Eddy Cue And Craig Federighi Open Up About Learning From Apple’s Failures

Fast Company: Let’s start articulate about Maps. How are we building Maps, and how broadly competence it request as Apple looks ahead?

Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet program and services: The initial thing to know about Maps is there’s no one building maps in a poignant proceed solely us and Google. There’s Nokia, and afterwards you’ve got TomTom, that is a comparatively little association offered to cars. Even when we hear of a association like Uber doing that, everybody is doing it with a unequivocally slight focus. We use maps in a very, unequivocally extended way, and so do a customers.

Another thing about Maps is that it usually never ends. Every day, businesses are opening and closing, streets are changing, highways are being built. There are short-term things happening, like sold lanes closing, traffic, a overpass being closed. The whole thing is intensely dynamic, that creates it an engaging problem. Most maps that have been finished currently are roughly old-fashioned. It’s all been expostulate a road, take photos, do satellite images. The usually evidence has been, how mostly do we do it?

The advantage of us entrance to this after in a diversion is that, yeah, we have to do some of that, yet in sequence to stay updated we’re perplexing to use a iPhone itself, and a information it’s giving us. Let me give we a good example: a golf course. How do we know when a new golf march opens up? We’re not accurately pushing around looking for golf courses. But we know it’s there, since there are all these golf apps that get used during a golf course. If we see that all these golf apps are being used during a sold location, and we don’t uncover that as a golf course, we substantially have a problem. You can learn that flattering quickly. It’s not as if we need a year, or anything like that.

FC: Do we afterwards have to expostulate by that golf course?

Cue: It depends. Some things we can do by usually going on a Web and checking out either a golf march exists during that location. You competence demeanour during satellite images to see if there had been construction there. In a worst-case scenario, we would have to expostulate by. You know, airports are a same thing. Runways get developed, yet we don’t always unequivocally know since many are private. Roads closing, bridges closing—these are unequivocally all information problems, since a law is we don’t unequivocally need anyone to tell us that a overpass is closing. The impulse a overpass is indeed closed, we can immediately see a effect.


Craig Federighi, SVP of program engineering: If all of a remarkable a phones stop relocating in that instruction . . .

Cue: . . . and they start relocating in a opposite instruction . . .

Federighi: That’s a kind of thing we do now. So we pull a eminence between that and personal information. Your device competence learn your invert patterns, it competence learn when we go to a bureau and when we go home, so that locally on a phone it could tell we that we need to leave early since there’s a lot of trade on your proceed home. Well, that’s something that is personal to we and provides value to you, yet we don’t wish Apple to know when we go to work. So we keep that comprehension on a device, yet we can anonymously lane things like trade patterns.

Cue: Here’s another thing about Maps: It’s expensive. We have thousands of people operative on Maps.

FC: Doing things like origination certain that golf march gets in there?

Cue: It’s that. It’s building a architectures, doing a automation, a intelligence, a volume of information we’re capturing. It’s very, unequivocally expensive, and it doesn’t have a proceed income stream. So when we contend it’s usually Google and us who are building it, well, that’s partial of a reason why. You can’t be a association going out and building maps to make money; during slightest no one’s figured that out.

FC: In a prolonged run, is a service, to me as an Apple customer, simply that we will have present Maps of my area and wherever we drive? Or does it get many bigger than that?

Federighi: I consider it already is. To Eddy’s point, while Maps isn’t a revenue-producing product itself, it’s a platform. It’s positively an critical underline in terms of a preference it provides you, yet Maps is a height on that so many of a developers build. If we consider about mobility in general, Maps is a core organizing structure for a earthy universe in that we interact. So many, many third-party apps incorporate mapping, as an bargain of where we are in propinquity to others, as a proceed to do all sorts of things—put photos on a map to assistance we relive a trip, get a heads adult about when we need to leave, or see that of your friends is in a certain area. Just as a handling complement is a height or a foundation, carrying a map of a earthy universe is a substructure for building all kinds of value on a platform. Our Maps app is usually one patron of that underlying height that’s delivered there.

