick with something, right? Like you mentioned that with the Apple

01:31:34   Watch where, okay, maybe the first one was arguably underpowered, maybe almost inarguably

01:31:41   a little bit underpowered, didn't have quite the battery life it should have. And they just were

01:31:45   already hard at work on the next years and the next years and the next years. And every September,

01:31:51   there's a new one with better battery life. And eventually it was only a handful of years before

01:31:55   they got to what they clearly wanted to do all along, which is keep the time on the watch

01:32:00   all the time, even if it's like in a reduced power state where the second hand doesn't rotate,

01:32:06   but you can at least glance at it and see the time no matter what. They didn't do that with HomePod.

01:32:11   And I, you know, I don't think you have to, you don't need lots of sources inside Apple to sort

01:32:16   of figure out that they just sort of looked at it and at some point Tim Cook's side of the

01:32:21   organization said this just isn't worth it for us, you know. However.

01:32:24   Tim Cook That one was undermined so much by the

01:32:29   challenges with Siri and then the struggles internally working across different silos

01:32:37   inside the company, right? Getting the Siri team and the software team and the design team to kind

01:32:41   of all work harmoniously to make something that was fully thought out. Yeah, I was told repeatedly

01:32:47   in my reporting was just a real, a real challenge. One of the things that comes across I and

01:32:52   Tim Cook, to me, is inscrutable from the outside in a way that Jobs wasn't. I mean, clearly when

01:33:05   Steve Jobs was on stage doing an introduction, you know, he was in showman mode and had a different

01:33:13   persona. And certainly, you know, the fact that he could be abrasive, Kurt, however many other

01:33:23   adjectives you'd like to describe how he worked internally and demanding, right? It's clearly

01:33:29   demanding, but it would come out on stage sometimes. I mean, I love the story of the keynote.

01:33:35   I forget which year it was, but it was towards the end of Jobs's career there. But they had some kind

01:33:41   of demo at, I think, WWDC because it was a big, big, big room with thousands of people. And the

01:33:47   Wi Fi demo didn't work for like the new iPhone that he was introducing. And his persona on stage

01:33:56   changed. And you could kind of see the real Steve Jobs, or at least that other side of the real

01:34:01   Steve Jobs. And then they went on with some other demo and he came back out and said, "We've figured

01:34:07   out what's going on. It's you people out in the audience. There's 400 pocket Wi Fi networks set up

01:34:14   for people who were live blogging the keynote. I need you to shut them all off." And do you remember

01:34:21   this? Oh my God, this is real. And if you're sitting next to someone who has one, make them

01:34:28   shut it off. If you guys want this demo to continue, you're going to shut off these Wi.

01:34:33   You know, like Tim Cook never has a moment like that, right? Like in public. He is,

01:34:40   but he's also just so...

01:34:42   **Matt Stauffer** Steady and skilled. I mean, to your point,

01:34:45   one of my favorite moments in the book is, you know, in his dealings with Trump and how masterfully

01:34:51   he managed both external messaging and his messaging to Trump. He had this day he was

01:34:57   gearing up to go in for a meeting with a bunch of other CEOs. He was seated right to the right

01:35:02   of Trump in preparation for that Apple leak to Axios that he was going to confront Trump over the

01:35:09   immigration order. And then, so all the Trump administration people are coming in going like,

01:35:16   "Oh my God, this is going to be such a disaster. Like Trump's going to load on camera and chew out

01:35:22   the CEO of Apple." Like they were in full preparation to go into damage control mode.

01:35:28   And they go through this entire meeting, nothing happens. And as he's kind of breezing his way out

01:35:34   the door, Tim Cook says someone quietly to Trump, "I wish you would put more heart into your

01:35:39   immigration strategy and immigration policy." And then that becomes a headline in Axios later.

01:35:45   In the day that he "confronted" Trump and everything else. And it was conveyed and relayed

01:35:52   back to, you know, a workforce in Cupertino that was really agitated about this. But I think there's

01:35:58   just some artfulness to Tim Cook's ability to kind of navigate situations like that. And it flows

01:36:04   directly from the inscrutability you talk about. It's a real asset of his.

