Inside Apple University

This article was written by Phineas Upham

Steve Jobs was known to be eccentric, so it may come as no surprise to learn that he began his own university for Apple. The school was founded in 2008 with the help of Joel Podolny, the dean of Yale’s School of Management.

It’s an interesting campus. The classrooms aren’t your average square or rectangle, they are shaped like trapezoids. It offers courses from some of the greatest minds to come out of Harvard, Yale, Stanford and M.I.T. The company tries to foster education on “simpler is better,” with courses that dissect its product and messaging from a philosophical stand point. It might sound like glorified marketing, but there are serious studies for things like the remote control for Google TV.

Apple is big on company culture, and very specific about the kind of people it hires. The classes are meant to boost the goal of fostering the proper environment for great design to thrive. The university, if one could call it that, is like another aspect of the company culture. Some companies have employee of the month luncheons, Apple chooses to use education as a stand in. It’s a similar concept, just applied with the usual Jobs flair for thinking different. Of course, all of the courses are optional but encouraged.

All of the rooms reflect Jobs’ sense for design, with elevated seats and well-lit rows. Rumor has it that even the toilet paper is top notch.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his Twitter page.

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