- Since we live in this world, we have to do our best for this world. Aung San Suu Kyi
It’s Friday morning at the Cupertino Crossroads Shopping Center. This intersection—De Anza Boulevard and Stevens Creek Road—has been at the center of Cupertino’s history ever since Juan Bautista de Anza passed through what would become the city in 1776. It was on a knoll not more than five miles east of here that he and his crew became the first Europeans to see the Bay on an overland expedition from the south.
Tiny little Stevens Creek, then known as Arroyo San José de Cupertino, meanders north through Silicon Valley, eventually emptying into the Bay through some marshes near Google’s campus in Mountain View.
Come east, though, from that historic hill, crossing over 85 and past De Anza College, a pretty two-year institution tucked next to the highway, and you reach the crossroads.
This is the heart of Cupertino’s agrarian mythology. It’s where the blacksmith was, when people’s most important tools were made of steel, not brushed aluminum. The general store was here, too. If you were here in 1939, a hand-painted sign would have told you San Jose was eight miles east, Sunnyvale three miles north, and Saratoga four west.
While 1 Infinite Loop is Apple’s headquarters, the truth is that the company has been, as Steve Jobs put it to the Cupertino City Council in 2011, “growing like a weed.” Apple’s current headquarters hold fewer than 3,000 people, but the company has more than 16,000 employees to house. “So, we’re renting buildings—not very good buildings either—in an ever greater radius from our campus,” Jobs explained.
Much of the commercial real estate near 1 Infinite Loop is now Apple controlled, but not all of it. Apple’s buildings sit next-door to music schools and nail salons and markets.
In fact, it has long been this way. The original Mac project team was housed in various buildings along Stevens Creek and a small road called Bandley Drive. So, I head up Bandley, aware that the dominant type of interface in computing was born right on this street.
There’s a Noodles & Company on the corner surrounded by nine tall palm trees. The road curves gently past a Cantonese dim sum place, Lei Garden, on the left, and the loading docks of a big Asian grocery store, Marina Food, on the right. On this rare cold, gray morning, only older Chinese people are walking the sidewalks.