Adam Lashinsky on Richard Tedlow, who taught at Harvard for over 30 years and now teaches at Apple University, the in-house education unit at Apple which Steve Jobs established before his death:
Tedlow calls the school a “therapeutic alliance between technology and the liberal arts.” Its courses on topics seemingly far removed from the business of computers and gadgets unsubtly reinforce Apple’s view of itself. For example, the Stanford political philosopher Joshua Cohen has lectured about pianist Glenn Gould’s meticulous effort to record and then re-record the famous Bach Goldberg Variations. Jobs’ famous obsession with the perfect screws on the inside of the original Mac can’t be far from an Apple student’s mind.
The course Tedlow has been teaching lately is called Moments of Truth. It features a discussion of Abraham Lincoln’s famous “with malice toward none” second inaugural address, which he made into “a moment not of retribution but of reconciliation,” says Tedlow. The 67-year-old former academic, who has remained almost completely out of the public’s eye since joining Apple, also includes Margaret Thatcher’s decision to commit to battle in the Falkland Islands and Johnson & Johnson CEO James Burke’s handling of the Tylenol bottle-tampering crisis.
This type of curriculum strikes me as very smart. You shouldn’t just teach the past of your own company, you should teach the past of all companies. As well as other disciplines which may not seem so applicable at first.