Tagged : California

iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iCampus

Apple is busy building a new campus in California. Their soon-to-be headquarters costs several billions of dollars, is set to be net-zero energy and is designed by one of my favourite architects, Sir Norman Foster. It’s gonna be a remarkable building for sure. But there’s more to it than just these facts… because there’s a video!

This video made me think of something I always knew, but never fully realized; A building is basically ‘just a product’, thus the same compared to other products like cars, electronics and furniture. Similar to these products, a building also needs to be designed, sold and ultimately be used.

We’re not gonna focus on the design of this ‘product’. I think it looks great, both the design and functionality are awesome and the campus looks transparant but essentially is a fortress… in other words, it’s exactly what we think of Apple and its products. Instead I want to talk about the ‘selling-part’ and explain what this has to do with this building ‘being a product’.

New-Apple-Campus-Rendering-cupertino-steve-jobs

Apple didn’t have to sell the project to their Board of Directors. Steve said yes, which is all you need. The project also didn’t have to be sold to the architect (“Norman, will you please design this building with us?”). When Norman Foster got the call he probably said “yes” before Steve could even ask the question. However, the building needs to be ‘sold’ to the Cupertino City Council. If they don’t like the design, think it’s too big, too whatever, the project is off.

Although few can imagine the city council to disapprove the project, it’s still a possibility (remember Steve Job’s battle to tear down his own house?) This is why Apple left nothing to chance. In 2011 Steve Jobs personally presented the proposal to the council. In October 2013 Apple again presented their plans in front of the council. This time they also showed a short video (see video above).

In this video, Apple presents their campus as if it’s a new iPhone. They talk more about the process of the design than the actual features. Typical for Apple, they don’t talk about the giant size of the building, or the costs, or the jobs it will bring to the area (the ‘specs’ so to speak of). Instead, they focus on trees and the landscape; “80 percent of the site will be green space”.

jony ive and norman foster

The video itself is a typical Apple production. We see the product (the building) and its designers. Norman Foster functions as as Jony Ive and designers use phrases which can also be used to describe the newest iPhones. What to think of:

“This project is pushing the boundaries of what’s technically possible in almost every aspect.”

“Everything is hand crafted for this project.”

Remember they’re talking about their new campus, not a new iGadget. To me this proves Apple really has design and marketing in their DNA (as if I ever needed any proof, which I didn’t). They did an incredible job to market this building as if it’s a consumer product.

Steve Jobs was proud to be involved in four revolutionary Apple products: the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Let’s add a fifth revolutionary ‘consumer product’ to the list… the iCampus.

Note: The Cupertino City Council unanimously approved the project in October 2013.

The most beautiful road of the world

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today, it’s time for part six; “The most beautiful road of the world”.

Highway nr. 1 in California is a beautiful road… In fact, it’s a very beautiful road. But it’s not the most beautiful road. Based on my ‘experience’, that honor goes to a road which runs through Death Valley“Which road exactly?”, you might ask? Well, pick any small road which runs from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, as long as you avoid taking the highway, the I-15.

The next question probably will be: “Benjamin, why is this road so beautiful?” I’m glad you ask. I guess it has something to do with the expectations game. I didn’t know what to expect (how beautiful is a desert?), which made it easy to meet and even exceed this expectation. In addition, the scenery was incredible and completely different from anything I’ve ever seen before. The views were simply breathtaking.

“So, what about the road itself? After all, it’s the most beautiful road of the world.” Well, that’s easy to answer. The roads are the best I ever drove on. This is something car companies figured out a long time ago. They use the exact same road for car tests. I know this because we saw some super-secret-test-cars ourselves.

“And… what about the X-factor?” Ah, I see where you’re going. Everything that’s ‘the most’, has something special. An X-factor. This is also true for Death Valley. Besides incredible scenery, breathtaking views, magnificent rock formations, awesome roads and even a ghost town (see photo below), Death Valley has something else. It’s the hottest place on earth. Several times, we left our car to experience the heat ourselves. One time, it was 49 degrees celsius (120 degrees fahrenheit)… that’s what I call an X-factor.

But even without an X-factor, Death Valley is one of the most incredible places I’ve ever seen.

