Apple Car Thinking

More Apple Car Thoughts: Software Culture | Monday Note:

Just because the software running inside Apple’s personal computing devices is considered high quality doesn’t mean that the culture that produces it is capable of producing the high-reliability, real-time embedded software needed for an electric car.

I am one of the many who believe culture always wins. Culture eats strategy for breakfast, it causes mergers and acquisitions to fail and, above all, it resists virile executive calls to change. Culture evolves slowly, as if having its own independent will, or not at all.
The bottom line is this: For the hypothetical Apple Car project to succeed, a necessary (but not sufficient) condition is a culture change of a kind rarely, if ever, achieved by large organizations.

Perhaps the new software culture could arise in a new, separate group, well protected against the corporate lymphocytes always prone to attack what they see foreign objects. But that would break Apple in two separate cultures, and be the beginning of a dangerous process for a company that, today, strives on having a united functional organization.

[What’s more interesting to me is whether the “high-reliability, real-time embedded software needed for an electric car” can be brought to all of Apple’s products (and back ends)? Might be a greater cultural revolution than what Apple could bring to world of cars.]

2 thoughts on “Apple Car Thinking

  1. David says:

    Weird reading that Apple can’t evoke change in culture while I read this on a device that don’t exists a few years ago and that changed how we communicate, shop, travel, etc.

    Doubly interesting because it’s the same company that changed everything about the planet by bringing personal computers to the masses-essentially changing the culture of Eartg, changed culture again by bringing a GUI to the masses, changed it again by liberating print from the mechanical process it had been for centuries and then changed photography by facilitating the editing and transmission of digital images.

    When the first Apple Mac was made the company took their best and brightest and sequestered them together and gave them to tools to defy convention. They did this again with the iPod, quite literally walking the team off from other Apple employees by putting them in their own building with a different management, budget, etc. Then they did it again with the iPhone division.

    I’m not sure why a company with some of the best engineers and best software engineers, with a track record of redesigning whole facets of society, wouldn’t be able to make a car that drives itself.

    • I agree with you David, I think they can as well, but possibly for different reasons. But he has a point… life critical real time software is a culturally different problem than the software Apple usually builds.

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