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Apple's Secrecy Extends to Putting New Employees on Fake Projects

In his new book, Inside Apple, Adam Lashinsky details the process undergone by new hires at Apple, noting that many of them are hired without knowing the exact project they are working on that they are frequently put through a testing period working on a different project in order to provide time to evaluate their trustworthiness.
For new recruits, the secret keeping begins even before they learn which of these building they'll be working in. Despite surviving multiple rounds of rigorous interviews, many employees are hired into so-called dummy positions, roles that aren't explained in detail until after they join the company. The new hires have been welcomed but not yet indoctrinated and aren't necessarily to be trusted with information as sensitive as their own mission. "They wouldn't tell me what it was," remembered a former engineer who had been a graduate student before joining Apple. "I knew it was related to the iPod, but not what the job was." Others do know but won't say, a realization that hits the newbies on their first day of work at new-employee orientation.
As noted by Business Insider, a former Apple engineer confirmed that piece of information during the Q&A portion of Lashinsky's recent talk at LinkedIn (video clip via Fortune), going even farther to note that new hires are even sometimes placed on fake products during this probationary period.
A friend of mine who's a senior engineer at Apple, he works on -- or did work on -- fake products I'm sure for the first part of his career, and interviewed for 9 months. It's intense.

Lashinsky's tidbit on new hires is just one facet of his lengthier coverage of Apple's strict secrecy, part of which has been republished for Fortune as a look into how Apple's organizational structure maintains the company's security. His full 50-minute LinkedIn talk is also available on YouTube.

Top Rated Comments

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29 months ago
I'd love to know what the fake projects were.

"Today guys, we're going to reinvent the toilet."
Rating: 43 Positives
29 months ago
It must be a complete thrill and a total nightmare to work for Apple.
Rating: 33 Positives
29 months ago
"Thats amazing, although a good way of evaluating their work without making mistakes on a 'live' project."

And yet, we have Lion and countless other examples of people making mistakes on "live" projects.
Rating: 31 Positives
29 months ago
Finally! A new post. I swear MacRumors just shuts down on the weekends. It's like a 9-5 job! Please post on the weekends, macrumors!

On topic: it's insane how secretive apple can be. Insanely awesome.
Rating: 25 Positives
29 months ago

"Thats amazing, although a good way of evaluating their work without making mistakes on a 'live' project."

And yet, we have Lion and countless other examples of people making mistakes on "live" projects.


please you act like a new OS never has an issue or more...Lion is far from Vista status and with the exception of a couple changes I didn't like and a handful of bugs...it's just fine, Leopard 2.0. Relax...
Rating: 20 Positives
29 months ago
I always thought about it, but now I am convinced that Apple is a branch of the CIA.

EDIT: I was only joking guys...Geeeez
Rating: 18 Positives
29 months ago
I tried Lion. It's not a Leopard II. You want fundamental mistakes? Screwing around unnecessarily with the user interface counts to me. Hiding the part of the file dialogue that lets you see the list of hard drives counts.

Yeah, a few bugs always sneak through. These are not bugs, they're fundamental design errors. Macintouch has a huge discussion with both sides chiming in, and I really don't think the "get over it" side has much to go on.

Just because Microsoft makes mistakes, doesn't mean Apple doesn't. That's like claiming I should love Adobe customer service because it's slightly better than Intuit's.
Rating: 15 Positives
29 months ago
How to fit in:

1. DONT take prototype iPhones to a Bar
2. DONT FU*KING leave it there either
3. DONT let Jony Ive catch you with a Window's Phone, he'll snap your neck like a twig

Rating: 14 Positives
29 months ago
Great way to test for leaks.
Rating: 14 Positives
29 months ago
North Korea could learn from these guys. Fake products... I never would have guessed it.
Rating: 11 Positives

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