ABC: How Apple Builds a Community


That stands for Apple builds a community. [YouTube 21:13"]

I loved Steve Jobs presentation at this council meeting in Cupertino even more than his product roll outs. For a number of reasons. His tempo as the story he's telling unfolds, the tie to his personal history, and the vision and meaning of what he proposes.

Clearly, he is a member of that community and throughout he shows respect and humility. He has anticipated most questions content-wise, and makes everyone in the room at ease in the conversation. The power of persuasion comes from a mix of pragmatic realism, and firm vision borne out of the commitment he personally, and Apple, has made to the community in Cupertino.

At the end of the presentation, the council knows that the largest footprint Apple will create in the area is as a taxpayer. Building community with these kinds of numbers is quite a feat:

  • employees – from 9,500 to 13,000 (rounding up) +40%
  • space – from 2.6MM to 3.1MM +20%
  • landscape – from 1.7MM to 5.9MM +350%
  • trees – from 3,700 to 6,000 +60%
  • surface parking – from 9,800 to 1,200 -90%
  • building footprint – from 1.4MM to 1MM -30%

It started with a summer job at Hewlett Packard. There was a piece of land HP was selling because they are shrinking, and Apple bought it for the new campus. The idea: put 12,000 people in one building. A building that doesn't have one straight piece in it – all curved glass.

From its experience in retail, they have learned to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world. I was thinking of the Apple store on 5th Avenue in NYC as he was saying that. Apple hired one of the senior arborists from Stanford to plant more trees, including some apricot orchards, which used to be there at the time Jobs worked at HP.

The New Apple Campus in Cupertino
The whole place will be human scale — the maximum height will be four stories. My favorite part is when he talks about the energy center becoming the main source of power for the building. They can generate it with natural gas and other ways that would be greener and cheaper — and use the grid as their backup.

Apple has 20 buses that run on bio diesel fuel to bring employees to work. Many bike to work, too. When asked how the community will benefit, Jobs speaks about a well to do employee base from every age group living in the area. As to the question of free wifi, he says he sees things simply — Apple pays taxes, the city should provide that for the community.

They plan to break ground next year and move in by 2015. A couple of days ago, I reviewed a book about truly connecting brands with people. Apple plans to stick around and is creating the best environment in which to trade their way into strength and resilience.


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