01:36:08   Jay Famiglietti And he really is just unflappable. But you hear these stories. There's the famous one

01:36:16   with, I'm drawing a blank on his name, the operations person and they—

01:36:22   Tim Cook Sabikhan

01:36:22   Jay Famiglietti Yeah, Sabikhan. And somebody's got to get to China to figure this out. And

01:36:26   five minutes later, he turns to him at the same meeting. He's like, "Why are you still here?"

01:36:30   And he's like, "Oh, I get it." And he just gets up, pulls his chair back, gets in a car,

01:36:36   heads straight to SFO to get on the next flight to China and doesn't even have like a bag packed.

01:36:41   He's got like what? Like his MacBook. That's it. He's just gonna buy clothes at the airport or when

01:36:46   he lands in China. But that's, he's like, "Oh, I get it. I understand how important this is to you.

01:36:54   And therefore, I'm going right to the airport." You don't see that Tim Cook in public.

01:36:58   Tim Cook No. But also, what is that Tim Cook, right? Like if you get a job

01:37:04   upbraiding a bunch of journalists around their Wi-Fi all in is diplomatic of the same character

01:37:12   he was, you know, reprimanding staff behind the scenes. But with Cook, you're talking about

01:37:17   somebody who people had, you know, people who worked for him on a lot of trepidation,

01:37:21   bringing new people in to present to him because he was known to take a deck and flip through it.

01:37:27   And if he was unsatisfied with it in the middle of somebody providing a presentation about it,

01:37:31   he would flip the page and literally say, "Next," in just like the iciest, coldest fashion. And it

01:37:38   would cause young staff to like leaf in tears, right? So, it's not like mean, and he's not

01:37:44   yelling at somebody, but it has an equally chilling effect and sets a high bar that

01:37:52   causes staff to work their ass off to meet it.

01:37:56   Jay Famiglietti An enormous amount of what he's, you know, he's famous for operations, but he's got

01:38:01   his right-hand man, Jeff Williams, who's so Cook-like in so many ways, it's kind of bizarre

01:38:08   to run operations. But it seems like in the post-Steve era of being a CEO,

01:38:14   perhaps the biggest change in Tim Cook's responsibilities to me seems to be

01:38:23   politics. And that's both outside Apple, like, you know, having four years of Donald Trump in

01:38:29   the White House and dealing with that as the CEO of America's leading, most profitable company and

01:38:37   a technology, you know. And the way, you know, it's not just Trump's personality he had to deal

01:38:42   with. It was with Trump waging a trade war with China and not having China decide to reciprocate

01:38:51   by punishing Apple. Apple kind of sailed through that, you know, as Huawei was being blacklisted

01:38:57   around the world from, you know, being, you know, like supplying 5G antennas and stuff like that.

01:39:03   Apple didn't really suffer from that. There was no reciprocation towards Apple from China. And,

01:39:07   you know, I think that's to Tim Cook's credit. But then there's the politics inside the company

01:39:11   as well, which is a lot of what your reporting is about. There's, to me, one of the most interesting

01:39:17   stories that I have never heard before is some of the backstory between the Beats acquisition.

01:39:25   What's, what, tell me something, like, what to you in your reporting was most interesting about the

01:39:30   Beats acquisition? For god's sake. For god's sake. For god's sake. For god's sake. For god's sake.

01:39:32   They met, I just didn't expect, and like none of the people from Beats who were acquired expected

01:39:37   was to go into Apple and find out that Apple was already well on its way in terms of building out

01:39:44   its own subscription music service. And so they thought they were coming in, bringing this product

01:39:51   in Beats Music that was going to be the foundation for Apple Music. And Apple was already hard at

01:39:56   work at developing its own version of that. And so they wound up having to fuse the two together.

