On October 29, 1969, in this room at UCLA, a student programmer sent the first message using ARPANET, a precursor to the modern internet. The message didn’t go well. The programmer, Charley Kline, got halfway through the word login before the program crashed. It wasn’t a great start.
It would take a few more decades until the internet started entering our homes, but its impact is almost incalculable. It’s transformed nearly every facet of life, and whole human generations identify around its existence.
If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning. You want to be working on meaningful, impactful projects.
The role of the recruiter is no longer just to find talent. It is to understand and empathize with their applicants, and then help make their experience better.
Netflix believes the best thing they can do for employees is hire only „A“ players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else.
At Pixar he conceived of a program that lets employees choose from 14 classes per week, including ballet, improv, drawing, and painting skills, computer programming, belly dancing, and color theory. This keeps Pixar’s talent learning and growing, thus making better films.
the shift toward culture may be gaining prominence as small businesses struggle to compete for talent with larger counterparts in the areas of plump paychecks and generous benefits packages. They’re beginning to recognize culture for the trump card it is, particularly with millennials used to interactive, stimulating environments.“
We all fear the job that looks great on paper and is a nightmare in practice. What makes some companies great to work for and others a disaster? The answer: good workplace culture. It’s the difference between Google and Yahoo, Costco, and the Department of Corrections. Studies have shown that office culture is one of the most revealing indicators of workplace satisfaction. How can companies be intentional about building and nurturing a good workplace culture?
The short answer: Hire for the right roles. Some people believe that founders are the only ones who can create company culture. It’s true that founders are usually responsible for creating the original values. Consider how Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Google defined the way they wanted their first dozen employees to feel at work. In fact many of the best-loved parts of the culture started before Google had 50 employees.
But as a company grows, there are still opportunities for cultural recalibration. Here are seven roles of people who help define, harness, reflect, and embody culture. Think of them as the new faces of organizational culture.
1. The Gardener
Exemplar: Company Founder(s)
Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had one intention for Google’s culture: They wanted to create a company that felt like their experience at Stanford’s graduate school. Page and Brin famously hired a chef to cook for Google’s first employees, a perk they had grown to love at Stanford University’s dining halls.
Beyond the free food, Google tried to mimic the actual experience and culture of being a grad student. Page observed, „When you’re a grad student, you can work on whatever you want. And the projects that were really good got a lot of people really wanting to work on them. We’ve taken that learning to Google, and it’s been really, really helpful. If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning. You want to be working on meaningful, impactful projects.“
Page and Brin are examples of founders who have helped nurture Google’s culture. Several culture theorists use the term „gardening“ when talking about fostering good workplace culture. A few years ago, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman spoke with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about trends in technology and leadership. Friedman wrote that Bezos believes „the job of the company leader is now changing fast. ‘You have to think of yourself not as a designer but as a gardener’—seeding, nurturing, inspiring, cultivating the ideas coming from below, and then making sure people execute them.“
Google has retained many parts of its unique startup culture because Page and Brin understood that the company’s culture needed care and nurturing. The most important thing the gardener can do is to write down the company’s cultural values and share them within the company. Page and Brin wrote Google’s values when the company was just a few years old.
2. The Sage
Exemplar: Venture Capitalist
It was 2012, and Airbnb cofounders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk had just closed their Series C funding round with investor Peter Thiel. Thiel cofounded PayPal and now runs Palantir Technologies. Thiel is known for his business aptitude, and he frequently writes about his philosophical (and sometimes controversial) viewpoints, including his support of libertarianism and his belief that companies should operate with a flat structure and share company data with all employees. The Airbnb cofounders invited Thiel to their office in San Francisco. To help you picture this scene, it’s important to know that the conference rooms in the Airbnb office are designed to look like real Airbnb apartment listings from cities including New York, Berlin, and Hong Kong. They invited Thiel into the „Berlin Room“ (decorated with ornate baroque wallpaper and a rococo couch) to show him various metrics. In the middle of the conversation, Chesky asked Thiel what his single most important piece of advice for them was.
