The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories
Apple’s secrecy is a legendary and defining corporate trait. Like the quasi-government the company is increasingly becoming, it has an extensive program to fight leaks. We know that because, well, somebody leaked a recording of an hour-long presentation on Apple’s campaign (William Turton in The Outline). It turns out Apple employs a global team of leak-stoppers that includes former employees of the NSA, the FBI, the Secret Service, and branches of the U.S. military.
The purpose of all this secrecy, Apple execs insist, is “surprise and delight” among customers when they finally learn of some new Apple product or feature at the time of the company’s choosing. That kind of choreographed product launch has long been an Apple trademark, to be sure. But the company’s insistence on secrecy, like the inward-turning design of its gigantic new headquarters, underscores the increasingly insular nature of Apple’s culture.
“We don’t have a Big Brother culture,” an Apple exec says on the recording. Nonetheless, as The Outline puts it, “The presentation makes working for Apple sound like working for the CIA.”
Apple has so much money that it can continue to attract amazingly talented people who might prefer to work in more open, collaborative environments. The real problem for the company isn’t brain drain but loss of competitive edge. Over time, the business advantage Apple gains from secrecy will be dwarfed by the tax on innovation and insight it pays by isolating itself.
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