01:40:03   That surprised me. I just, I didn't anticipate that. I didn't realize that was something

01:40:07   they were at work on because much of their public positioning around subscription music services was,

01:40:13   we think people should buy their music. We don't believe in people just subscribing to music on a

01:40:19   monthly basis. Right. That people want to own their music. And it's, you know, they've, that's

01:40:26   a hard thing for a company to move from because I think they really meant it. And they did build

01:40:33   a phenomenal music store, you know, and rejuvenated the music sales industry at a time when

01:40:43   the competition wasn't really CDs, it was piracy. Right. And, you know, got money, got people buying

01:40:49   albums and buying singles. I mean, they brought back the single, which hadn't really been a thing

01:40:54   since like the 1960s. My mom, I remember growing up, my mom had a bunch of, she was much more of

01:40:59   a singles purchaser in her single life than an album purchaser. So we, we just had hundreds and

01:41:05   hundreds of singles from like the Beatles and the Stones. And that's what our household record

01:41:10   collection was like, but it was she, and my mom's perspective was exactly like what Apple wound up

01:41:15   doing with the iTunes store, which is why would I buy the whole album? I only wanted these two songs,

01:41:19   but you know, to, to admit, not that admit defeat, but admit that times and tastes are changing. And

01:41:24   if they want to stay relevant, I mean, at this point, just a few short years into the Apple music,

01:41:29   era, it would be almost sad if, if they didn't have a streaming music service and were still

01:41:37   only selling songs on iTunes, because that's just not how people listen to music now. And if anything,

01:41:42   it's, I was just gonna say that, I mean, they nearly lost kind of, I don't know, this thing

01:41:48   that they took so much pride in, which was their, their connection to the music industry, you know,

01:41:53   because Spotify was sailing past it at that point. They were almost a beat too late to the party.

01:41:59   They got there literally just in time. Granted, the product was a little bit flawed at the outset.

01:42:04   I think one of the fascinating things about that is it didn't matter, you know, that it was flawed.

01:42:08   People still wound up subscribing at levels that exceeded their own expectations internally.

01:42:13   Pete: But they're, they are number two to Spotify, which must rankle. And, you know, it's,

01:42:20   it's a weird spot for Apple to be in, in my opinion, because it's not, it's not a failure.

01:42:25   It's not something they should move on from. It's not, you know, like the HomePod. It's,

01:42:30   it, but they are number two. And there's a sense, I think, that they should be number one,

01:42:36   but they're not. And I'm curious how that's, how you think that sits inside Apple.

01:42:42   Jared: I'm sure they're dissatisfied with that. I mean, you could chalk it up to the fact that

01:42:48   Spotify's numbers are greater as a consequence of Android users being subscribers, and that Apple

01:42:54   has not really shown a full willingness to go beyond the walled garden, but that's still core

01:43:03   to what they believe should be, you know, their subscriber base. And then when you look at their,

01:43:08   their, their long-term strategy, as Mike Gorman's reported over at Bloomberg, there's this increasing

01:43:14   push towards a full subscription offering, an Apple subscription offering in the future,

01:43:20   all I am is on Prime. And then maybe there's some pricing advantage that they can, they can secure

01:43:25   over, over Spotify that it gives them a leg up. But so long as Spotify is still relying on Android

01:43:31   users, they're never globally going to be able to surpass them because Apple has so many fewer

01:43:36   subscribers worldwide than, than Android does. Yeah.

01:43:39   And for reasons that I don't, I think are very hard to put your finger on Apple's foray into

01:43:47   Apple Music on Android has never really gained traction to my knowledge. I don't know what the

01:43:54   numbers look like inside Apple, but it doesn't seem to me like anybody on Android really gives

01:43:59   much thought to Apple Music as opposed to when Apple made the decision 20 years ago to move the

01:44:08   iPod to Windows and gain tremendous, you know, that that's what made the iPod explode in

01:44:14   popularity was going beyond the Mac as, as the, the computer you had to use with an iPod to,

01:44:22   okay, we'll, we'll support any computer and we'll make, we'll make iTunes as good as we can make it.

01:44:26   And people actually liked using iTunes on Windows which I know people find hard to believe is with

01:44:31   all the complaints over the way that music app works now, but it was, it was just, you know,

01:44:36   Jobs described it as a glass of ice water to people in hell and, you know, it, I don't know,

01:44:41   it never, it hasn't taken off. The, the, one of the anecdotes, well.