Thiel is an example of a sage, a wise veteran who has been through the trenches of starting a company before. The most important thing a sage can do is to remind a company to focus on culture. Founders often feel like they have no time to focus on company culture, when it is actually the most important thing they should be focused on. Jerry Colonna, a former venture capitalist at Flatiron Partners and current CEO coach, is known as the Yoda of Silicon Valley. His Yoda wisdom? „Even if you are not intentional about your culture, you will still have one.“
3. The Empathizer
Exemplar: The Recruiter
Let’s say I’ve just stayed at an Airbnb, and I’ve had a great experience using the service. I’m on the website, leaving a review, and I navigate down to the careers page. I already have a job I love, but I’m just curious (we’ve all been there). Within two minutes, I have learned what Airbnb’s cultural values are and specifically what traits and values Airbnb is looking for in candidates. But what really hooks me is learning what it’s like to work at Airbnb. I see that employees get to have „fireside chats“ with industry leaders and musicians like Will.I.Am. I learn what it’s like for employees to work at Airbnb every day. And not just employees, in the generic sense. Specifically, videos on what it’s like for interns, developers, and even moms to work at Airbnb. There’s also a huge section on what the engineering culture is like (hilariously, at nerds.airbnb.com).
Airbnb has carefully mapped out what comes next. Jill Riopelle, head of recruiting, used a design technique called journey mapping to gain empathy for the candidates going through Airbnb’s job application process. She hosted a brainstorming session in the Airbnb lunch room, and asked Airbnb employees to reflect on their own best and worst hiring moments. Next, they brainstormed how they wanted applicants to feel at each point and mapped out the ideal process for both the applicant and the hiring team. Based on these ideas for an „ideal process“ Airbnb made the communication process with applicants more high touch (applicants get more updates, and aren’t wondering when the company will respond). When applicants first apply, they receive a warm acknowledgement message via email. The email „outlines next steps and suggests what candidates could do in the interim (watch company culture videos, read our FAQs, and more).“ Airbnb started offering rejected applicants a chance to get feedback on the phone, which helps applicants stay positive toward the company, even if they didn’t get a job. The result? The company has more people applying a second time around, but with more experience and understanding of which roles would be right for them. It’s as if the recruiter is offering an olive branch, or playing the role of a coach or therapist.
The role of the recruiter is no longer just to find talent. It is to understand and empathize with their applicants, and then help make their experience better.
4. The Talent Guru
Exemplar: HR Manager
In 2009, Netflix published its seminal culture deck. Ostensibly an internal-only document that was slipped out to Slideshare, it immediately drew massive attention from the business world. The person behind this deck was former chief talent officer Patty McCord. McCord was willing to question all the old-school rules of traditional HR. In 2014, Harvard Business Review published McCord’s approach to „reinventing“ human resources. McCord helped Netflix attract top talent by coming up with a new approach: „Hire, reward, and tolerate only fully formed adults.“ Netflix believes the best thing they can do for employees is hire only „A“ players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else.
McCord let go of people whose skills no longer fit with the company. To keep their „A“ players happy, she instituted policies that provided freedom, responsibility, and excellent benefits that are flexible around employees’ needs. Instead of creating benefits packages based on HR rules and policies, McCord created benefits packages based on the company’s values and employees‘ core motivations.
The role of the chief talent officer is no longer to blindly push through outdated HR policies. Instead, talent gurus must reinvent the company’s policies to match the company’s cultural values and employees‘ personal values. Most importantly, talent gurus create the narrative that defines how a company aligns its actions (the what) with its values (the how).
5. The Dean
Exemplar: Learning and Developing Leader
Here’s how Randy Nelson describes himself on his LinkedIn page: „I work with organizations to make the best use of the people, wisdom, and skills they already have, want to attract, and need to develop. I help build amplifiers out of groups, using appropriate and dynamic mixtures of training and education, traditional skills, and innovative technology, flexible programs, and high standards. In addition to increased productivity and effectiveness, hijinks and shenanigans sometimes result.“
Nelson was the dean of Pixar University for 12 years, and now he is the director of Apple University. Nelson’s role is creating professional development programs that not only train employees but actually help educate employees. At Pixar, he conceived of a program that lets employees choose from 14 classes per week, including ballet, improv, drawing, and painting skills, computer programming, belly dancing, and color theory. This keeps Pixar’s talent learning and growing, thus making better films.
