Skip to main content

Snoop Dodgers: Apple To Build Employee-Only Restaurant

A little worried about competitors overhearing your conversations? If you're Apple, then you just seek a permit from the City of Cupertino, California to build your own 21,468-square-foot, employee-only restaurant -- that's a big ass cafeteria to the rest of us -- where employees can talk above a whisper about work-related things. Pass the pepper, and the product specs!

As CNET reports:

At Tuesday's go-ahead meeting, [Dan Whisenhunt, Apple's director of real estate facilities] declared: "We like to provide a level of security so that people and employees can feel comfortable talking about their business, their research and whatever project they're engineering without fear of competition sort of overhearing their conversations."

Just don't lose another iPhone prototype in a Silicon Valley restaurant, and the company will definitely have it made.

But what if your company can't afford to build a ginormous, employee-only cafeteria to keep product talk on the down low? God knows your competitors would just love to run across you and your workmates at Baja Fresh, snarfing down its awesome fish tacos while dishing the dirt on R&D. Or sitting in an airport typing up a report in 20-point Comic Sans. Just kidding; don't use Comic Sans.

What I'm trying to say is that competitive intelligence is everywhere, with competitors snoop dogging on each other in every conceivable way, which now includes analysis of your company's overall social media usage. If that's not bad enough, the Chinese might rip off your ideas -- a top-three concern for U.S. competitive intelligence managers. Cyber thievery is the bane of modern business.

If you think competitive intelligence is a relatively new thing, however, think again. It's been going on for at least 500 years, and our ancestors didn't have the luxury of sitting on their asses scanning Twitter hash tags. The FBI has estimated that U.S. firms lose at least $250 billion annually as a result of competitive intelligence. So maybe Apple is on to something here by putting its employees on lunchtime lockdown. I hope the organic/vegan/gluten-free food is good.

Comments

  1. Chris,

    an interesting commentary on competitive intelligence (CI). However, you have intertwined too many issues into what is essentially a counter-intelligence story. You are correct that CI is all about collecting and analysing the competitive landscape; and companies would be prudent to establish sound security measures to mitigate this, just as they would be to conduct CI. But you have drawn industrial espionage, cyber threats and theft of IP into a story that is essentially about Apple plugging an internal leak from loose mouthed employees rather than a concerted external effort to penetrate or steal their R & D material and ideas, other than by sitting somewhere where Apple employees can be overheard in a public place. You raise some good points but they lack depth and verge on scaremongering with a hawkish overtone! I look forward to more debate.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…