Are you already over the Apple Watch?
Yawn - me too :)
But what if I told you that Apple was working on something actually worth getting excited about?
Like, oh, say, their very own self-driving, electric car. For real.
And then what if I told you that you could help build it?
…Even if you can’t code to save your life!
Chances are, it would probably sound too good to be true. So let me prove it to you.
Apple Needs Non-Coders
The first thing you need to understand is that Apple actually needs people who don’t code.
Because as talented as the firm’s coders are, they’re not going to be happy if Tim Cook says, “Hey, would you mind jumping on a sales call for me?” Or “Sorry to interrupt your programming but it would be great if you could file our taxes…”
But that stuff does need to get done. And every single great technology product the company delivers only increases that workload.
So it should come as no surprise then that tech firms employ 3x as many non-technical staffers as coders. Something that I’ve proven by pulling the real data on tech employment from LinkedIn.
Apple Needs Non-Coders to Work with Coders
“Fine,” you say. “So Apple needs some salespeople and accountants. But they’re never going to get anywhere near the Apple Car. I might as well be working at Microsoft…”
While it’s true that many traditional firms lock their functions into departmental silos (i.e., Marketing never talks to HR), tech is different. Because the whole point of a tech firm is to launch new products - and not just maintain the status quo - every single function has to carefully coordinate in order to ensure that the launch goes seamlessly.
For example, imagine if the Customer Service team doesn’t know that the Engineering team decided to leave a critical feature out of the new product. Now, no matter how awesome the product is, the launch is going to be an embarrassment. Just look at what’s happening with Apple and the Error 53 scandal.
And that’s why, even if an Apple marketer might technically report up the chain of command to the VP of Marketing, she’s still going to spend more time working cross-functionally with the engineers, designers, and data scientists on her product team:
Apple Needs Non-Coders to Build the Apple Car
So Apple needs people who don’t code and it needs them to work closely with coders. But what does it actually need them to do to get the Apple Car on the road?
To find out, let’s walk through every non-technical role that will play a critical role in the launch:
BizOps - Before Apple plunks down billions on a massive new project, it's going to want to make sure it's a worthy venture. So the company has its Business Operations team crunch the numbers. How large is the market? How fast is it growing? And what's the ROI?
HR - Once the project gets the green light, HR is tasked with hiring the right people for the job. Day and night, they scour LinkedIn, looking for the perfect candidates from both schools and the automotive industry.
CorpDev - Even with awesome recruiters, it takes a while to hire enough talent for a huge project like a new car. So the Corporate Development team swings into action, acquiring startups in the space to bring on dozens of new staffers in one fell swoop.
Research - With the team starting to come together, the Research function briefs them on trends in the marketplace. Market Researchers help them understand the demographics and psychographics of car buyers. And User Experience Researchers help them analyze the specific frustrations that this audience has with the existing options on the market.
PM - Inspired by these insights, Product Managers start to scope out the concept for the new product. Working with engineers and designers, they put together specifications for how the product should work and what it should do.
Project - With a vision in place, it's up to the Project Managers to work with the engineers to execute it. Taking the specifications, they break the project into tasks, delegate them to specific staff, and then manage performance on a daily basis to ensure the product launches on-time.
Ops - As the engineers work to bring the car to life, the Operations team works just as hard to make sure it can be built at scale. Either by partnering with existing manufacturers or developing their own factories, Operations pros organize a clear supply chain for every part as well as the assembly capacity to bring those parts together into a finished product.
Marketing - With a huge launch on the horizon, the Marketing team starts ensuring there will be at least as much demand in the marketplace as there is supply. They do this by creating content (e.g., a video featuring Jony Ive pontificating about the car's world-class design) and campaigns (e.g., a well-publicized keynote before the launch, followed by millions of dollars of advertising at launch) that stir the market into a frenzy.
BD - Another key way to stoke demand is to find strategic partners ahead of time. For instance, the Business Development team could forge a partnership with Hertz to ensure that travelers can test drive the car around the world - perhaps compensating for the absence of Apple dealerships.
Sales - When launch day finally arrives, the Sales team helps close the deal for any buyer who needs additional persuasion. For instance, a Sales pro could close a deal to sell 1,000 cars to a taxi fleet by handling the objections of the company's owner.
CS - Because Apple is all about delighting its customers, the product launch doesn't end at the point of sale. Instead, the Customer Success team works with existing clients to ensure their satisfaction, perhaps driving new cars to the customer's door or checking-in a year later with a free tune-up.
Finance - And no product launch would be complete without a summation of the results. Here, the Finance + Accounting teams crunch the data on sales, letting Tim Cook crack a wide smile during his quarterly earnings call.
Apple Needs You
So, as you can see, the Apple Car really will be a huge team effort, involving coders and non-coders alike. And maybe, just maybe, you, too?
Because once you do, you may just find out that you belong on the team building the next big thing.
Which sure beats yet another smartwatch!