by Ethan Levine
We finally made it: the Mecca of the tech world. Even if you had no one told you beforehand what company was headquartered at 1 Infinity Loop, I’m sure you could guess which company it was just by the look of the smooth, sleek, and imposing building and the atmosphere it created. While not our only major visit during DSV, our time at Apple did feel like a consummation of sorts.
Our visit started, oddly enough, at the Apple company store. Anything and everything Apple could be found there. iPods, iPads, and iAccessories were only the tip of the iceberg. Beats headphones, Jawbones watches, and Mophie batteries were among the myriad electronic goodies that Apple stocked, while Apple shirts, hats, beanies, mugs, pens, and various other paraphernalia could be found there as well. It was a nice first stop on our Apple visit.
However, the real meat of the site visit was still yet to come. When we left the store, we were led through the main entrance of the headquarters and towards a nicely sized conference and presentation room. The room was adorned with nothing other than a few pictures of Apple products on the wall, a true testament to Apple’s commitment to minimalism and its products. We filed in, picked up a water bottle and a cookie, and took our seats around the u-shaped table, waiting for Duke alum and Apple SVP Eddy Cue, the true purpose of our visit, to arrive.
Soon enough, the door opened and in entered, not Mr. Cue, but his assistant who informed us that, “He’ll be a little late. He’s in a meeting with Tim.” That got a laugh from most of us, realizing that, if you checked Eddy’s meeting schedule, it would have had Duke in Silicon Valley following Apple CEO Tim Cook. Not bad company to be in.
Not long after that though, Eddy came in. He was friendly, open, and a good speaker. He also just came back from a trip to New York and had a few complaints about the hotel he stayed at. While telling us about his trip, though, he snuck in his first lesson: notice the little, everyday things that annoy you. From those mild inconveniences come the greatest innovations. I guess if necessity is the mother of invention, mild infuriation is the mother of innovation.
He went on to tell us about his career path, starting at a tech firm in North Carolina and later moving to the Valley to work for Apple. While at Apple, he remembered being asked to manage the call center, something he had no experience doing. He could have taken the easy road and passed on the offer. Instead, he seized the opportunity and took the job. From this experience, he taught us accept opportunities to learn new things. While his first meeting as the call center manager was overwhelming, he soon learned all the workings of the call center and, later, was able to apply what he learned there to other sections of Apple.
Above all, he told us to not be afraid of taking risks, a common sentiment in the Valley. While at times it can be simpler and less stressful to take the easy road, it is really only through taking risks that you can accomplish anything. This is perhaps the most important lesson we could have learned.
While talking with Eddy Cue was amazing, our time, unfortunately, had to come to an end. We thanked him and we followed him as he made his way out. Though our visit had come to an end, our visit to the tech cathedral was one that would not be soon forgotten.