What in the world is Apple doing?

A kid, little—maybe 9 years old, told me the other day that his friend had his own cell phone.  “What kind?” I asked.  “The best one in the whole wide world,” he replied, “iPhone 7.”

In our lifetime(s) I am not sure any other company has had consumers on the edge of their seats for the next version of the next thing for as long, producing as much of a financial windfall, as Apple has.  Consumers gladly hand over their paychecks, but how much do we actually know about Apple?

apple campus Most of the research, development, and marketing genius goes down on Apple campus in Cupertino California.  The new Apple ring looks more like a mega-church, airport, or UFO than a company headquarters–



jobs and wozniak–and is a far cry from the garage that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs tinkered in during the 1970’s.


Though Apple was founded in 1976 we all know that the fairy tale took off when Steve Jobs returned to the company he long ago founded, then soon after settled into CEO role. With products from the iMac to the iPad that the two-year-old to ninety-two-year-old now cannot live without—Steve Jobs managed to make sure that the world was fully equipped to continue its ride through the Information Age before he passed away in 2011.

For being revolutionary, it may be humbling, or more like disappointing to watch Apple use the failing bottom-line business model.  Since Jobs return in the late 1990s, Apple has moved manufacturing out of the US, skyrocketing profits, while letting smartphone-bearing netizens report on Foxconn and other Apple contract manufacturing companies on going human rights violations.

Since 2007 Apple has released their Supplier Responsibility Reports, but instead of these being a beacon of true transparency they come across as pretty portraits created by, Apple’s advertising staff?  Just a guess, because you have to dig SO DEEP to find what Apple is not doing well and deeper for any indication that Apple is really working on improvement. When searching for videos or articles on poor working conditions in Apple factories, not much comes up more recently than 2014.  It is hard to say if this is a result of improvement or more corporate secrecy.

It is understandable that Apple needs to protect its trade secrets, but at what cost?  Descriptions of Apple employees are strikingly similar to CIA operatives portrayed in movies who can’t say a word about their secret life to friends or family.  Apple, what exactly do you have new recruits sign when they are hired?  What was that? Ask Legal or the Business Conduct Helpline? I would be so happy for any friend landing a job at Apple, what an opportunity!  After “congrats” though, I might not be able to bite my tongue before throwing in, “don’t drink the Kool-Aid!” -Nicole Mateo; Rachel Morreale; and Susanna Jones


Roberts, Matthew. “Apple Park April 2017 Drone Tour 4K.” YouTube 30 Mar. 2017


Rawlinson, Nik. “History of Apple 1976-2016.” Macworld 1 Apr. 2016


BBC News. “Apple Accused of Failing to Protect Workers.” YouTube.  18 Dec. 2014


2017 Progress Report.” Apple. 2017


Human Robotics – Technology. “Inside Chinese Factories The Truth About Working Conditions

at Foxconn, Apple, HP Factories.” YouTube. 8 Feb. 2017 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb0rU8Nq2GI>.

Alltime 10s. “10 Shocking Secrets About Apple.” YouTube. 5 Mar. 2017


Lee, Adriana. “Apple Handbook Shushes Employees From Talking About the Company.”

Technobuffalo. 2 Dec. 2011 <https://www.technobuffalo.com/2011/12/02/apple-handbook-shushes-employees-from-talking-about-the-company/>.


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Patagonia Takes the Gold in Transparency

Have you ever heard of Patagonia? You probably have; in fact, you might even own a Patagonia jacket. This company, which makes outdoor clothing and gear, was founded by Yvon Chouinardin 1973. Transparency has become a growing trend amongst private businesses and nonprofits, but Patagonia has become a leader in transparency due to its effort to make its openness line up with its company values.

The company became a leader amongst other organizations by always looking for new ways to give us, their clients, what we want. They’re open about the good, the bad, and the ugly of their company. Yes, that’s right; the ugly referring to some things they know their clients might not agree with. Patagonia for example not only tells us that it uses organic cotton to make its t-shirts, it also informs us which factories in third-world countries manufacture Patagonia’s clothing.