Pixar president Ed Catmull writes in his book, Creativity, Inc., that the magic of Pixar University „wasn’t that the class material directly enhanced our employees’ job performance. Instead, there was something about an apprentice lighting technician sitting alongside an experienced animator, who in turn was sitting next to someone who worked in legal or accounting or security—that proved immensely valuable. In the classroom setting, people interacted in a way they didn’t in the workplace. They felt free to be goofy, relaxed, open, vulnerable. Hierarchy did not apply, and as a result, communication thrived. Simply by providing an excuse for us all to toil side by side, humbled by the challenge of sketching a self-portrait or writing computer code or taming a lump of clay, Pixar University changed the culture for the better.“
Deans can play the role of fostering collaboration and creativity. They can help employees regain the mindset of being students again. When we’re learning, we retain a sense of possibility— and that sense of possibility is integral to Pixar’s whimsical success.
6. The Storyteller
Exemplar: Collective Voice of Individual Storytellers
How does Ideo attract talent and clients? Ideo has widely shared stories about the firm’s „special sauce“—its processes, rituals, and values. Ideo’s leaders have published a dozen books, several sets of tools, and countless videos and articles about what it’s like to work at Ideo. You might think that by sharing its proprietary methods Ideo could lose business. Who is to say that another consulting firm won’t just copy what Ideo is doing?
In reality, publishing this information has only attracted more talent and more clients to Ideo. In fact, most of Ideo’s talent and clients come to Ideo, rather than Ideo seeking them out. The company has a very small recruiting budget, and only has a few recruiters (for a firm of 700 people, this is unusual). Instead of constantly attending recruiting fairs, Ideo aims to reach potential talent through stories. Ideo’s currency is in stories. Thus, it understands the tremendous value of having more than just one set of individuals sharing stories. Ideo encourages all employees to be storytellers.
Stories humanize companies. The role of the storyteller is to share his or her company’s inner personality and narrative with the broader world. At Ideo, there is room for many different voices, all sharing their own personal story as it relates to Ideo’s larger narrative. Ideo’s most well-known stories include books by Ideo founder David Kelley and his brother, Tom Kelley, CEO Tim Brown, and partner Jane Fulton Suri. But many other Ideo authors tell stories through videos, articles, case studies, and podcasts, including Fred Dust, David Aycan, Diego Rodriguez, Paul Bennett, Sina Mossayeb, Joe Brown, Roshi Givechi, Ingrid Fetell Lee, Ashlea Powell, and Duane Bray, to name a few. Each story has helped clarify and exemplify Ideo’s collective culture, mindsets, and values.
7. The Questioner
Exemplar: The Diversity Lead
A huge part of a company’s organizational culture is its hiring practices. Trying to increase diversity is like trying to change culture: Both are much harder to do when a company has become a midsize or large company. If a company is intentional about its culture and diversity when it’s small, the value of diversity will be baked into the company’s DNA.
Enter Slack: a company that started thinking about diversity when it was only two years old. Slack is a workplace communication and messaging app used by organizations like the New York Times, NASA, Airbnb, Buzzfeed, and Spotify. Slack was cofounded by four white men, but CEO Stewart Butterfield made diversity a priority once the company reached 40 employees. Slack was growing quickly, and they needed to hire quickly. When companies need to hire quickly, there is a tendency to hire people who come from employee networks, which leads to hiring people who are similar to current employees.
Slack’s vice president for people and policy, Anne Toth, is trying to break that cycle. She released a diversity report, which is unusual for such a young company. At the time of the release in September 2015, the company only had 250 employees. Its first strategy for breaking the cycle is to continuously look at its diversity hiring numbers and then make immediate adjustments, rather than waiting until the end of the year. According to PBS, Toth asks questions like, „Are we promoting women and people of color at the same rate? Are we retaining them at the same rate? Are we paying them equitably? Are they as engaged as other employees across the board?“
Slack’s second strategy is to change the types of questions interviewers ask candidates. Slack has stopped asking questions that produce answers that cannot be objectively evaluated. For example, one problematic question is, „What do you do for fun?“ What a candidate does for fun isn’t relevant to that candidate’s ability to do work. Not only is this question not helpful for an interview, but it can actually lead to unconscious bias.
The richness of these personas is that anyone can adopt them, regardless of specific job function. Any of these approaches would benefit almost any role or organization. For example, applying a gardening approach is a useful mindset that extends beyond founders; many other roles can help build a narrative around how the company puts its values into practice.
