Ian Goodfellow, the director of machine learning at Apple (AAPL 0.30%), recently resigned from the company, citing the inflexibility of its new hybrid work policy as one of his motivations. In this Motley Fool Live segment from "The Virtual Opportunities Show," recorded on May 10, Fool.com contributors Jose Najarro, Rachel Warren, and Travis Hoium discuss how this could signal a cultural change in how employees approach remote work.
10 stocks we like better than Apple
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*
They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Apple wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.
*Stock Advisor returns as of April 27, 2022
Jose Najarro: Today I'm going to be talking about an article that mentions one of Apple's top artificial intelligence leaves the company due to working from home policy, and this is right now Apple's director of machine learning. He has left after three years of working in the company. After Apple has focused a little bit more on this hyper work style and it's something it seems like he did not want. The Verge actually obtained that email from Ian Goodfellow, is the gentleman, sent out to his team and one of the reasons that he said he left is because he wished Apple did a little bit better with the flexibility for working from home. Ian Goodfellow, like I mentioned, worked in Apple for about three years but he is a huge person in the overall artificial intelligence world. He has numerous of published university textbooks. He has also worked at Google Brain to contribute there as well. It's an interesting take right now, we've seen a lot of this shift of the great reshuffle, I think that's the right word we're using nowadays instead of the great retransfer but the great reshuffle, and usually we see the lower, I don't want to say the lower, but usually just your typical worker, not someone in the lead position jumping to a new job. I thought this was interesting.
Inside the article, they also mentioned that obviously the rising cost of fuel has also pushed for more working from home environment out from workers. They did a study in the UK and nearly half, or about 45 percent of UK workers plan to stay working at home to avoid high-cost of commuting. Again, this is more of like European-based, but the did a study that in other nations as well, with the overall rising costs of fuel, a lot more people are still looking to maintain that flexibility to avoid some of the high rising costs we're seeing with normal living at the moment.
Rachel Warren: I thought this was interesting. Maybe this has happened before. We had a very prominent individual from a big tech company that's left and just went under the radar. But I do think it's interesting because we had talked about on the show how Apple's been one of the companies leading the way in tech. That had said, we want our employees back in the office a certain number of days a week. I think about hybrid policy was the three-day a week policy. One of the things that stuck out to me as well from this article on the, you mentioned Jose was there's this worker collective of employees at Apple called Apple Together that has had a really strong stance on how Apple has approached the new age of work. Essentially saying it's not been flexible enough. They have released a statement that it said you've characterized the decision for the hybrid working pilot is being about combining the need to commute in person and the value of flexible work. But it doesn't recognize flexible work and is only driven by fear. That's what their view of what Apple's approach has been. You wonder if this is perhaps the beginning and will give some credence or courage to other workers in the company that may not agree and think that there should be a more flexible policy involved. I found it very interesting. I was quite surprised to see something like this happen, especially from such a prominent role at Apple.
Travis Hoium: This is one of those stories I would love to hear the full story, like the real story. I feel like there's a lot going on that doesn't get packed in an article like this. It's really easy to say like, oh, they wanted more flexible work schedule and so that's the headline you go with and that's what you focus on. But maybe just he didn't really want to work there anymore and was looking for an excuse to leave. [laughs] That stuff is very possible and I think it's interesting right now. From what I can gather, Silicon Valley is probably facing more of this flexible work challenge than most of the country. I think my wife works at a big company here in the Minneapolis area and it's driving her crazy that she can't go into the office as much as she would like. We talked about that with younger workers wanting to have that social interaction and stuff like that a few weeks ago.
Demitri Kalogeropoulos: You must be driving her crazy Travis.
Travis Hoium: [laughs] I am for sure. But it seems like Silicon Valley, there's just much more of this cultural dynamic going on. It's like attention between lots of undefined forces. It's hard to completely wrap your head around and say like, this is the solution. If you're Apple we've talked about this in the past, they're making hardware. You can't make hardware and never physically go into the office, like that's going to be impossible. You look at their policies and I believe right now it's two days that they want people to come in. Three is I think on the horizon in the next few weeks or months. I don't know. Is that unreasonable for a company like Apple? I don't know what the details are there though. I just have a really hard time buying the idea that this executive, I really wanted to be at Apple, but I wanted to be at home more hours of the day. It's just like this weird balance and it makes for a very good headline, but I don't know. It just seems like there's going to be this dynamic shift. Some people are going to leave because they want more flexibility and to work from home. Some people are going to come because they want to be in an office and Apple is a sweet place to work. It's going to balance out at the end of the day.