By Joshua Stacy
Only Steve Jobs could use a city council meeting as a platform to unveil a new idea and be successful. Wearing his usual black turtle-neck and blue jeans, he stood before the Cupertino, CA City Council yesterday to announce his plans to build a new Apple super campus.
After an introduction only befitting someone of his celebrity, he approached the podium to a round of applause. Who else but this guy would get a round of applause at a city council meeting? Have you ever been to one of these things? They’re boring as hell! He opened up his presentation by establishing his and Apple’s credibility as Cupertino residents. Because, you know, having grown up there, founding the company there, and choosing to remain there over the years when they could have taken their ball to play somewhere else might somehow have been lost on the council if he didn’t reiterate it. Building off of a light story of his childhood ventures with Hewlett Packard (also a Cupertino resident) he rolled into how he acquired the property where HP used to be, and how he would like to build a new campus there so that Apple can remain in Cupertino, and put the 12,000 people currently working in the city in multiple buildings spread around the area—basically a single super building.
The new state-of-the-art super campus looks like a spaceship and will sit on 150 acres of land that is currently covered mostly in asphalt. Apple plans to remove that asphalt, putting the current parking underground and turning what used to be asphalt into landscaping. Jobs says he wants the building to be “human scale,” keeping it at four stories high. The building footprint looks like a crop-circle, due to the donut shape of the building, with an enormous courtyard in the middle of the structure, making for a very intimate “central park” feeling for the building’s occupants. There will be a café capable of serving 3,000 people at a time, and apricot orchards sprinkled amongst thousands of trees.
After his presentation, the council wanted to know how allowing this building to be erected would improve the quality of life for the citizens of Cupertino. Jobs politely let the lady know that if they didn’t allow the building to be built, that they would be happy to pack up their shit and take their tax money with them, as they are the largest tax base in the city. Then he went on to use a pretty lame reason about how they employ a lot of people at a pay rate that would put them in a “pretty affluent group of people.” He just continued to ramble on with pretty mediocre reasoning as to how this building could benefit Cupertino, at which point it became pretty apparent that the setting for his announcement might have been a bad choice. You know, because these are actual business people and not the star struck media, who might actually have issues and concerns with the idea of such a building rather than the usual ass-licking Jobs has seemingly become accustomed to over the years.
After he was done making shit up and sputtering like an idiot as he searched for answers he did not have, the council said they had hoped he would be more specific and asked “do we get free Wi-Fi, or something like that?” to which he very quickly replied “I’m a simpleton, I have always had this view that we pay taxes, and the city should do those things. That’s why we pay taxes, if we could get out of paying taxes, I would be glad to put up Wi-Fi.” The Mayor of Cupertino, Gilbert Wong, asked if Jobs would build an Apple store in Cupertino so that they wouldn’t have to drive to other locations.
In short, this building will house pretty much all of Apple, but why did Steve Jobs unveil his plans to build it in front of the Cupertino City Council? The presentation fell kind of flat and I don’t believe Jobs got the reaction he was hoping for from the suits in the room. If you have ever seen him give a presentation it’s usually in front of hundreds of cameras and flashing lights, as the center of attention, on a platform designed to receive praise and worship for his genius. On one hand I was a little bit bored with how it was delivered, and on the other I have a little bit more respect for the guy. Because instead of making some huge spectacle of himself, he did it quietly in front of the people that run the city he wants to build it in, and that is classy.