Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Apple and Foundation (Apple TV Plus) - Apple University and Foundation

I think it is not an accident that show, Foundation, based on Isaac Asimov’s series Foundation, is on Apple TV+.  Steve Jobs always knew he was not going to be around indefinitely. After he was done, Apple had to find a way forward while still retaining the essence of what made Apple the company it is today. And in a word, Steve Jobs had foreseen a future of where Apple and the market was headed and he helped laid out the foundation for Apple for decades to come much like the mathematician Hari Seldon in Foundation did.

Who is Hari Seldon? He is a math professor on the imperial planet of Trantor - father of psychohistory that allowed him to predict the future. That’s pretty much the gist of it and the future of his empire was bleak. Instead of a dragged out downfall, he created the means to limit its fall to a mere thousand years.

While the future of the tech market is hard to read for mere mortals like me, Steve Jobs did envision the need for Apple to be able to navigate the waters of innovation and potential disruptions from market shifts, competitors, and unknown startups. 

For Apple, with Tim Cook at the helm, it has grown to a 2-trillion dollar company. Everything is looking good. However, Tim Cook and his current executive team were with Steve Jobs when Jobs laid out the path to where Apple is today. What is of concerns to Apple fans like myself is what happens when Tim Cook and the vast majority of the people at Apple today retire or move onto something else? And many where there during the Jobs era are no longer there, including Jony Ives.

The Foundation TV series is one take of Asimov’s work, it is important to note that it has stayed true to Hari Seldon’s vision for the future. For Steve Jobs, his reach at Apple continues to be just as strong it it is today as it was when he was still the CEO. This is thanks in part to Apple University at Apple HQ that was established in 2008 to educate employees about the Apple way in terms of communication, its culture, and product development. It is heavy in history, focus on major decisions made at Apple and why, The Apple philosophy on what the computer means to user, the UI and usage, and preparing Apple employees to focus on the essentials based on Apple values.

You cannot argue against the success of the plan. Other companies may have their own version of Apple University but it is not difficult to see which one has had the most impact. 

Furthermore, Steve Jobs has indicated that Apple planned out its production and services roadmap years. I am sure the Apple’s roadmap include elements of those Steve Jobs helped to create, a large portion of it likely are different from what Steve Jobs envisioned at the time. Apple’s success, in the years removed from Steve Job’s tenure at Apple, suggests that the company has been able to plow forward and change course as needed. This speaks well for Apple’s future. 

There could be a time when fans will find that Apple is different from the same company that offered productions and services, Apple University will become all the more important to put the company back on the right track. 

The TV series 'Foundation' is outstanding, and I highly recommend it. However, I'd even more enthusiastically recommend the books. Both Steve Jobs and Hari Seldon, in their own unique ways, shared a common goal: predicting the future and preparing for it to the best of their abilities.

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