So everyone is all having a field day about this story that broke today where Ed Colligan of Palm told me that my “let’s not steal each other’s employees” plan was “likely illegal.” First of all, the reason Colligan didn’t want to play ball was that he knew we didn’t want to poach any of his frigtarded employees, so what was in it for him? Second of all, it’s totally not illegal — we do it all the time out here. Everybody is making this out like I’m some kind of bad guy for not wanting to poach and be poached upon. But I’m not a bad guy. I just think that all this job-hopping slows down product development, because we all have to keep training and re-training new people all the time, and as everyone knows, the only thing I want to do is make great products, and I can’t stand anything that gets in the way of that. And what do we accomplish, if we have people coming and going all the time, other than driving up our labor costs? Not just for Apple, but for everyone in the Valley. It hurts shareholders. It hurts customers.
Let me offer some historical perspective. Remember the situation in ancient Egypt? Remember how they built the pyramids? You think they did that by paying top dollar for their labor, and letting employees just come and go as they pleased? No. They did not do that. Pharaoh did not let those Jews just go running around willy-nilly, interviewing for competing positions with the Assyrians and the Persians and the Babylonians or whatever. No, he had himself a dependable, reliable, low-cost labor force, and he kept a tight hold on it. Like we say in the Valley, our best assets walk out the door at 11 p.m. Those Jews were the Pharaoh’s best assets. So he held onto them, and while he did not pay top dollar, he did manage to keep his workforce stable by offering a guarantee of a job for life plus great benefits. And he struck side deals not to poach workers with the Persians and Assyrians and Babylonians. The result? Well, just the greatest structures ever built. The Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Sphinx. Then Moses comes along and fucks the whole thing up with a rogue labor action, and what happens? The Jews go wander in the desert for a few thousand years and never build anything decent ever again. And Egypt goes to shit too.
Well, friends, I’m a student of history. And I’m not going to let that happen to Apple. I love this company too much. I love my customers too much. If Ed Colligan wants to scoff at that, fine. If he wants to create a situation where his workers come and go, and where he picks up second-stringers from Apple and other companies and creates some kind of Special Olympics version of what we have, well, I think we’ve seen what that business model produces. It’s called the Pre. I rest my case.
(Art work by Jason. Much love.)