Apple AI's loss is Google DeepMind's gain

From Mark Gurman's "Apple Executive Who Left Over Return-to-Office Policy Joins Google AI Unit" posted Tuesday evening on the Bloomberg:

An Apple Inc. executive who left over the company’s stringent return-to-office policy is joining Alphabet Inc.’s DeepMind unit, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Ian Goodfellow, who oversaw machine learning and artificial intelligence at Apple, left the iPhone maker in recent weeks, citing the lack of flexibility in its work policies. The company had been planning to require corporate employees to work from the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting this month. That deadline was put on hold Tuesday, though.

Goodfellow’s jump to Google is a coup for the DeepMind division, which is bringing him on as an individual contributor, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the hiring isn’t yet public. Goodfellow is known as one of the foremost machine learning researchers, and the move is a reunion of sorts. He worked as a senior researcher at Google until 2019.

My take: Apple's return-to-work policy stems from Steve Jobs' theory about the value of casual encounters with colleagues from different disciplines. Goodfellow is its highest-profile casualty.

See also:


  1. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Perhaps he never left the payroll and what a better way to get inside information with no downside?

    May 18, 2022
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    There is a reason for the existence of the $5,000,000,000 Apple campus with glass walls. It fulfills the culture within Apple that Steve Jobs envisioned being retained through employee collaboration.

    One of the primary concerns my organization encountered in transitioning to remote work was the difficulty of retaining the continuity-of-integrity of the culture continuing to remain solid and intact so as to permeate all levels within the organization.

    Steve believed deeply, that a large part of Apple’s culture evolved around collaboration and that collaboration meant being face-to-face. Tripp Mickle in his book “After Steve,” mentions how one who saw an empty chair in Steve Jobs office knew where he most likely would be elsewhere in the complex: down in the ID office sharing new ideas with Jony Ive.

    I can see it today. Steve rushes over to the ID studio.

    Steve: Where’s Jony?

    Response: Oh, today is Jony’s remote work day. He should be at his house. Well, he could be down at his cabin. Then again he could be at the beach. The point is Steve, Jony ain’t here. Why don’t you call him and arrange for a virtual meeting?

    May 18, 2022
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      Jerry D. —

      Excellent. Bravo. Spot on.

      The exact same intention was designed into the Jobs-influenced Pixar Studios front-lobby • cafeteria • lounge • restrooms • cereal bar & snack center • movie theatre • mailroom • et al — all in one huge space. A buzzin’ beehive, if you will.

      Imagine all that potential energy and fellowship blown apart into scattered lone locations.

      The comparative results are apparent.

      May 18, 2022
  3. Dan Scropos said:
    How does he not have a non-compete?

    May 18, 2022
  4. Rodney Avilla said:
    A couple thoughts just to add some clarity.
    1. In the original blog regarding Goodfellow leaving Apple, Goodfellow stated that the return to work policy was not the main reason for leaving, but it was an issue (although I may have read that somewhere else)
    2. Goodfellow is not returning to Google as an employee, but as an individual contributor (independent contractor)
    I believe he is just shopping for his best financial advantage.

    May 18, 2022

Leave a Reply