You can see Patagonia’s transparency for yourself by going to the company’s website and perusing through The Footprint Chronicles. In order to accommodate the needs and wants of the public, Patagonia introduced The Footprint Chronicles, an interactive map on Patagonia’s website, in 2007 as a way to give its customers an inside look into what materials go into making each product. If you want to know where your Patagonia came from, take a look at the tag on the garment you are wearing. Using Patagonia’s website, you can trace it back to see exactly which textile mill was used to make it. Awesome, we know. Patagonia also practices transparency by listing all of a product’s information right on the item’s web page. This makes the shopping experience an easier and more knowledgeable process, and it demonstrates the company’s dedication to taking care of the environment.

Patagonia does not hold anything back, because it embraces change and always seeks to manufacture more environmentally-friendly products. The Footprint Chronicles allows the consumer to be informed about which farms Patagonia sources its materials from, which textiles were used in the making of each garment, and which technologies and materials were put into each garment. The Footprint Chronicles also describes the labor conditions of workers at Patagonia’s factories. You can find information such as languages spoken, gender percentages of the factory, and images of the location by clicking on one of the map’s multi-colored arrows.

Patagonia’s efforts towards transparency demonstrates that honesty is indeed the best policy for a business in the 21st century.

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Uber Transparent?

Your Uber is arriving now. Your phone notifies you, which means it’s time to get into your personally-driven premium car.

When Uber started up, this cunnamedoncept enticed the consumer market, but flash forward to today, and ask yourself, “What do I think of Uber now?”

What started out as a simple ride-sharing application, has transformed into an entirely new way of looking at transportation. As Uber grew, so did the company’s ego and ignorance of their niche market.

With more than 6,700 employees throughout the nation, the company just recently released their first ever transparency  and diversity reports.

The first thing to noteuber_animated-gif is Uber’s transparency report, where you will find little to no information that is useful for you as a consumer. It’s not what the report says that should shock you, but it’s what it doesn’t mention that should speak volumes to consumers.

Over the past three months, Uber has gotten into a lot of hot water. Uber’s lack of honesty with you, and the rest of its consumers has gotten the company in trouble in many ways; such as: covering up stories of sexual harassment, drivers using cars that don’t belong to them, and much more. Their transparency report lacks any honest information other than explaining the requirements there are for a technological company such as theirs.

Direct your attention to Uber’s diversity report, and perhaps you’ll have more luck finding some sort of information on what Uber really is about as a companuber-serp-logo-f6e7549c89 (1)y. This report ignited a wildfire of buzz throughout news outlets due to the company’s lack of minority employees. Yes, this diversity report is not up to the standards of some other technological companies, such as Google, but the CEO has already made a statement explaining his urgency to hire more minorities. Yet, even after his statement, is this enough for you? Do you see Uber as an uber-transparent company?

With the information from the transparency report as well as Uber’s diversity report, one thing is clear: Uber is as transparent as a murky pond. Uber needs to clean up its act before it’s too late, because there are many more fish in this big pond. If they don’t act fast they’re going to drown.

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…. more than just coffee! 

Starbucks´ transparency should be a model for other companies to follow.  With business booming, as well as donations to philanthropic causes, the coffee company knows how to turn a profit, while respecting the Earth and all of its inhabitants.

Founded in Seattle, Washington in 1971, Starbucks is one of the world’s leading coffee brands. Under current CEO, Howard Schultz, the coffee conglomerate has been very transparent in most aspects of their business, from hiring decisions, to gaining customer input on products.


What is their mission statement?

“To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

 Starbucks has worked hard to create an open and accepting environment in their stores, welcoming customers of every race, religion, and nationality.


Their values include:

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.


To date, Starbucks has 25,085 stores internationally.  Starbucks has pledged over the next 5 years to hire 10,000 US military veterans (8,800 of 10,000 already hired), as well as 10,000 refugees in various countries. The company has also pledged to reduce their eco footprint, by redesigning their cups to be more recyclable and reusable, to creating LEED eco-friendlier stores.  Starbucks details their plans for LEED stores, with the use of energy efficient LED light fixtures, recycled coffee grounds in the table tops, low emitting adhesives paints, and flooring, as well as trying to locally source the materials.


