A Tale of Two Cults

Gaping Void cartoon: I like to pay double for Apple products because it makes me feel Closer to Steve

They must put something in the water at places like Google and Apple.

I mean, isolating everyone at a “campus” even to the point where they only eat with each other is one of the classic cult-creation techniques. And both have a personality cult thing going with Steve Jobs and Larry Page and Sergey Brin

But check this Google software engineer gushing over the chance to do menial work in the kitchen:

How often do you get to cook fine cuisine for 800 people — especially while learning from some of the finest chefs in the business? Our Google chefs offer a limited number of culinary internships, and I was lucky enough to win one. So one fine Thursday morning I got to spend 4 hours in the Google kitchens working with, and learning from, our amazing culinary engineers.

Like so many software people, Dave MacLachlan seems amazed that other professionals actually have systems too, and know what they’re doing.

The chefs even get to choose where their produce comes from…

I didn’t realize that the chefs at Google all have their own private knife set…

For some reason, I was expecting Kelly to have an exact recipe, but she did pretty much everything off the top of her head, with a quick taste here and there to verify that things were going as planned.

Wow, just like every other commercial kitchen on the planet. Perhaps the “culinary internship” was valuable after all.

Back in February, another Google guy wrote about their day trip to Apple. And Apple’s cult status was in full effect. Nothing about what they learned from Apple colleagues, just merchandise and cult stuff.

[We] spent the first part of our visit at Apple’s legendary Company Store, where we admired all the new Macs and iPods, and wandered through the selection of Apple-logoed clothing, pens, notebooks, and other chotchkas. Strong willpower kept us from buying too much stuff.

After the store visit, our Google gang entered the main Apple building at 1 Infinite Loop and walked to Caffé Macs. We chose our food from among the sushi, burritos, soups, and other fare that was somewhat Google-like, paused to pay for our lunches (which was not Google-like at all), then took our seats.

A few minutes later, as we were enjoying our lunch and chatting with Apple friends, we noticed a slight disturbance in the room, as if all the air had rushed to a single place, over by the salad bar. As you have probably guessed, it was Apple CEO Steve Jobs, grabbing some lunch with Jonathan Ive, Apple’s industrial design guru. As the two moved across the room, there was no great commotion — after all, this probably happens just about every day at Apple — but our Google group and many other folks stopped eating long enough to follow the two rock stars around the room for awhile.

I know someone who was so eager to buy the latest iPod that he was wanting to sell his body to get the extra cash.

Guys, Apple and Google are just big companies with products and services, and they have employees. Sure, they might have better working conditions and slick PR, but that’s all, OK?

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