FC: What does it do to a growth team, and to your plans, when something like Maps gets introduced and it’s derided immediately. [Maps was introduced in September, 2012, to concept scorn.] Does that delayed down what we were anticipating to do?

Cue: Well, look, a initial thing is that you’re embarrassed. Let’s usually understanding with that one fact of emotion. we mean, these things meant a lot to us. We work unequivocally hard, and so you’re embarrassed. In a box of Maps, what it causes we to do is ask: How critical is this? Is this a place where we need to triple down or quadruple down, or did we make that mistake since it’s not that critical to us? We had prolonged discussions during a ET [executive team] turn about a significance of Maps, where we suspicion Maps was going in a future, and could we yield it as a third-party app? we mean, we don’t do each app. We’re not perplexing to emanate a Facebook app. We consider they do a good job. We always came behind to a end that Maps was not one of those. It’s an constituent partial to a whole platform. There were so many facilities that we wanted to build that are contingent on that technology, and we couldn’t see ourselves being in a position where that was something that we didn’t own.

Federighi: So it was a triple down, and it was a outrageous training impulse for Apple. Maps presented us with some comparatively new challenges, where we indispensable to rise competencies that we primarily didn’t appreciate, areas where we indispensable some depth, where we indispensable to take a new approach. We had good approaches for some of a other problems we’d been solving, yet this one had some characteristics that meant we had to take some opposite approaches. So we had to ask: What do we have to learn?

FC: Was a growth routine of Maps unequivocally many in line with a growth routine of things you’d finished in a past?

Federighi: More than it should have been. Maps is a outrageous information formation and data-quality issue. Eddy talks about a volume of information we have. You’re removing information from a lot of providers, and some of that information is, or should be, changing each day.

Cue: It competence not even be right.

Federighi: And many of it is inconsistent. You’ll get a feed from someone who provides information about restaurants, and they’ll impute to plcae in a opposite way, in terms of embodiment and longitude, from your bottom map. There’s a outrageous data-quality emanate there, and we don’t consider we primarily appreciated all a kinds of record we would need to do that on an ongoing basis. Going by that doctrine in a unequivocally open proceed gave us all a proclivity we indispensable to contend we’re going to do this unequivocally well.

Cue: And look, we finished some poignant changes to all of a growth processes since of it. For example, a reason we as a patron are going to be means to exam iOS is since of Maps. We were never means to take it out to a vast series of users to get that feedback. So, to all of us critical in Cupertino, Maps seemed flattering damn good. Right? The problems weren’t apparent to us. Now we do a lot some-more betas.

FC: You guys have a extreme story here, and there were all sorts of manners that were determined during Steve [Jobs’s] tenure. This sounds like a box where we were doing something we would not have been speedy to do in a past.

Cue: No. When we demeanour back, like all else, it’s easy to see a mistakes. Maps was a new area—not one where we have a lot of knowledge or expertise. It was important, yet we were looking to reinstate an existent product [analog maps]. So we weren’t looking to emanate something wholly new. So you’re perplexing to reinstate one thing with another thing, and we kind of let a group we put in assign of it go off on their own. Now that we know a complexity of Maps, we comprehend that it was a comparatively little team, and we kind of removed them in their possess tiny world. We totally underestimated a complexity of a product. If we consider of Maps, it seems like it’s not that hard. All a roads are known, come on! All a restaurants are known. There’s Yelp and Open Table; they have all a addresses. Mail gets delivered; UPS has all a addresses. The mail arrives. FedEx arrives. You know, how tough is this? That was underestimating. And afterwards there was a peculiarity part, of how we exam and validate— that is also a large issue. It’s an ongoing one. We’ve softened it significantly, and Google’s softened theirs significantly, yet it’s still a problem that needs to be better. For both of us.