01:44:45   I was going to say, go with the anecdote, but I was going to say it's funny because like

01:44:48   Apple's whole ethos when it comes to like taking on big projects is, you know, taking whatever

01:44:54   conventional wisdom might be out there and, and bringing a whole new perspective to it that allows

01:45:01   them to leapfrog whatever existing products exist, but they still seem so wedded internally to the

01:45:07   walled garden and the walled garden ethos that it's been hard for those who advocate making a

01:45:14   service available on Android to really get that service to be treated with the same kind of tear

01:45:21   and concern that they would bring to the native, the service on native Apple.

01:45:26   There's an anecdote in the book when, when the Beats deal was, I guess, sealed, you know,

01:45:31   or nearly sealed and it came down to the question of titles, you know, what, what would Jimmy

01:45:36   Iovine's title be at Apple? And it, I think that what, what it's.

01:45:44   So there was, there was the, the idea was floated of him being called chief,

01:45:48   chief creative officer.

01:45:49   Right. Chief creative, a new title created just for him, sort of like the way that the chief

01:45:54   design officer title was created specifically for Johnny Ive and Phil Schiller objected to it on the

01:46:00   grounds of something to the effect of what are the rest of us not creative. And it's like, that's,

01:46:08   that's the sort of, that's the internal politics that I see as Tim Cook having, you know, I think,

01:46:14   you know, from the outside and having read the book and from my perspective, navigated very well,

01:46:20   but there are big personalities within Apple. Right. And you don't think that because Apple's

01:46:26   ethos is sort of it's Apple that makes the products. You don't put people's names on the

01:46:31   products. There's very few people who get credited, you know, in a keynote it's,

01:46:35   it's Apple who does this, but within the company, there's definitely big egos.

01:46:40   Yeah, certainly. Certainly. I mean, I think the, you know, there's a whole chapter that deals with

01:46:46   one of the biggest egos that Apple ever had, which is Scott Forstall and, and how that ego and some

01:46:52   of his swagger and some of his political, I don't know, their infighting and some of the political

01:46:57   bloodsport behind the scenes during the jobs period when jobs was kind of uber ego and kind

01:47:02   of made sure everybody was balanced correctly, came back to bite Forstall after jobs, after jobs

01:47:09   stuff. Yeah. What's, what's your take on Forstall's ouster? It's clear based on my reporting that it,

01:47:17   it was related to maps, but it was not because of maps and that's a fine line. But, you know,

01:47:23   Forstall famously told Cook that he wouldn't apologize for the maps thing. Right. The rationale,

01:47:31   according to people close to Forstall, is that he felt that if an apology was issued,

01:47:38   it would have a negative effect internally on the workforce and lead, lead staff to,

01:47:45   to shy away from being ambitious and pursue something ambitious and, and maybe not,

01:47:52   not embarking on a project because they didn't want to be reprimanded publicly or shamed publicly,

01:47:58   which is, which is like an actually, that's like a sophisticated rationale. It's not like,

01:48:02   no, I don't want the embarrassment of apologizing. It's like, hey, what are the long-term consequences

01:48:07   of an apology and leaning into kind of the Antinogate philosophy of jobs. But ultimately,

01:48:13   when it came down to it, he just didn't, he, he battled so much with his peers and was seen and

01:48:24   perceived to be somebody who was a collegial that in this new Tim Cook era, where there was going to

01:48:31   have to be product developed by consensus, he didn't fit. Not to mention, and I don't know the

01:48:36   answer to this. I mean, he was, he was one of the few people that his peers considered to be,

01:48:41   be the one who thought he could also be CEO. So, so that, that that's another factor there. Like,

01:48:49   you know, if you're Tim Cook and you're taking over the reins and there's one guy at the,

01:48:53   the round table, so to speak, because there's what, 10, 10 to 12 people who meet every Monday

01:48:58   and make the decisions for the company. And there's one guy who thinks he can do the job.

