June 07, 2011

Steve Jobs Proposes Spaceship-like Future Apple Campus

Sitting where I do in Sunnyvale, driving ten minutes South can have me on the Apple campus, and driving ten minutes North lands me at Google in Mountain View. With both companies hiring like mad and buying up the surrounding real estate in their respective communities, it's likely that I'll be surrounded by Goople in just a few years. As far as I'm concerned, that's great. More money for the area, more jobs, and more innovation, even if the two companies are occasionally not the biggest fans of one another.

Tonight, Steve Jobs stepped down from the lofty pedestal most of us hold in our heads for him and presented at Cupertino's City Council meeting to offer his vision for a much-needed second Apple Campus, a futuristic flying saucer like building which he said could hold upwards of 12,000 employees, up from the less than 4,000 who inhabit the company's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop. As he told the council tonight, Apple has been buying or renting all the surrounding office space they can in the city, and some of it just isn't good.

The Proposed New Apple Campus (via Video Still)

Like Apple's hardware and software, this proposal has a distinct design - one that borrows from the company's experience in building its hundreds of retail stores. Job says there is no straight piece of glass in the entire building, which makes a continuous circle, with its innermost part being a central courtyard. "We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use, and we want to make the glass, specifically for this building, curve all the way around the building."

Much like the beautiful, if not commercially successful, G4 Cube, Jobs' says this design "is pretty cool." His approach to the council is humble, one of storytelling, a position where he says Apple is "growing like a weed", and wants very much to continue being part of the city. It's an incredibly human presentation from a man who does this better than pretty much anyone - taking his story to the people he needs to help. I can't imagine Larry Ellison of Oracle or Steve Ballmer of Microsoft not only doing this, but doing so in such a compelling way that makes you want to help.

No matter your computer or mobile preferences, or thoughts on Apple's approaches in other markets, you can learn a lot from the way Steve Jobs does business. Even this presentation to the council is worth watching. I hope that we see this campus built practically in our backyard.