7 thoughts on “The Lesson of Apple

  1. well thats sound cool, providing the product even before people can define it. That sounds sexy but its very risky. You are providing a product for which no real market exists. If it works you are hero, but if it doesn’t you are doomed.
    Those companies which failed trying to do that, we don’t even know their names.

  2. Guy Kawasaki wrote technology columns years ago in which he was a cheerleader for Apple. I’m glad that here are some things that never change.

    Let’s look at some facts. Steve Jobs did not envision the Mac as the new direction after the Apple II. He created the Apple III as the new technology that people didn’t know they wanted. They didn’t want it and it was a financial disaster for Apple and it didn’t do the few customers any good either when Apple abandoned the idea. Fortunately, there was still a market for the Apple II and the cash cow carried Apple. Then Jobs was inspired. He created the Apple Lisa as the new technology that people didn’t know they wanted. They didn’t want it and it was a financial disaster for Apple and it didn’t do the few customers any good either when Apple abandoned that idea. Fortunately, there was still a market for the Apple II and the cash cow carried the company.

    Then Jobs was inspired. He created the Apple Lisa as the new technology that people didn’t know they wanted. After dropping the Apple originated operation system for one derived from Unix and dropping the unique chip for the industry standard Intel, Mac is now up to 9% of the market (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems). The people who Kawasaki was making fun of for predicting that the market wanted more powerful Microsoft based machines were right. These have 87% of the market, leaving about 4% for Linux and others. Apple marketing packages Mac with a suite of applications which some people find useful and they have a strong niche. (Disclosure: I have no grudges. I actually have MS, Linux and Mac computers. They are each best for different things. I have also made money trading AAPL and MSFT stock at various times.)

  3. Oops. I hope it was obvious that I meant “Macintosh” and not “Lisa” on the first line of the last paragraph of my previous post. Sorry for the confusion.

  4. @Chuck

    No company is perfect in all of the ideas they attempt to implement. I agree with Guy’s point, in general, that revolutionary ideas come not from what people already know, but from creating something ‘new,’ per se, that eventually comes to be accepted. I don’t think it’s fair to hold Steve Jobs to a 100%-new-idea-success-rate as a standard for whether his products/ideas meet the definition of being revolutionary or inspiring.

    It’s like the story of the two shoe salesmen who went to Australia to try to sell shoes to the Aborigines. One of them says, “We can’t do business here, nobody wears shoes.” The other says, “We can do tremendous business here, look, nobody wears shoes!” One is going with the status quo and the other is seeing the opportuntity and creating/implementing the vision.

    As as sidenote, I think Bill Gates is a visionary as well.

  5. “As as sidenote, I think Bill Gates is a visionary as well.”

    Yes Gates was a visionary at preventing innovation in the tech industry. He was a visionary at taking a barely-working desktop operating system and talking foolish managers into thinking it was data-center quality. He was a visionary in being the last one to enter whatever the new market was. And he was a visionary in STILL not having a decent commandline shell, and STILL not properly isolating system processes from user processes. Yipee!

  6. @Rob

    I am not holding Jobs to a 100% success rate. I am objecting to Kawasaki presenting Jobs as having a 100% success rate.

    I suspect that Jobs is not that unusual in his innovative ideas. He is just lucky enough to have enough money behind him so that the ideas that don’t work don’t sink him. Remember that the original Apple that generated all the cash was Wosniak’s idea, not his.

  7. Actually Chuck that is not exactly true. Woz designed a schematic for a computer and he was giving it away for free. Building a fully assembled computer, making it easy to use, and selling it to the public was in fact Jobs idea. Jobs idea is what brought in the cash, not Woz’s.

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