01:49:01   Does he pose a threat to you or not? Yeah. That's an interesting

01:49:05   side angle on the Forstall saga. I, my understanding, and I think, I think we're

01:49:11   largely in agreement here is that if maps was, if the maps launch mattered at all, it was only as

01:49:18   the straw that broke the camel's back. You know, that, and I think that the, the, there's a common

01:49:25   misconception that that was the whole thing, that maps was so bad and Forstall wouldn't apologize

01:49:30   out of obstinance. And so, you know, he was, he was canned, but I think it was, I think what happened,

01:49:37   I think the fundamental error that Scott Forstall made was that he vastly underestimated how much of

01:49:45   his political clout outside his group was because he was Steve's software guy. And that it was,

01:49:55   it was, I think he conflated Steve's clout and authority with his own and got blindsided by the

01:50:05   fact that his peers at the company at the SVP level didn't like him and didn't like working

01:50:12   for them. I mean, it's been reported elsewhere, but for a long time that, that at some point,

01:50:17   Johnny, I've told Tim Cook, I'm not meeting with him anymore, which seems like a problem.

01:50:21   Tim Cook Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, they'd, they'd famously

01:50:25   had to dust up over the year in the Watergate saga because Forstall thought it was his fault.

01:50:31   Then when he found out it was because of the hardware, he kind of, he brought some internal

01:50:37   shame on Johnny that wasn't appreciated. So, there was just bad blood there that had built up over

01:50:42   the years that people could make peace with because Jobs was there to pacify everybody.

01:50:48   But when John was just taken out of the equation, you know, they, everyone turned,

01:50:53   turned on Scott and he was, he was ultimately fired.

01:50:56   Trenton Larkin Here's my last question. To me,

01:50:58   I've always compared Steve Jobs's role at Apple to that of a movie director that, you know, that,

01:51:04   that the director maybe doesn't, doesn't write the screenplay, doesn't operate the camera,

01:51:10   doesn't appear on as an actor on the show, but it's the director who is saying, this is what it

01:51:19   should look like. This is good enough. That's not good enough. Do another take. Not good enough. Not

01:51:24   good enough. Okay. That looks good enough. It's the arbiter of whose taste is it? Who's ultimately

01:51:30   saying, okay, this is what we should do. This is how good this effort is. I don't, I don't,

01:51:35   you know, obviously this is not, I don't think that's like a deep insight into Steve Jobs's

01:51:40   role at Apple, but who's that person after Steve Jobs? Right? Was it, I think for a while, it was

01:51:48   pretty clear that in the 2011 to 2015 era, that person was Johnny Ive, right? And that was part

01:51:56   of Johnny taking, after Forstall was ousted, taking over the role of software design in

01:52:01   addition to hardware design. John "Slick" Baumgartner Correct. Yeah. I think there's

01:52:06   a strong case to be made that he became the person driving product forward. And that's why the book

01:52:11   spent so much time writing about the watch because, because he did drive that product. And that's,

01:52:16   that's why Apple had a new product category in that period. I think it's an open question of,

01:52:22   of who is that at this point? And does Apple need an individual or can it do it by consensus?

01:52:27   You know, I think increasingly product marketing has a much bigger voice in what Apple's doing on

01:52:32   the product side of things. But does it, you know, is Jaws that person? I don't know. I think we're,

01:52:37   I think there's still a bit of a shakeout and people may find it unsatisfying in the book

01:52:42   because the book ends in 2019. But I do think Apple needs that type of figure. And even Johnny

01:52:50   was, he wasn't quite, he wasn't the director that Steve was, right? Because he benefited from Steve's

01:52:57   other direction. Right. I, you know, and I know it's again, an overused analogy, but that they were

01:53:02   sort of like Lennon and McCartney where they made each other better and tempered each other's

01:53:08   weaknesses. You know, they, they built up each other's strengths and tempered each other's

01:53:13   weaknesses. And one without the other was, you know, the Lennon and McCartney both had great

01:53:20   solo songs afterwards, but nothing that was like their collaboration with the Beatles.

01:53:24   And you could argue, you know, I think a lot of people have that, that a lot of the

01:53:29   designs that people raise an eyebrow about in the last 10 years at Apple, maybe a little bit too

01:53:36   much Johnny and not enough Steve. And, you know, it's obvious that Steve isn't there. So of course,

01:53:40   there's no Steve into it, but that you can kind of see it, you know?