What are the takeaway lessons that we can learn from all of these roles, regardless of your own role? One idea is to look for ways to take on one of these faces for an activity, a project, or just a day. Alternatively you can look for ways to engage with your organization at a larger level with a new lens. At Ideo, a group of creative employees came together as „gardeners“ to create a series of videos designed to bring to life each of Ideo’s values. These videos helped plant seeds for new employees to learn about Ideo’s culture in a cinematic way. Regardless of your role, you can play a role in shaping your company’s culture. Anyone can adopt the lens of a dean, questioner, or storyteller in some capacity.
Why do these new faces matter? Workplace culture is becoming increasingly important, and increasingly shaped by a wider group of employees. Steelcase explains that „the shift toward culture may be gaining prominence as small businesses struggle to compete for talent with larger counterparts in the areas of plump paychecks and generous benefits packages. They’re beginning to recognize culture for the trump card it is, particularly with millennials used to interactive, stimulating environments.“ According to a recent study from Workforce Institute and WorkplaceTrends, employees feel they have more influence over culture than ever before (although managers and HR professionals disagree). Millennials, in particular, feel that the power to shape culture lies not with the executive leaders or the HR team but with the people doing the work. It’s clear that in order to attract, retain, and engage the modern workforce, companies need to focus on culture. Thankfully, there are an expanding number of roles and people who can help with this.
We’re curious: What other faces of culture does your organization have? How are your employees adopting these new roles and faces?
Summary: Apples Rate of Change — the idea that we’ll never see an iPhone sales quarter bigger than this one, or at least not much bigger. The days of enormous iPhone growth may have reached its end.
The reports of the iPhone’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
In the wake of Apple’s recent quarterly financial results report, there’s been a lot of talk about what happens if the company has truly reached the peak of iPhone sales — and what must come next in order for Apple to keep growing.
The iPhone is a once-in-a-decade (if not once-in-a-lifetime) product, and won’t be replaced on Apple’s revenue chart any time soon. And that’s okay, for a whole bunch of reasons.
What goes up… stays up
It’s easy to assume — in part due to language commonly used by growth-obsessed investors — that the iPhone is in free fall. Not so much: iPhone sales set a record last quarter. What’s actually concerning investors is the rate of change — the idea that we’ll never see an iPhone sales quarter bigger than this one, or at least not much bigger. The days of enormous iPhone growth may have reached its end.
If you’re comparing the iPhone’s life cycle to that of Apple’s iPod, there’s reason to be terrified: The iPod sold like gangbusters for a number of years, but its decline was drastic — to the point where it got removed from Apple’s financial reports last year. That’s not going to happen with the iPhone, for a simple reason: the iPod was made largely obsolete by the smartphone. And the smartphone’s not going anywhere, not for a very long time.
That means Apple’s iPhone business is probably going to keep contributing 150 billion dollars a year for the foreseeable future. (In the last four quarters, the iPhone brought in an average of 38.9 billion per quarter. In comparison, the Mac and iPad bring in five or six billion dollars per quarter. That’s a lot of money, sure, but the two products combined pale in comparison to the phone juggernaut.) It’s enough money to make Apple one of the biggest, most profitable companies on the planet.
Could the iPhone eventually fail? The future is promised to no one, but people are going to want an internet-connected device in their pockets until there’s something even better you can stick in your ear or pop on your eyeball or connect directly to your brain.
There’s money in the ecosystem
Apple focused a lot of energy this week on communicating how well it’s doing — and how much it’s growing — in terms of services revenue. That’s the budget line covering iCloud, iTunes, Apple Music, and the App Store.
The users of Apple’s one billion active devices are all spending money on digital goods and services. It’s potentially a huge growth opportunity for the company, and it will be interesting to see what other services Apple might introduce and how much additional revenue might be generated from its existing iPhone installed base — namely, us.
But beyond offering us more content to buy, the Apple ecosystem extends outward. Consider the Apple Watch: It’s essentially an iPhone accessory, since it only works with Apple’s smartphone. It’s another product that can be marketed to existing iPhone users, generating more revenue while also tying them more tightly into the Apple ecosystem. (When an Apple Watch user considers an Android phone, they also have to consider giving up their Apple Watch — making it potentially that much easier to stick with what they know.)