Federighi: But we are a association that has schooled and blending as we’ve left into new domains, during Steve’s time and after Steve’s time. If we demeanour during building mobile consumer inclination and what it meant to marketplace and sell those, we were doing lots of things we had never finished while we were usually a Mac company. Under Steve, that partial of a business schooled to adjust to that domain, and got unequivocally good during it. Under Steve, we got into silicon; we now pattern and build a possess chips. The set of practices, disciplines, expertise, and government proceed to releasing a chip that you’re going to fashion in a billions is a opposite fortify than a one you’re going to use to pattern a Mac, or to sell something in retail, or to sell songs in a iTunes Store. So we had to rise that imagination in chips, since it was critical to a knowledge we wanted to deliver. Maps is nonetheless another domain where we had to learn what we didn’t know. And as we comprehend that a sold record or proceed is required to broach new experiences, we’re going to learn what we don’t know and adjust a character to residence it. There’s not usually one proceed to get things finished here.

FC: Eddy, we told me that Siri was a unequivocally opposite case.

Cue: Siri is unequivocally opposite since it was new. When you’re doing something that hasn’t been done, it’s a unequivocally opposite animal. You’re perplexing to establish what are a features, what are a ways it can work, what are business looking for, what are a things we can do that will urge a lives of customers. we consider that’s still a box with Siri. If we demeanour today, things like Cortana and Google exist, nonetheless there’s still so many to do in that space. There are so many things you’d like Siri to do that it doesn’t do utterly do yet.

FC: Can we give me examples of things you’re looking during with Maps?

Cue: Mmmm . . . [He shakes his conduct no.]

FC: Okay, we had to try. Maps are unequivocally engaging though. For years, they’ve been suspicion of as a probable conceal for all a information in a world.

Federighi: That’s right. It’s a organizing element for a earthy world.

Cue: Here’s a problem Maps should solve: I’m about to get on a red-eye and go to New York. we don’t go there that often, yet I’ve left to places we like. we never remember a name of restaurants. Today we solve that by remembering a form of food, and maybe a neighborhood, yet there should be a improved proceed of elucidate that problem.

FC: By meaningful a story of where you’ve been?

Cue: Possibly. we mean, there are improved ways to solve that problem than me sport and pecking. Traffic, by a way, is another one. We do a lot of active stuff, yet let’s contend I’m during work today. If we knew my invert would be cut by 15 minutes, we competence stay during work an additional half hour. Maps should tell me that.

FC: [When a family member calls me during this indicate of a interview, Apple’s Voice Memos app, that I’ve been regulating to record a talk on my iPhone, stops recording. we remove about 5 mins of a conversation. When we get started again—using a opposite recording app—I ask about a flaw.] Somebody went on a diatribe yesterday about a probability that a iPhone 7 won’t have a headphone jack. Meanwhile, my recording usually stopped after that phone call, that is annoying.

Cue: That’s good, actually. That means there’s still work for us to do.

FC: But here’s a thing. Apple gets strike on dual sides. There’s one organisation that thinks you’re not as idealist as Google or other places, and another organisation that hammers we for minute errors like this.

Cue: I like a latter; we don’t like a former. I’m fine with a latter.

FC: You’re fine that there are mistakes, and that we have to repair them?

Cue: We have to be honest with ourselves. We’re not perfect, and we’re going to make mistakes. There’s an elaborating operation of issues that business have lifted that we haven’t addressed, yet we’d like to address.

FC: There’s a notice that there are some-more of these than in a past.

Cue: Well, there’s some-more people, there’s some-more devices, and there’s some-more communications available. we indeed consider a products have fewer mistakes than they did in a past, and a information shows that. But, look, we tell this to my group all a time. When we were a Mac company, if we impacted 1% of a customers, it was totalled in thousands. Now if we impact 1% of a customers, it’s totalled in tens of millions. That’s a problem, right—things are going to be viewed differently. Our products are proceed improved than they used to be, yet there’s a aloft bar, and I’m fine with that. we consider that is since we’re here. That’s since we get adult each day. we like that people have high expectations of us, and that they caring about tiny things that worry them, which, in a lot of products, they wouldn’t worry about. With other companies, we think, that’s about as good as it’s going to be. With us, we wish perfection; we wish it to be a best. And we wish that.

Federighi: A universe where people do not caring about a peculiarity of their knowledge is not a good universe for Apple. A universe where people caring about those sum and wish to protest about them is a universe where a values shine. That is a obsession. If people were like, “That’s good adequate for me” . . . well, there are a lot of people who can yield that kind of experience. we consider that we are focused on operative tough each day to make it better. We make mistakes, things get out there, yet we work impossibly tough to make things improved and better. The bar does keep going up. The series of things we design from your phone and your mechanism and a proceed they interact, and a cloud and services and a proceed a Internet works with them, a turn of complexity goes adult and up. But we’re committed to removing improved and better, faster than it gets harder and harder.

Cue: And a former thing that we said, well, that’s a culture. We don’t wish to tell a universe what we wish to solve, what we’re perplexing to solve. Why? Because we haven’t solved it. Other than perplexing to make ourselves demeanour cold or good, what’s a purpose of that? we don’t know that partial of it. So, yeah, there are a garland of things we’re operative on that we’d like to solve—some we’ve been operative on for years and we haven’t solved, for that matter. we don’t feel like we should be tooting a possess horns that we’re perplexing to solve that problem, when we haven’t unequivocally solved it.

FC: This seems to go behind to a renouned parable about what happened here underneath Steve. You’re seen as a breakthrough company, and people contend that a Watch was ostensible to be a breakthrough and it wasn’t.

Cue: I consider of us as a association that changes peoples lives with a products we build since they use them in poignant ways. Call that a breakthrough—I don’t know. Somebody will disagree that we weren’t a initial phone. But we were a initial ones to do that in a mass way.

FC: You once told me that we brought your family to a iPhone introduction since we knew that was impossibly special. Does a rest of a universe design we to broach an iPhone each 4 years?

Cue: Well, we consider a rest of a universe thinks we delivered it each year while Steve was here. Those products were grown over a prolonged duration of time. So, people contend a Watch isn’t a breakthrough product. Well, conjunction was a iPhone, by a way. And conjunction was a iPod. Go demeanour during a numbers; these were not a outrageous success right away. A $500 song player? How foolish are these guys?

Federighi: We couldn’t have built a Watch if we hadn’t been elucidate all sorts of problems on a phones in a initial place. And a phone benefited from work we did when we suspicion we were perplexing to build an iPad. So, a imagination we grown on mobile silicon, and energy management, and iOS were enablers to get that Watch on your wrist. In that sense, we’re constantly innovating and iterating these products, to a indicate where a phone we have here on a list [an iPhone 6S] is dramatically opposite than a one we introduced when we introduced a iPhone [in 2007]. Since we can pull a line from one to a other, we consider of them as a same thing, yet this [iPhone 6S] is substantially a thousand times faster. It can ID your fingerprint, it’s a usually camera we need, it can run apps—it’s usually a dramatically opposite device. That’s a outcome of continual origination that puts we in a dramatically opposite place from where we initial started.

FC: It’s also many improved since of how it connects to a rest of my devices, right? When we consider of development, do we consider of building things for that ecosystem or for a sold device?

Federighi: We consider in terms of experiences. We all use these inclination each day, and we consider about what we’d like them to do for us. Those aspirational practice lead us down all sorts of roads technologically, to all kinds of problems that we need to solve. So we think, “Oh, we’d like your Watch to transparent your Mac,” since we need to transparent a Macs each day. It doesn’t start with, “Hey, we’ve been doing growth in wireless and they wish something to use their record for.”

Cue: There’s another thing, too. When all gets compared to a phone—and it does, and that’s fine—if we do that, we’ll always lose. The phone is a device that everybody on a universe has, and we can’t contend that about anything else. So, if we were to go solve a problem of drifting a supersonic airplane, that competence have poignant benefits, yet a series of people it impacts is little compared to a phone. That comparison is unequivocally hard. If we looked during it that way, I’d never do an Apple TV, since there aren’t adequate TVs in a world. So, competence as good not do that! You can’t demeanour during it that way, and review all behind to a phone. Then no other product should be created.


FC: In some companies there’s an innovative side of a association and another where their categorical pursuit is to sell a lot of a aged standby. Is a iPhone apropos a “old” side of a business around Apple?

Cue: It’s not going to turn that. Look during a Mac. We still put a lot of bid into that, and it’s 30 years old. If we demeanour during OSX, same thing.