01:53:44   Tim Cynova Yeah. I think it's a great question. I'd take that even further back. I mean,

01:53:50   the entire history of Apple is built around pairs. I mean, it was, it was Woz at Jobs who,

01:53:56   who created the company. It was Jobs and Johnny who revived it. It was Johnny and Tim, I'd argue,

01:54:04   over the past decade who sustained it and ensured it and endured after Jobs' death. And I think the

01:54:11   question now is, it's Tim and who who lead it forward. I mean, you could, you could make the

01:54:16   case just based on what they've been doing and succeeding in lately that maybe it's Johnny Shrooji

01:54:20   that Steve Jobs had his Johnny and now Tim Cook has his Johnny and that chips and Apple's

01:54:27   sophistication and chip design are going to be key to what it's able to accomplish over the next decade.

01:54:33   Pete: You close the book talking about, we mentioned Omerta and the sort of code of silence

01:54:38   at Apple. And, you know, I think one, you know, you could stretch any, any analogy to the Mafia

01:54:45   is going to, going to wear thin eventually because they're not, it's not a criminal enterprise at

01:54:50   Apple. Although I guess the EC might, might disagree to some degree. But part of it to me is

01:54:56   it's, it's not just fear, right? Like one thing I've learned over my career is it's, I used to

01:55:02   think sometimes when people would leave Apple and go elsewhere, that they still wouldn't talk about

01:55:08   their time at Apple because they wanted to leave the door open to go back. And I know I have many

01:55:14   friends and even more acquaintances, sources who've been at Apple, left and then come back. You know,

01:55:22   it absolutely happens. It's a regular thing. That's how people build a career, you know,

01:55:27   in the industry. But I've, I've learned over the years that even people who I don't think have any

01:55:34   plans to come back, who've, you know, for, if they're young enough, they're just, they've built

01:55:39   something else and maybe taken a position of prominence or, or, or founded a startup or

01:55:44   something like that. Or maybe they're just retired, right? Like I did my time. I made

01:55:48   plenty of money from stocks and, you know, not going back, but they still don't really talk

01:55:52   about it publicly. Cause I think it's, it's not a fear. I think it's, it's a personality, right?

01:55:58   That they're a certain type of person and they respect that, that code of silence. And I'm

01:56:05   curious if you detect that in your, with, with how many sources you spoke to for the book,

01:56:10   if you detect that. Yeah, I mean, they, they, they take sort of a vow of silence, right? And I think

01:56:18   there's a, there's a concern about being ostracized. So whether you want to go back to Apple or not,

01:56:23   you still have lots of friends there. And if you become somebody who's known as a talker,

01:56:28   you run the risk of being ostracized by that community. I think one of my favorite stories

01:56:34   early, early on in, you know, in, in coming into the world of Apple and learning about it

01:56:39   is that Apple didn't really have much of an alumni network or meetings, like in the same way that

01:56:44   ex Googlers have, where they still get together and connect. And, and, and they, somebody spun up

01:56:52   one of these meetings one time and a bunch of the Apple alums are there and they didn't know what to

01:56:58   talk to each other about because it was kind of verboten. Like you didn't, you didn't, you didn't

01:57:02   talk about like what you did at Apple. So like here, the very, the very reason that you're all

01:57:07   connected is because of the company and yet you weren't, nobody was willing to be like,

01:57:12   "Oh, and I worked in finance and here's what I did." So yeah, I mean, it, it, it's amazing the

01:57:18   degree to which people buy into that and how long it's sustained and held. And I think it's

01:57:25   fascinating to watch the company now at like 140,000 plus employees and lots of new employees

01:57:31   trying to hold on to that ethos and it's becoming harder and harder for them to do.

01:57:37   Pete: Yeah, I think so too. And I think we've, we've seen some cracks in that over the, the

01:57:43   COVID era of things leaking to the press that typically didn't leak before, you know, the,

01:57:50   The Verge had a bunch of stories from Apple's internal Slack messaging group about work from

01:57:56   home policy and stuff like that. And, you know, conversations that never would have typically

01:58:02   hit the press starting to hit the press. And I, I do, you know, it's like I'm turning into the

01:58:09   old man on the porch yelling at the clouds, but it's, you know, it's clearly younger people,

01:58:14   you know, who, who grown up with different, a different set of expectations. I mean,

01:58:18   and I think a company culture has to, has to evolve, right? As times change,

01:58:25   company culture has to, I mean, what, how can a company stay exactly the same? The trick is,

01:58:30   how do you hold on to the parts that you need to hold on to and how do you let go of the other

01:58:35   parts? Jared: 100%. And I think I give full credit to Tim Cook for finding a way to do that because

01:58:41   they're still having tremendous success. What's your sense of the success of Apple University?