There’s still room for growth
The days of rapid smartphone sales growth may well be over, and while Wall Street may not be thrilled about this, it doesn’t mean the iPhone is in any danger of disappearing. Apple still thinks there’s room for future growth, and the company’s reasons seem reasonable to me. The rapid growth of the middle class in China is creating hundreds of millions of new consumers with money to spend on brands like Apple, and products like the iPhone. Apple’s weak position in India is generally seen as a negative, but it also means there’s a huge upside if the company figures out how to crack that market.
While those of us in the most industrialized nations have benefited from fast 4G LTE cellular networks for a few years now, those networks are still rolling out in India and other emerging markets. People in those countries will buy new phones to take advantage of LTE as it comes online, and that’s a big opportunity for Apple to sell iPhones.
And then there’s switching: Apple continues to suggest that there’s a constant flow of smartphone users from Android to iPhone. It’s hard to quantify those numbers overall, but at least from Apple’s perspective, there’s a growth opportunity simply in picking up Android users who are ready for a change.
Wait for it
Okay, so the iPhone’s pretty good for now. But what about the next big thing? How does Apple ignite future growth, and protect the products it already has?
Fortunately, Apple has many, many billions of dollars in cash from its past few years of profits. And the company is investing that money in researching the next generations of products. I’m sure some of that money is going into exploring what might replace a smartphone, whether it’s a Siri-powered device that plugs into your ear, or an augmented-reality visor, or who knows what else.
In terms of finding growth, we’ve all heard the reports that Apple’s exploring the possibility of building a car. Entering new markets is never easy, but it provides huge opportunity for growth. It’s the same principle as iPhone sales in India: Apple’s current share of the automobile market is zero, which means that the sky’s the limit when it comes to gaining new customers.
The smartphone era
I’m pretty confident that when we look back to the early parts of the 21st century, we will consider this the dawn of the smartphone era. Even from the perspective of 2016, the personal computer seems to rapidly be transforming into a footnote — a technological prelude to the creation of the smartphone. Tiny devices with massive computing power and an always-on connection to a global data network, living in our pockets — they have transformed the way people live around the world, from the richest countries to some of the poorest.
Apple doesn’t need to replicate the iPhone’s success with another product to be successful, which is good, because there may not be a product as successful as the iPhone any time in the near future. (Though I’d be happy to be proven wrong when the direct-brain implants come around in 2030.) People who are searching the horizon for the next big thing as hot as the smartphone are searching in vain.
We live in the smartphone era, and considering the slowing rate of growth in smartphone sales, so does everyone else. The introduction of the iPhone was the moment this era truly began. Apple has benefited massively from that, and will continue to for the foreseeable future.
Apple has been corporate America’s most ridiculously unbelievable growth story. And now it’s over. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Get used to it.
Yes, the Apple we have come to know was a gravity-defying growth machine. Apple is the most valuable company in the world, yet it increased its revenue in the last 12 months by more than last year’s sales at Coca-Cola. Apple rang up enough operating cash in the last year to buy 625,000 Tesla Model X cars — nearly one for each person in San Francisco. (I’ll take blue with tan leather interior, please.) The company has given us so many eye-popping numbers that any feat short of Tim Cook colonizing Mars is underwhelming.
With the setup of high expectations, the most crucial numbers are now more low-Earth orbit than deep space. Unit sales of the iPhone for the three months ended Sept. 26 climbed 22 percent from those in the period a year earlier. Just a few months ago, Apple sold 60 percent more iPhones than it did a year before. Wall Street will be thrilled if iPhone sales increase at all in the holiday quarter, compared with the frenzied sales of the iPhone 6 during the 2014 holidays. Apple’s own forecast, which is often conservative, is for a tiny increase in revenue in the three months ending in December.
The existential question for Apple is whether the company is in another lull before a turbocharge from the iPhone 7 or something else, or whether nonspectacular growth is the new normal.
It’s true that this isn’t the first time Apple seemed to run out of steam. Just before the introduction of the iPhone 6 models a year ago, Apple posted five consecutive quarters of single-digit revenue growth, according to Bloomberg data. Sales took off again once people snapped up the larger-screen iPhones.
