The former CEO of Anobit Technologies, an Israeli flash memory company that Apple purchased in 2011, has said that it is Apple’s ‘near death experience’ that puts it apart from other companies, because it sparked a change in the way the company treats its employees.
Ariel Maislos, who founded Anobit in 2006, explained that during the year he worked for Apple after it acquired his company for a reported US$390m, he discovered that “Intel is full of paranoids, but at Apple, ‘they’ really are after you.”
Back in 2010, Intel invested millions in Anobit, leading Maislos to become familiar with the way Intel worked too. “At Apple, you have to run ahead just to stay in place, and there are very high expectations of everyone. Apple expects everything you do to be amazing.”
“That is not the case at Intel, where no one expects you to be ‘amazing’,” said Maislos, adding that Intel instead rewards people who demonstrate their “A+ game.”
Now a former Apple employee, Maislos is free to talk about his time at Apple, and so he discussed his Apple experiences during an event sponsored by the Israel Semiconductor Club this week, reports ZDNet.
Maislos puts Apple’s more demanding working environment down to the company’s “near death experience” in the 1990s, when John Sculley was in charge and Steve Jobs was heading up NeXT. But, when Jobs returned to the company in 1997, Jobs increased the pressure on his staff to achieve great things in order to prevent Apple from coming so close to bankruptcy again, Maislos believes.
“Intel, too, has had crises that it recovered from,” Maislos said, explaining that he thinks those recoveries are the reason Intel bosses don’t feel the need to up the pressure on its employees in order to survive.
At Apple, however, “no one can imagine a future in which the company fails,” so it ensures that employees have a higher level of personal excellence than staff at Intel, Maislos explained.
“Apple has had several important defining moments since that crisis,” he concluded. “It’s a company that is extremely focused on its goals. Working there was an amazing experience.”
Recently, the founder of design firm IDEO David Kelley spoke about his friendship with Steve Jobs in an interview, explaining that the biggest misconception about Apple’s co-founder is that he was malicious, and trying to be mean to people. “He wasn’t,” Kelley insisted. “He was just trying to get things done.”