Federighi: The phone is this entire height for delivering capability to a customers. It’s a singular best event for us to innovate, and a singular best event for a developers to innovate into a ecosystem. So this is not “put that on upkeep while we go do something new.” It stays a post of what we do, for as distant as we can see. It’s not a usually post of what we do, yet it stays a biggest value origination event we have for a customers.

FC: Many people disagree that you, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are all after a same thing in a prolonged run: tenure of a patron via a day.

Federighi and Cue together: We don’t consider of it that way.

Cue: I adore Facebook. We can’t be everything. One of a reasons we’ve been rarely successful is that we focus. We can’t be good during everything; nobody’s good during everything. we mean, come on. So, if we wish to be good during something, we have to concentration and do a few things. We’ve been lucky. We’ve had a few, and not usually one. That’s a usually proceed we know how to work. So we don’t wish to be Amazon and be Facebook and be Instagram and so on. Why? Or Uber. Why? we consider it’s overwhelming that Travis and his group have finished Uber on a platform. It would not exist yet a platform, let’s be clear. But good for them for meditative of that problem, and elucidate it. We would never have ever solved that problem. We weren’t looking that way. We would have never seen it.

Federighi: It is an interesting, ongoing press narrative, however. To a border that anyone anywhere does anything interesting, a doubt is: Why isn’t Apple doing that; since is Apple behind in that? We aren’t a Everything Company. We take on a unequivocally little series of things that we do unequivocally well, and we find that flattering rewarding.

FC: we don’t know if you’ll answer this, yet presumably a many critical thing for any worker is their attribute with their proceed boss. So how is your attribute with Tim opposite from your attribute with Steve?

Cue [laughing]: How is it different?

Federighi [smiling]: No disproportion . . .

Cue: we don’t tingle as much, yet . . . no, usually kidding. I’m kidding. It doesn’t change, in that they’re both intensely demanding. Their proceed is totally different. Here’s a feeling that we have always had, and we wish we had it with my team. we never wanted to defect Steve. we never wish to defect Tim. And we have that with, like, my dad. we was here with [former Apple CEO Michael] Spindler and those guys, and we didn’t have it with them. That’s a peculiarity that creates them unique. Now, their proceed is unequivocally different. Steve was in your face screaming, and Tim is some-more quiet, some-more intelligent in his approach. But we have a same feeling. And when we defect Tim, even yet he isn’t screaming during you, we get a same thing. [They both giggle knowingly.] That partial comes by shrill and clear.

The thing we adore about Tim, and a pivotal to his success, is that he’s stayed loyal to himself, and never attempted to be Steve. There are some qualities that he has that are improved than Steve’s, and Steve had some qualities that are improved than Tim’s. But he stayed loyal to what he is, and it’s a best thing . He’s finished a lot of areas improved and a areas where he’s not sure, he’s surrounded himself with people who do.

You know, both of these guys work [and have worked] harder than anyone during Apple. They [both put] all they’ve got into this company, and to us, and that’s a privilege.

FC: One try entrepreneur we know said, “No one’s encouraged during Apple these days.”

Cue: If we were in record for a while, there are some traits that are unequivocally unique. Number one, a cost of what we make is generally going down. If you’re in any other business, a prices are going up. The second thing is that you’re usually as good as a final thing we do. Steve taught me this: He said, “Toy Story will be a classical for a rest of time.” Nobody wants an strange iPod. Nobody wants an iPhone 3 GS. we arise adult each morning encouraged since that’s a universe we live in. We can’t float on anyone’s coattails.

Sometimes we think, if you’re younger and you’ve usually been during Apple, is that a problem? we try to tell them, if we demeanour behind 10 years during a tip 10 companies in a world, Nokia was one of those. Where are they today? What happened? Did they lay on their laurels thinking, “Hey, no one’s going to rise a improved dungeon phone than us”?

Federighi: I consider it’s poignant that top government has lived by durations of purgation [1999 to 2001] and appreciates that this hasn’t been a true float up. People who demeanour during Apple’s success and consider we demeanour during it as “okay, great, we’re done” don’t conclude what’s unequivocally going on here.