What’s different this time is Apple is in part to blame for doubts about its growth trajectory. The company has fallen into an unhealthy reliance on a single product: the iPhone. The smartphones generated just more than half of Apple’s sales before the introduction of the iPhone 6. That number has risen to 63 percent or more in each of the last four quarters.
Part of that shift, of course, is the remarkable sales run for the iPhone. It’s also because the Apple Watch, Apple Music or potential future electric minivans aren’t big enough to pick up the slack right now, and maybe never will. Sales of Mac computers are defying the shrinking PC market, but revenue gains are pedestrian. The iPad seems to have settled into a rut as a nice-but-not-essential consumer gadget that users don’t upgrade as often as the company would like. Revenue from iPads fell for the seventh quarter in a row, by 20 percent in the latest three months.
Apple is used to defying predictions that it can’t top itself. Those predictions look more likely to come true than ever before.
„Erst eingehende Tests werden zeigen, ob die Benutzung der neuen Uhren tatsächlich so intuitiv und angenehm ist, wie Cook und sein Team das bei der Vorstellung ein ums andere Mal betont haben. Sicher ist, dass Apple bis heute einen Vertrauensvorsprung hat, wenn es um die Einführung neuer Geräte geht. Steve Jobs versprach einst: Wenn wir etwas anfassen, dann machen wir es so, dass die Kunden es lieben werden. Löst die Apple Watch dieses Versprechen ein, dann kann sie einmal mehr einer Gerätekategorie zum Durchbruch verhelfen, bei denen andere die undankbare Vorreiterrolle übernommen haben. So wie das bei MP3-Playern, Touchscreen-Handys oder tragbaren Touch-Computern schon der Fall war.“
Und subsummiert, die Ängste, aller Beteiligten, Mitarbeiter, Fan-Boys, überzeugten Innovationsliebhabern, und Aktionären:
„Erweist sich die Apple Watch aber als überflüssiger Schnickschnack, als allzu klobiges Anhängsel mit zu wenig echtem Mehrwert für seinen Preis, dann kann die Uhr das Gegenteil bewirken: Wenn der Konzern nur einmal unter Beweis stellt, dass nicht jedes seiner Produkte automatisch zum unverzichtbaren Alltagsgegenstand wird, könnte das der Beginn eines rapiden Abstiegs werden.“
Spiegel Online resümmiert:
„Die Ankündigung mit der vermutlich nachhaltigsten Wirkung aber ist die zugleich am wenigsten spektakuläre. Der berührungslose Bezahldienst Apple Pay ist einmal mehr eine aufpolierte Kopie bereits im Markt befindlicher Angebote, man denke nur an Google Wallet. Android-Handys mit NFC-Chips gibt es längst, das Zahlen per Handy aber hat sich bislang nirgends durchgesetzt. Apple aber hat im Smartphone-Bereich in den USA bis heute einen Marktanteil von 40 Prozent – und Cooks Mannschaft hat es offenbar verstanden, sich mit vielen großen Laden- und Restaurantketten zu verbünden.
Schafft Apple es, mit seinen neuen Geräten schnell große Kundenzahlen zu erreichen – und die Geschichte legt nahe, dass das klappen könnte, – könnte mit einem Mal auch das Zahlen mit dem Handy – oder der Uhr – zur Alltagsgeste werden.
Für Ladenketten könnte die Anschaffung der entsprechenden Hardware mit einer ausreichend großen, zahlungskräftigen Klientel plötzlich doch interessant werden, und genau das sind Apples Kunden. Und stehen die Scanner erst einmal an den Ladenkassen, sind auch die NFC-Chips in allen anderen Handyfabrikaten plötzlich wieder im Spiel. Wenn das geschieht, wenn unsere digitalen Alltagsbegleiter auch zu unserem bevorzugten Zahlungsmittel werden, ist das zwar bequem – es bringt aber auch völlig neue Datenschutz– und Sicherheitsprobleme mit sich.“
„Das US-Magazin „Fortune“ würdigte Cook seinerzeit als „das Genie hinter Steve“. Als Zuständiger für das operative Geschäft sorgte er dafür, dass nach Umsetzung der kühnen Visionen schwarze Zahlen in den Büchern standen. Jetzt muss Cook mit der Computeruhr beweisen, dass sein Apple die gleiche visionäre Kraft wie zu Zeiten von Jobs hat. Dieses Image hilft dem Konzern, weltweit Millionen seiner teuren Premium-Smartphones und Tablets zu verkaufen.“
Den Stuhl neu zu erfinden, war die Aufgabe, die sich das Salzburger Startup camarg vor drei Jahren vorgenommen hat. Personen mit Aufstehschwierigkeiten waren bislang auf menschliche Hilfe angewiesen, wenn sie sich an einen Tisch setzen wollten. Zwei Designer Martin Bliem und Christian Miletzky wollten dies ändern – mit Erfolg.
Mit finanzieller Unterstützung von dem Austrian Wirtschaftsservice, der österreicheichen Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft, dem Business Creation Center Salzburg und der Fachhochschule Salzburg wurde ein ganz besonderen Stuhl namens Chelino entwickelt. Die größte Herausforderung in der dreijährigen Entwicklung lag dabei in der Berücksichtigung der körperlichen Einschränkungen, die man als junger und gesunder Mensch nicht hat und daher leicht übersieht. Darüber hinaus bedurfte es an viel Kreativität und Denkarbeit um die notwendige Sicherheit mit einem optisch schönen Design zu vereinbaren.
Es sollte ein Stuhl entstehen, der eine Lebenserleichterung integriert, aber nicht als Hilfsmittel sondern ein schönes Möbel wahrgenommen würde. Das Ergebnis kann sich zeigen lassen. Chelino hat mehrere Innovations-, Design- und Medizinproduktpreise gewonnen, darunter eine reddot Auszeichnung und eine Auszeichnung für eines der besten zehn in Österreich erteilten Patente im Jahr 2011.
Seit Anfang dieses Jahres wird dieser Stuhl nun erfolgreich an körperlich eingeschränkte Personen, Senioren und Pflegereinrichtungen verkauft. Da camarg mit Chelino weltweit neue Märkte erschließen möchte, wird in diesem Jahr das Patent auf die EU, USA, Japan und China ausgeweitet. So soll die Erfindung vor Imitaten geschützt werden.
Was macht diesen Stuhl so besonders? Chelino ist der weltweit einzige Stuhl mit integrierter Aufstehhilfe, der ohne Stromzufuhr auskommt. Die, in einer fixen nach oben verlaufenden Bahn bewegliche Sitzfläche ist mit vier, in den Sesselbeinen befindlichen Gasdruckfedern verbunden. Diese nehmen beim Setzen das Körpergewicht als Energie auf und geben diese beim Aufstehen wieder kontrolliert ab. Somit wird sowohl ein komfortableres Setzen, als auch ein erleichtertes Aufstehen ermöglicht. Die Hebefunktion wird durch zwei Knöpfe an den Armlehnen gesteuert. Sobald diese losgelassen werden, wird die Sitzfläche gesperrt und der Benutzer kann auf seiner bevorzugten Höhe bequem sitzen. Die Sitzfläche besteht aus zwei Teilen, wobei die vordere Sitzkante beim Hochfahren der Sitzfläche nach unten abknickt. So wird ein komfortables Setzen ermöglicht und auch kleinere Personen haben kein Problem sich auf die angehobene Sitzfläche zu setzen.
Des Weiteren bietet keiner der herkömmlichen Aufstehhilfen die Möglichkeit, ohne fremde Hilfe mit dem Stuhl an einen Tisch zu rücken. Der Aufstehstuhl Chelino ist mit eigens entwickelten Hinterrollen ausgestattet. Beim Aufstehen und Setzen sind diese hinteren Rollen automatisch blockiert, damit der Stuhl nicht nach hinten wegrollen kann und höchste Stabilität und Sicherheit gewährleistet wird. Erst wenn die Sitzfläche die unterste Position erreicht, werden die Bremsen automatisch gelöst. Damit der Stuhl auch bei angehobener Sitzfläche bewegt werden kann, gibt es zwei Knöpfe an der Rückenlehne, die die Bremsen bei Bedarf lösen.
Die gesamte Technik wurde innerhalb der Stuhlbeine verbaut. So wirkt Chelino wie ein gewöhnliches Möbel. Die Kombination aus Funktionalität, Design und intuitiver Bedienung sind die besonderen Merkmale von Chelino, an denen sich viele Anwender neben der wiedergewonnen Selbständigkeit beim Setzen und Aufstehen erfreuen.