Monday, February 5, 2018

The Experts Have Taken Over

The Menu Bar (tweet, Zac Cichy):

Bob Burrough drops by the bar to discuss his history as a software engineer, the seven years he spent at Apple, his reasons for leaving, and we ponder why we care so much about this company.

I really enjoyed this episode. Burrough has some good stories about the creation of iPhone. The title refers to how he thinks Apple has changed since those days, particularly after Tim Cook became CEO.

Ryan Jones:

Cool episode Bob. Just wanted to drop by and say that my experiences with product feature timing was different. You suggested all decisions were made years in advance. I know for a fact it’s not that black and white, and had experiences with shorter fuse decisions.

Just goes to show how both can be true. And that Apple does what it takes to ship the right product.

Also how there can be such external debate - because both are true.

Renaud Lienhart:

I can corroborate @bob_burrough’s story on the latest The Menu Bar podcast: when Scott Forstall got fired & iOS 7 really kicked off, the engineering feedback loop broke; HI took over, engineering input stopped being welcome.

I always assumed this was because they had such a humongous mountain of work to deal with, they didn’t have time to consider other opinions.

But the Jobs / Forstall ways never came back.

I used to file many Radars, some of them ending having an impact that I could feel proud of.

In my last 2-3 years of employment? I barely bothered anymore, I knew they’d likely be ignored.

Previously: The State of Apple.

Update (2018-02-05): Josh Centers:

Burrough says that under Jobs, employees were allowed to call out faults anywhere they saw them, regardless of whether it was in their wheelhouse or not, but under Cook, Apple employees are very much encouraged to stay in their own lanes.

Update (2018-02-13): Marco Arment:

I’ve heard a few times that Tim’s management style is, basically, “Don’t bring me problems.”

That doesn’t make the problems go away, of course — it just suppresses and siloes them.

Bob Burrough:

It actually exacerbates problems. When disputes occur -- as they inevitably do in any human endeavor -- instead of being quickly escalated and decisively resolved, they're left to fester. Unresolved issues become institutional baggage.

Update (2018-04-18): See also: Unco.

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