01:58:47   Jared It depends on who you talk to. If you talk to old timers at Apple, they think who have like

01:58:53   come back, I don't know, I presume you've talked to some of these people who've come back and

01:58:57   rejoined the company and gone through a bit of an orientation. They, they think it's a little,

01:59:03   I guess, passe or maybe it leans too far into some of the jobs ethos and, and, and highlights

01:59:11   what Apple aspires to be, but it's disconnected from what Apple is in present day, but it still

01:59:18   has value. You know, I, you know, you go through orientation anytime you join a new company and

01:59:23   that's a tremendous resource to have. But I, I, I mean, I would love to give through it and learn

01:59:29   what they teach people. I'm sure there's, there's learnings from it that they can benefit other

01:59:34   corporations as they're trying to preserve and protect the culture that they've created.

01:59:38   Pete: Yeah, my, I, my sense, I don't have a great sense of it. I think it's about as successful as

01:59:45   it could be, but that ultimately in a business of tech in a business like Apple's where it's

01:59:53   about technology, every, every new challenge is sufficiently unlike the previous challenges that

02:00:01   it's that, that, that historical perspective isn't as useful as, as I think Steve Jobs had hoped when

02:00:07   he, when he initiated the program. You know, that it's, it's, each new challenge is its own

02:00:14   challenge and the reason it's a challenge is because it's, you know, if it was easy,

02:00:18   if it was easy to apply a previous lesson, it wouldn't be a challenge.

02:00:22   Jared; Right, right. But it, but it, it does help people who are arriving at the company

02:00:29   understand or deepen their appreciation for some of the legacy thought process of taking

02:00:36   conventional wisdom and trying to find ways around it.

02:00:40   Pete; You've been very, very generous with your time. I want to wrap up. I'm gonna,

02:00:44   I'm gonna offer, there's one thing I have to, I just have to mention this because I don't,

02:00:47   again, I've never heard this before, maybe it's been out there, but to me, the single most

02:00:51   surprising little tiny detail in your book is that at least at one point, Tim Cook's favorite beverage

02:00:56   was Mountain Dew. Jared; Oh yeah. Yeah, they flew it over to Asia and just, just a habit there for

02:01:03   him, you know, which is, which is wild because he was also a hot nut. He was like eating, you know,

02:01:08   baked chicken and broccoli for most meals. So, there's this inherent disconnect between

02:01:14   his favorite beverage and kind of the food he consumed.

02:01:16   Pete; Right. He's hitting the gym every day at four in the morning and he's, you know, he's

02:01:21   obviously very fit. He's been involved, you know, famously eats well, but his favorite beverage is

02:01:26   perhaps the most, you know, similar to like battery acid soda on the market, but also

02:01:33   super high in caffeine. Jared; Right, right. Yeah, yeah, they made sure that they had like a case of

02:01:39   it when they flew over for this big meeting because they knew he would expect it when he was

02:01:44   there. Pete; What else? Can you, can you give me one more story that you're really, that you're

02:01:48   really proud of in the book? Jared; I just think there's two interesting things about,

02:01:52   about these, these guys that are worth thinking about. One, like, I didn't expect to find out on

02:01:57   my visit to Robertsdale, Alabama that, that Tim Cook is somewhat of a pariah in his own town.

02:02:02   I'm from the Southeast. Typically, when somebody achieves what he has accomplished from a small

02:02:08   town, everybody is like local boy done good and happy to talk about him. But because he put a

02:02:15   spotlight on racial tensions in the town by telling a story about a cross burning, there,

02:02:21   there's real, I don't know, there's real kind of disdain there for him, which I was surprised by.

