How Apple Builds Product with Daniel Gross

I interviewed Daniel Gross to talk about how Apple builds product. Daniel sold his last startup to Apple. He then was a partner at Y Combinator before founding his own accelerator, Pioneer.

Watch the interview here, with summary topics below.

  • Apple has no product managers! The "Directly Responsible Individual" is on point to deliver, and it doesn't predict your position in the org chart.

  • What happens when your project gets defunded? People get worried, like they're getting kicked out of the tribe. Actually they should have been worried about working on something that didn't matter.

  • Key to an organization is sustainable coupling points. "How could I set up my team so that they could ship in a year all without VPN access?"

  • In the Harvard Business Review in 200 years, what are the things that they'll say? It's illegal to have an organization larger than a certain size like Dunbar's number?"

  • "Hey Siri, terraform mars" - what would it take to make that work?

  • We made a team like the SEC who collected metrics and called bullshit about any team at Apple.

  • I see growth teams looking to take their product roadmap, break out factors like impact, cost, risk, and want to add it up to a single score and just do that. But there is more judgment required.

  • How important is a leader required to explain the rationalization behind a decision? It's costly and sometimes impossible.

  • How does a leader justify a no-hire decision based on a gut read that the person just doesn't fit the org?

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