As you see, Starbucks is a company loyal to their values, loyal to their mission, loyal to the environment, and loyal to the customer!

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IKEA Transparency


In 1943, Ingvar Kamprad founded a mail-to-order furniture store called IKEA. IKEA has since grown to the largest retailer of furniture in the world and has over 389 stores all over the world. IKEA has used its platform to raise money for multiple charities as well as strive to make the planet a cleaner place. IKEA also cares deeply about its employees and does everything to make sure that they live a good life.

In its pursuit of sustainability and transparency, it recently ran into a defining moment. IKEA had been getting wood for one of its sets from a forest in China for cheap rates. It then came to their attention that the wood they were receiving was being illegally logged. It then ran a huge internal investigation, stopped using that supplier, and changed the wood of one of their entire bathroom sets.

Their preventative measures are employing sustainability managers, posting public sustainability reports, and also working together with the WWF to ensure these standards are being met.

Finally, I think that IKEA has really led the way in the way a corporation should be run. They were public about their problems and have made a huge difference by becoming an example to be followed. They handled the illegal logging incident perfectly and have not had a slip up since. I think that IKEA is a company that genuinely cares about the quality of its products and the impact it has on the earth, people around the world, its clients and its employees.

A Police car is parked outside IKEA store in the city of Vaesteraas, about 100 km west of Stockholm on August 10, 2015. Two people were stabbed to death at the Ikea store in Vasteras and a third person was wounded, police said. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND        (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

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Have you ever heard of LunaPads? If you haven’t you should know that this brand is very transparent. They believe in being open with their main public. LunaPads began in the city of Vancouver in Canada by Madeleine Shaw and Suzanne Siemens. Their goal at LunaPads is to help you have more positive and informed experiences of your menstrual cycles, and by extension, and for your body overall.

As a Brand their social mission is:

  • Pad donations
  • Mentoring women entrepreneurs in our community

They have values they believe in as a company and they stick to theme, and that is why as a brand they have been able to succeed in their business because of telling the truth.


With LunaPads it is also about them helping others that are not just in this business to make profit, but they want to make the world a better place for everyone.

They are under memberships that show what type of criteria that they have as a business. They are part of the B-corporation, which shows how ethical a company is. Also, Lunapads has a membership for the No secrets – We list all ingredients and with this membership they use the effectiveness of the economy to create a world that has less toxins.

Along with being a part of ClimateSmart and with this membership they were able to reduce the people that create their products to a small amount and know what they do and what kind of products are being used.


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Zappos Transparency

The concept of transparency in an organization has grown tremendously as a marketing approach. Of course, every organization has their reason for being transparent or not being transparent. However, we researched Zappos and this is the backstory we would like to share with you.images-3

The founder of Zappos is Nick Swinmurn and he established the company in San Francisco, California. He came up with the idea as he was looking for new shoes in the mall. He went home empty-handed because all the shoes were either the right color and wrong size or the wrong size and right color. He started to do some online research and came to the consensus that there were very minimal opportunities to purchase shoes online. In 1999 Swinmurn quit his day job to start an online retailer called Zappos.

Zappos was different from other companies because their idea was to create a website that offered the best and most options in terms of brands, styles, colors, sizes, and widths. He created the foundation that he wanted to provide the best service online for not just shoes but every category. Zappos is a Holocracy as opposed to a  Hierarchy. In a Holocracy, there are not any managerial positions, so all employees are treated equally. 

In addition, Zappos focuses on these 10 main values with an emphasis on brand, business and culture:

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

images-2Zappos values customer service because being a transparent company is very important to them. Furthermore, they define the majority of their brand as customer service and want to be well-known for a pleasant retail experience. As a way to provide great service, they have a 24/7 customer call service and live chat device.

Between Zappos pristine customer service, employee benefits, and core value focus, the organization remains very transparent.

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SeaWorld Transparency

Have you seen that documentary that talks about why all those whales in captivity shouldn’t be there? If you did, I bet it made you a little mad at SeaWorld. We were sitting on our couch thinking “who do these assholes think they are keeping these animals in cement tanks for the rest of their lives?” Blackfish exposed SeaWorld on so many levels and everyone started to see what was really behind the show pool.


