Let us make the charitable assumption that the atrocious grammar was deliberately. ;-) That's now called "marketing". It does catch attention, but I think it's just dumb. As far as a bull's eye goes I suppose that's an almost inevitable consequence of a circular building.
Julia, your comment at the end is a valuable insight: we need ambition and energy; these often come at the expense of family. The balancing act is very difficult. Here's a place where a look at "total cost" is useful. Shall we weight the good to the company and the employee against the damage done to spouse and children? How? It's a difficult problem, and my best take is really not that good: "consider the factors you can know or estimate, and then do what you think is best." Not very helpful; I know.
Simon, it's entirely a matter of what the people do. My embedded guys could easily spend 3 days out of 5 at home; folks who fabricate hardware can hardly do so at all. Less commuting to work makes the tree huggers happy, for a real reason for once; and provides employees with more flexibility than spending hours in traffic. After all, as long as the work is being accomplished, why do I care where the guy is? Now a proviso: it's good to be together periodically; a lot is accomplished in discussion with a board at hand. So maybe 2/3 isn't quite right, but I believe that many high-tech companies could keep far more of their people at home a fair proportion of the time. (Just did some checking: in our group of 28 here, I'd say 8 of us could spend 3 days/wk at home... the rest are doing their job in the labs. That's a savings, if not earthshaking.)
Simon, I don't think I misunderstood you greatly. Few of us with engineering positions are paid hourly: I am not. But I don't consider myself a professional by definition, since my definition of a professional is a person who works for himself: a doctor or attorney or the fellow who does my landscaping. The rest of us show up for more-or-less 40 hours per week, and receive a check periodically. What is Silicon Valley? A collection of companies. What is a company? Its owners. The rest of us serve at their convenience. The owners of those companies would slit an engineers throat if they thought that a particular engineer would queer a deal or undermine the company for some reason. As far as the owners and principal beneficiaries of these companies, my attitude is: they built up the company; they get the rewards. No problem. But whether they "deserve" billions, or for that matter, whether an actor deserves $50 million for a film, well, that's also a matter of definition. To a capitalist, yes. To a socialist, probably no. Not my problem; I'm a capitalist. As to your last point, where you point out that you didn't spend as much time with your girls as you might have; well, that's a matter of opinion and priorities, and specifically your opinion and priorities, to set as you please. I don't criticize you in particular, but I have seen the legions of worker bees, calling themselves professionals, and sweating over the next contract or larges sales contract. To minimize anxiety, they work many hours. This comes out of their life and family. Too bad, is my thought. But after all, we all need to do something, and we take the good with the bad. I think there's a lot of the bad in the "drive to market" crowd, is all.
As others have pointed out, often when a company builds a "trophy" headquarters building things begin, if not to go badly, at least not to go as well as before. In fact, this is almost inevitable: such structures take years in the planning, approval, and building process; they are never started when company is doing badly, and when a company has done well its future is usually not quite as good as its (recent) past.
Specifically in Cupertino (my home for the past 20+ years), I recall at least one example of a trophy HQ that never even made it to ground-breaking. In the late 1980's, I attended a lengthy Planning Commission meeting at which Tandem (remember them?) presented elaborate plans for their HQ building. To this day the proposed site remains a vacant lot. (And yes, I also remember years when the parking lot at Apple's Infinite Loop campus was mostly empty.)
Though I have never worked nor consulted for Apple, living in Cupertino I have had occasion to drive past various Apple facilities evenings and nights. If these folks are working at midnight, most of them are doing so from home; the parking lots become distinctly less full after 7:00 pm (in the late 1990's that was not the case).
More generally, for Apple and many other firms, the employee's work/life balance is suffering less from the employer than from the employee's own ambition. That is not altogether a bad thing: ambition is a critical ingredient of progress. It also is an ingredient in many a divorce and alienated/neglected family. Unfortunately we have never figured out how to get one without the other, and it is unlikely we will.
A Book For All Reasons Bernard Cole1 Comment Robert Oshana's recent book "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems (Newnes/Elsevier)," written and edited with Mark Kraeling, is a 'book for all reasons.' At almost 1,200 pages, it ...