02:02:27   That's not something I anticipated. On the flip side, on the Johnny side, I don't have the answer

02:02:32   to this, but I think it's fascinating that people who have worked with him for many years question

02:02:36   whether or not he has like x-ray vision or a different, or different like sophistication with

02:02:42   his eyesight than the rest of us. And there's this, this probably my favorite anecdote in the

02:02:46   book is there's this moment where he and a colleague from operations are flying, traveling

02:02:52   back from China and they show up at the airport and they're sitting at the bar and he looks down

02:02:57   this, this steel bar, this metal bar, and he grumbles, "I can see every seam in this bar."

02:03:05   And the guy looks at him and he looks down at the bar and all he can see is smooth metal. And he's

02:03:09   like, "Your life must be miserable," you know? And nobody really knows, like, you know, does he

02:03:15   see things different? But it goes all the way to the point of like, I think in his studio, he's got

02:03:19   a glass table set up on four freestanding legs and he would just come in one day and be like, "Oh,

02:03:27   the table's bowing in the middle. We need to replace it." And everybody would look at it and

02:03:31   be like, "I literally can't see anything." But he was convinced it was bowing and nobody wanted to

02:03:36   question it because it just seemed like he could see something that the rest of the world couldn't.

02:03:40   Pete: Yeah. The actual quote from your book is, "Your life must be fucking miserable."

02:03:45   Jared: Yeah. I wasn't sure if that was kosher on the podcast.

02:03:48   Pete; If Johnny Ive said it, I think we can let it fly without getting the explicit label on the

02:03:55   podcast. But I do think that's true though, right? And it's the curse of anybody who has an eye for

02:04:00   something. Like, I'm personally deeply afflicted by a profound dislike for the font Arial, the

02:04:09   Helvetica knockoff. And I see it everywhere. What Johnny Ive can see to just about anything

02:04:15   mechanical, I see Arial everywhere that it's used and every place where it's used, it would look

02:04:22   better if it was Helvetica. And it is, it's a curse. It's a minor curse because it's like the

02:04:26   most popular typeface in the world because you start up anything on Windows and what's the

02:04:31   default font? It's Arial. So, people use it everywhere, but I see it every time. And I can't,

02:04:37   I wish I could, if I could sever that part of my brain as in the TV show Severance, I don't want to

02:04:43   forget what I do when I work, but if you could make it so that I no longer notice when people

02:04:48   use Arial, it would make my life a little better. Jared; You need like a Chrome extension that will

02:04:53   just change your, like everything on your computer to some other font.

02:04:57   Pete; I've thought about that. I've done that though. I've used Fontbook on the Mac. You can't

02:05:01   do it on iPhone, but I've disabled Arial, which would fill it in with Helvetica, but now they've

02:05:06   changed it in the most, I don't want to go off, but you can't disable Arial anymore. It's like

02:05:11   a system font that can't be turned off. But anyway, Tripp, thank you for the time. And I

02:05:15   really do. I enjoy the book. I don't necessarily agree with all of your conclusions in it, but it

02:05:20   is remarkably deeply reported. And I really do mean it. Not just because you're here as a guest

02:05:26   on the show. People who listen to this show and like this, they really should get the book and

02:05:31   read it because there's just so many little things that have never been reported before.

02:05:38   Really. And the fact that you did so much of this reporting during COVID is even more impressive

02:05:43   because it's like you said, like a lot of this is reporting. People underestimate just how much of

02:05:48   reporting is just actual gumshoe, get your ass to Alabama or just go knock on doors, put slips of

02:05:58   paper in their mailbox and talk to people. That must have been so hard during COVID.

02:06:02   Yeah, yeah, it was an adventure by the same token. I had no FOMO because nobody was doing anything

02:06:08   fun while I was sitting there writing this book. And it kind of was. Maybe I still, if I was ever

02:06:13   going to write a book, maybe that was the time to write a book. Yeah, absolutely. Next pandemic,

02:06:20   you can sit down. After Steve is the name of the book. And it's Tripp Meckle. You can buy it

02:06:26   everywhere that books are sold. I would like to also thank our three sponsors today. We had

02:06:31   Collide, where you can manage your company's fleet of laptops, whether they're Linux, Mac or Windows,

02:06:38   where you can monetize your passion with membership. And Linode, the hosting company

02:06:42   where I host Daring Fireball. Go check them out. Thank you, Tripp.