In the past SeaWorld had covered up multiple incidents regarding aggression towards trainers by the killer whales. The documentary talks about the death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, and spills the beans on the full backstory of the whale that brutally killed her in front of horrified guests.


SeaWorld needed to start becoming more transparent, now more than ever. Considering this documentary put them on blast, SeaWorld’s stock has ever since declined, less people are visiting parks and more people are protesting. They did just that.

SeaWorld has since taken steps to be transparent but we don’t feel that it’s good enough. They recently announced that they will stop the breeding of orcas but if you go on their websites you can buy a ticket to a show where they have the whales perform tricks.


They’ve also launched “SeaWorld Cares,” a website that offers blogs and profiles on each of their whales. “Animal Vision” is a new thing also that is live underwater webcams of the shark, turtle, penguin and stingray exhibits that they have.

If you have saw the movie Blackfish then you might see through SeaWorld’s transparency efforts. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should watch it on Netflix and see what you think.



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Transparency: The Domino’s Turnaround


It’s amazing how a short two-minute video can suddenly change the view and face of a world known brand in such a short period of time after being posted on the Internet. Large corporations and organizations nowadays must find a way to deal with any mishap or issue that could be spread quickly that could damage their brand image.

Enter Dominos as a perfect example of this great threat to companies. Two employees from one of their stores in Conover, N.C. in 2009, created a disturbing video that destroyed many customers faith in Dominos. This created the biggest public relations disaster in the company and made them take immediate action to change the view of the company as a whole.

“We got blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea,” said a Domino’s spokesman, Tim McIntyre.

Domino’s response to this video was slow and didn’t seem transparent enough. The customer’s perception of the quality in the company went from positive to negative in a very short time period.

A year later, Dominos felt the need for an even larger change and difference, and they decided to start from scratch. The 2010 Pizza Turn Around was the first and most important step and changing the face of Dominos and gaining the customers trust once again. They named this campaign the “Our Pizza Sucks” Campaign, in which executives and head chefs listened to their hardest critics and researched what people actually thought about the company and their pizza. They created a new crust, new sauce everything new! They then shared the pizza with some of the hardest critics. It doesn’t get more transparent than that!

Because of Dominos changes and re-evaluation of their company, they are now seated at #2 of the largest pizza franchise chain. They are also awarded and recognized for their company culture and transparency.

Domino’s noticed people’s approval through the combination of social media and a huge boost in sales. The greatest factor in this big change was that they listened to customers, accepted their flaws in a transparent way, and took on a huge challenge only to become better.

What are your thoughts on Domino’s Transparency and what do you expect from them in the future?

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Snapchat Woes

SnapchatTM is a popular mobile app that allows you to send videos and pictures that launched in 2011.  Sure, messaging pictures and videos has been available with SMS texting, but, the allure of SnapchatTM is its “self-destruct” feature. Allowing senders to share whatever they would like with the illusion of it disappearing after the allotted time.

The Controversy

SnapchatTM is under fire for some flaws in its design.

Sure, users can set a self-destruct timer and the application typically alerts the sender when their pictures have been screen saved manually,


there have been apps generated solely to screen save your snaps without your knowledge or consent.  This has caused a wide range of legal issues mostly including child pornography and conspiracy to blackmail.

What’s more, the application’s Terms and Conditions hide some rather shady activities. We’ve provided a brief list of rights reserved by SnapchatTM which you may have neglected to read over.

Some of the one’s we found most concerning were:


  1. Use of your location
  2. Access to device’s photos
  3. Access to device’s contacts
  4. Interactions with other users

How does SnapchatTM use this information? This is what they’re telling us:

  • Develop, operate, and improve our products and services.
  • Communicate with you.
  • Personalize the services by suggesting friends or profile information,
  • Contextualize your experience by using your precise location data
  • Verify your identity and prevent fraud or other unauthorized or illegal activity.
  • Enforce Terms of Service and other usage policies.

SnapchatTM warns all of its users to “Snap with caution” and apply the same rules to the app as you would the regular internet.

Best not send anything you wouldn’t want grandma to see.

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