Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where’s Joel?

Last year Apple hired Joel Podolny, a top b-school sociologist who taught at Stanford and Harvard before becoming dean at Yale. Supposedly he’s going to head up “Apple University,” whatever that is, but there was no public mention at the Apple public events (such as WWDC) since then.

Joel has updated his LinkedIn profile and blogged in March with his new title. Otherwise, he’s more or less disappeared from the face of the earth. So where’s Joel?

My earlier comments rejected the assumption that Apple U is an internal training program. Instead, I speculated that Apple University is some sort of consumer-scaled online education platform, such as for distance education. A quick Google search shows Google considers the term “Apple University” as pointing to an Apple web page about iTunes U, although the phrase does not appear on the page at all.

An educated guess is that Apple U is a content delivery platform that’s waiting for other infrastructure to ripen before it’s formally announced. One part of that platform could be the iTablet, which apparently the newly revitalized Steve Jobs is tinkering with to perfect it before the world is allowed to see it. (If it’s hardware tinkering, then it won’t be shipping this fall).

PodolnySo when the iTablet ships, then look for Apple U. If there’s no Apple U, I’ll pronounce it officially overdue. But if photographers can look for Steve Jobs on campus, how hard would it be to find Joel?

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