Apple is known for being extremely secretive not only to the public, but internally as well.
Employees learn information on a need-to-know basis, which means you’re only given the exact amount of insight you need to do your job.
So if you’re a hardware engineer, you probably won’t have any clue as to what an engineer on the software team is working on.
But one Apple employee on Apple’s Special Projects team is so secretive it seems he doesn’t want anyone to know what he’s up to. Engineer Frank Fearon’s email signature consists of just a question mark, The Guardian wrote in their recent story about Apple’s rumored car project (emphasis is ours):
While one of the engineers corresponding with GoMentum Station admits to belonging to Apple’s Special Projects group, Fearon signs his emails with a cryptic question-mark icon.
It’s not uncommon for Apple employees to remain vague about their work. In fact, Apple puts new employees and interns through “secrecy training” when they’re hired, a former intern told Business Insider in a previous interview.
“You can’t tell anyone anything about your job,” this former intern said. “You can’t tell people outside of your family what you’re working on.”
This can make it hard to work effectively since you can’t communicate what you’re working on to people on other teams, said the former intern, who asked to only be referred to as Brad.
Here’s what Simon Woodside, a former Apple employee, wrote on Quora about the secrecy at Apple:
Having all these secrets was difficult from my perspective. I couldn’t really engage in idle banter with my colleagues for fear of slipping something out.