My next stop: Las Vegas

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple
Part 3: Look left! … No, look right!
Part 4: Johnny Depp
Part 5: Big, bigger, biggest

Big, bigger, biggest

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today, it’s time for part five; “Big, bigger, biggest”.

Think of America and it’s easy to think of everything being big. We all know the cliché, every American has a big car, eats XXL fastfood meals, lives in a big house located in a big generic neighborhood, which is connected to a megacity via a multi-lane highway. Although this is true for some Americans, it most surely isn’t for most. Besides, this is not the kind of ‘big’ I want to talk about.

Sequoia

Instead, I want to talk about trees. Big trees. America is home to the biggest and tallest trees of the world. They’re known as Sequoia trees and can only be found in California. So we had to check ’em out as well.

These trees truly are massive! And believe me, they’re much bigger in real life.

Meet General Sherman (the tree, not the soldier). With a height of 83,8 meters, a diameter of 7.7 meter and an estimated age of 2.300-2.700 years, it’s among the tallest, widest and longest-lived of all trees on this planet. In fact, measured by volume it’s the largest tree on earth. Did you notice the people in the bottom left corner of the photo?

This isn’t General Sherman. Still, it’s an enormous sequoia tree.

During our stay in Sequoia National Park, I hoped to see a black bear. Unfortunately, I didn’t. But to see this mule deer doing a photo op was great as well. This also concluded our visit to Sequoia National Park. Death Valley will be next.

My next stop: Death Valley

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple
Part 3: Look left! … No, look right!
Part 4: Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today, it’s time for part four; “Johnny Depp”.

During our stay in Los Angeles, we saw many of the great studios like Universal, Paramount and Disney. Also, we toured Warner Brothers Studios, which was a great experience. During the Warner tour, we realized how many things were fake. The houses… fake. Lines on the road… removable. The streetlights… fake as well.  Even the cladding of the buildings can be removed and replaced by other styles.

After seeing all these fake things, it was great to learn about something very real… which is Johnny Depp, the Hollywood actor.

The Disney Guy

We met a very friendly employee at Disney Studios. He’s a Mickey Mouse Company veteran, which prompted us to ask if he ever met a celebrity like… wel… ehm… Steven Spielberg? Unfortunately, he did not. But he did meet Johnny Depp several times. Which makes sense, since he plays the character of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, a major Disney production.

He told us there’s no Johnny Depp when a Pirate movie is in production at Disney Studios. Depp’s ID tag (including the photo) refers to him as Captain Jack Sparrow. Also, it’s contractually agreed that all Disney employees should refer to him as either Jack, mr Sparrow or Captain Jack Sparrow. This allows Johnny Depp to stay in character during the entire shoot, both on and off camera. Which is exactly why Jack Sparrow feels so real… because there’s no Johnny Depp when there’s Captain Jack Sparrow.

Fake turns real

I love this story, because it shows how serious this Hollywood actor is about his performance. And it shows how fake he has to be in real life (he even orders coffee while being a pirate) in order to become a real character on the big screen. Which is also true for a studio like Warner Brothers. It’s the most fake environment you’ll ever see (check out the red arrows below), but on the big screen… it’s real.

My next stop: Sequoia National Park

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple
Part 3: Look left! … No, look right!

Look left! … No, look right!

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today part three; “Look left! … No, look right!”.

Earlier, I wrote about two amazing places, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Today, I write about… wait for it… a road. Highway 1 to be more precise. “Why?”, you might think. “What’s so special about this road?” Well, Highway 1 is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA. The scenery is simply breathtaking.

The following is a random scene, while driving on Highway 1. I am driver, my brother called shotgun. For quite some time already, we enjoy the beautiful views over the ocean. Suddenly my brother yells “look left!”. We simultaneously turn our heads to the left and see some really beautiful hills. The view is amazing. Nonetheless, my brothers interest is short lived. His eyes glance to the right… “Look right!”. That view turns out to be even more impressive. During the next few hours, this moment repeats itself waaaaay too many times, which definitely makes this highway a true highlight of the USA road trip.

My next stop: Los Angeles

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple