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Hewlett and Packard Were My Idols, Says Steve Jobs

Cupertino's Steve Jobs makes a surprise visit to the Cupertino City Council and talks about plans for the new Apple headquarters.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Cupertino's  Inc. and a hometown boy himself, made a surprise visit to the meeting Tuesday where he unveiled a preliminary sketch of what the new Apple headquarters, on the current Hewlett-Packard site, will look like in 2015.

"This is the biggest plus-shot in the arm that the city really needs," says Cupertino Mayor .

"They're willing to go rocket speed, and make a building Cupertino can be proud of," Wong said.

Jobs gave a brief presentation that showed how the company envisions the 150-plus-acre state-of-the-art campus when it's completed on what Jobs may call hallowed ground—the Cupertino Hewlett-Packard campus of the company built by men Jobs calls his "idols," Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.

Wong said Apple paid "premium price" for the land, because "the employees like it here and want to stay here."

Because Cupertino has top-notch public education, diversity and a central location makes it easy for families or single employees to live in Cupertino and makes the city attractive to prospective employees, Wong said.

Below is a partially transcribed version of what Jobs said to the City Council Tuesday night. The accompanying video link to the City's YouTube version shows Jobs’ time in front of the City Council in its entirety:

"This land is kind of special to me," Jobs says.

"When I was 13, I think, I called up—Hewlett and Packard were my idols—and I called up Bill Hewlett because he lived in Palo Alto, and there were no unlisted phone numbers in the phone book, which gives you a clue to my age.

"And he picked up the phone, and I talked to him and I asked him if he’d give me some spare parts for something I was building called a frequency counter, and he did. But in addition to that, he gave me something way more important, he gave me a job that summer ... at Hewlett-Packard right here in Santa Clara off (Interstate)280, (the) division that built frequency counters, and I was heaven.

"Well, right around that exact moment in time, Hewlett and Packard themselves were walking on some property over here in Cupertino on Pruneridge, and they ended up buying it and they built their computer systems division there. And as Hewlett-Packard has been shrinking lately, they decided to sell that property, and we bought it. We bought that and we bought some adjacent property. It all used to be apricot trees, apricot orchards, and we’ve got about 150 acres.

"And we would like to put a new campus on that so that we can stay in Cupertino. … we’ve hired some great architects to work with, some of the best in the world, I think. We’ve come up with a design that puts 12,000 people in one building.

"Think about that, that’s rather odd—12,000 people in one building … we’ve seen these office parks with lots of building, and they get pretty boring pretty fast, so we’d like to do better than that. So, I’d like to take you through what we’d like to do ... it’s a little like a spaceship landed … it’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle, but a lot more.

"It’s a circle and so it’s curved all the way around. As you know, if you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There’s not a straight piece of glass on this building … we’ve used our experience in making retail buildings all over the world now. We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use, and we want to make the glass specifically for this particular building here … it’s pretty cool.

"Again, today [showing schematic of current property], about 20 percent of the space is landscaping. Most of it is a big asphalt parking lot, several big asphalt parking lots … We want to completely change this; we want to make about 80 percent of it landscape. And the way we’re going to do this is we're going to put most of the parking underground.

"… Today there are 3,700 trees on the property; we’d like to almost double that. We’ve hired one of the senior arborists from Stanford, actually, who’s very good with indigenous trees, so we’d like to plant a lot of trees, including apricot orchards.

"An energy center: We deal with people sitting at computers all day writing software, and if the power goes out on the grid, we get to send everybody home, so we have to have back up power to power the place in the event of brown-outs and stuff.

"And I think what we’re going to end up doing is making the energy center our primary source of power, because we can generate power with natural gas and other ways that can be cleaner and cheaper and use the grid as our back up, and we think that makes more sense … a fitness center and some R&D facilities … this is roughly the kind of thing that we’re thinking about."

Anne Ernst (Editor) June 08, 2011 at 04:14 PM
Steve Jobs was here.
Susan June 08, 2011 at 06:17 PM
What an incredible gift because Apple could build it a heck of a lot cheaper someplace else. My favorite part is the apricot orchard (will Steve cut 'cots in the summer?), and that he's sparing no expense to unpave paradise. It's like he hasn't forgotten how beautiful it once was here, and he's setting out to right a wrong. Fantastic news!

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