Steve Jobs’ Legacy to Live On in ‘Apple University’


Photo courtesy of Robert Scoble

The LA Times provides some new details about an internal project at Apple designed to take the company succesfully into the future despite the premature passing of Steve Jobs.

We first heard details about this “Apple University” project back in May when it was revealed that Steve Jobs had hired dean of Yale School of Management Joel Podolny to run an internal group featuring business professors and Harvard veterans to prepare employees for life at Apple after Jobs.

The LA Times cites an anonymous former Apple executive who describes the reasoning behind the project:

“Steve was looking to his legacy. The idea was to take what is unique about Apple and create a forum that can impart that DNA to future generations of Apple employees,” said a former Apple executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his relationship with the company. “No other company has a university charged with probing so deeply into the roots of what makes the company so successful.”

Podolny left his position as Yale Business School dean and moved into an office between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook after he accepted the position in 2009. Podolny, himself, was personally influenced by Steve Jobs and Apple and even described writing his first computer program on an Apple II. In his farewell to Yale students, he wrote “While there are many great companies, I cannot think of one that has had as tremendous personal meaning for me as Apple”.

Jobs reportedly identified specific tenets at Apple that he believed was responsible for Apple’s success. Those included accountability, attention to detail, perfectionism, simplicity, and secrecy. Jobs is said to have personally overseen the creation of the courses and had sustained an interest in it since its inception. According to the LA Times, Jobs’ other successful company, Pixar, also uses a similar corporate University model.

Steve Jobs passed away on Wednesday, October 5th.

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