Attached below is a section from Wikipedia on the corporate culture Steve Jobs implemented at NeXT out of the frustration of working on a bureaucratic environment at Apple and eventually being removed from the company by the very people he employed to implement it. The result is a completely different approach, apparently similar to what one can find at Apple now.
Jobs had felt stymied by Apple’s corporate structure and was determined to avoid the bureaucratic infighting that led to his resignation. He created a different corporate culture at NeXT in terms of facilities, salaries, and benefits. Jobs had experimented with some structural changes at Apple but at NeXT he abandoned conventional corporate structures, instead making a “community” with “members” instead of employees. There were only two different salaries at NeXT until the early 1990s. Team members who joined before 1986 were paid $75,000 while those who joined afterwards were paid $50,000. This caused a few awkward situations where managers were paid less than their employees. Employees were given performance reviews and raises every six months because of the spartan salary plans. To foster openness, all employees had full access to the payrolls, although few employees ever took advantage of the privilege. NeXT’s health insurance plan offered benefits to not only married couples but unmarried couples and same-sex couples, although the latter privilege was later withdrawn due to insurance complications. The payroll schedule was also very different from other companies in Silicon Valley at the time: instead of getting paid twice a month at the end of the pay period, employees would get paid once a month in advance.
Jobs found office space in Palo Alto on Deer Creek Road, occupying a glass and concrete building which featured a staircase designed by architect I. M. Pei. The first floor used hardwood flooring and large worktables where the workstations would be assembled. To avoid inventory errors, NeXT used the just in time (JIT) inventory strategy. The company contracted out for all major components such as mainboards and cases and had the finished components shipped to the first floor for assembly. The second floor was the office space with an open floor plan. The only enclosed rooms were Jobs’ office and a few conference rooms. As NeXT expanded more office space was needed. The company rented an office in Redwood City, designed by Pei. The architectural centerpiece was a “floating” staircase with no visible supports. The open floor plan was retained although furnishings became luxurious with $5,000 chairs, $10,000 sofas and Ansel Adams prints. Temporary art exhibitions were mounted with an in-house curator; in at least one instance Jobs ordered the exhibition removed.
Source: NeXT – Corporate culture and community
I’ve just received a very interesting email in my Inbox. Will attach it to this blog post and would like to know your oppinions on the subject in the comment section. Personally, I am very happy Google has taken this decisions.
Dear Google Apps admin,
We plan to begin phasing out support of these older browsers on the Google Docs suite and the Google Sites editor on March 1, 2010. After that point, certain functionality within these applications may have higher latency and may not work correctly in these older browsers. Later in 2010, we will start to phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar.
Google Apps will continue to support Internet Explorer 7.0 and above, Firefox 3.0 and above, Google Chrome 4.0 and above, and Safari 3.0 and above.
Starting next week, users on these older browsers will see a message in Google Docs and the Google Sites editor explaining this change and asking them to upgrade their browser. We will also alert you again closer to March 1 to remind you of this change.
In 2009, the Google Apps team delivered more than 100 improvements to enhance your product experience. We are aiming to beat that in 2010 and continue to deliver the best and most innovative collaboration products for businesses.
Thank you for your continued support!
The Google Apps team
Just a short review of the amazing things I had the opportunity to do in 2009.
First of all thanks for everyone that’s been around. It’s next to impossible to make anything worthy on your own so everyone that sees a connection to things on the following list should know that I am very grateful.
- Started year with some rather important foreign clients for management consulting and local business representation. High-level meetings with local IT&C people took place. Great way to start the year.
- Been attending regularly the weekly OpenCoffee Bucharest meetings. There’s a bunch of great people meeting there every week discussing all kinds of geeky topics.
- On the management consulting front things were really intense. Got three active clients plus a couple more on queue.
- Finally gave up hosting my websites on GoDaddy after a dozen major issues and hundreds of support emails. Moved everything to HostGator to a much better level of service & support. Kind of important decision when you receive tens of thousands of daily hits spread across tens of websites.
- Romanian economy has really slowed down at this point. Getting any deal done is next to impossible as companies lost any expansion appetite while struggling to survive. Major local IT companies become extinct. Things are not looking too good.
- Co-founded TwiMarket.com, a startup meant to become the place for classifieds on social networks.
- Start blogging at Mafteianu.com. Still on of my better decisions regarding personal branding. It’s great to have a place to post your ideas and thoughts. Find it rather interesting that I owned a blogging network for about 5 years but did not start a personal blog for myself in the meantime. Think urgent vs important.
- The need for external aid got me to buy an iRobot Roomba. Things became really busy for me at this point so any help was highly welcome…
- Start discussing the selling of some of the more important news blogs from BloggerWork. One month later I stopped worrying about traffic spikes, keyword density and daily articles as a deal is reached and the blogs get sold.
- Pitch TwiMarket.com at some local events to warm up for the event to come. Also we get featured in a local startup news website among other Internet buzz.
- Started the eWiki.ro project meant at becoming the ‘Online Wiki of the Romanian Internet Market‘. It has got some traction from the community and got some cool projects and people featured there.
- Started discussing about getting seed funding for TwiMarket.com though some connections obtained from the participation at Seedcamp. Happily the deals felt through.
- Upgraded from the original iPhone to the new 3G one. Gave up the Blackberry soon after as I got tired of carrying three cellphones with me everywhere.
- Start attending Startup School at the recommendation of a Seedcamp advisor. Soon afterwards I accept the invitation to become their Romanian ambassador as I was amazed at the number of great entrepreneurs they managed to bring to the community.
- Consider starting a local (mostly) online lead generation business. Test the concept with some people but do not find the right partner and delay starting this business indefinitely.
- Organize OpenGrill #2, a road trip to the ‘best road in the world‘ attended by some of the best Romanian entrepreneurs.
- Start an IT hardware/services business. I’ve been reminded this way of the joys of the Romanian employee and what great culture inheritance we got from the communist regime regarding how employees see work and deliver results. There used to be an communist blue-collar worker saying ‘We pretend to work and they pretend to pay up”. Go figure…
- Become a co-founder in iCartApp.com. The desired outcome of this project is to create an easy entry point for anyone wanting to extend their ecommerce store to the new mobile commerce market. Along with a very focused development team project lead by a visionary co-founder we manage to get a private beta in just one month.
- I turn 22 years old. Feel really old as something is now fundamentally changed. I am not longer the youngest guy in the room at every meeting.
- Graduate from Dragos Roua‘s mentorship program of. Been reminded that doing things your way it part of what makes doing business great.
- Visited Budapest and Vienna. Both are really beautiful cities.
- Start thinking more seriously of starting an iPhone apps development business as augmented reality gets more and more hype.
- Request one of those new biometric passports as they are required to travel to the place where Silicon Valley is located.
Disclaimer: The list is not meant to be complete, but rather on overview of why I think this year was great for me and what I learnt from it.