Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 15:09 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless I'm currently reading Jerry Kaplan's excellent book "Startup: a Silicon Valley adventure". In this book, Kaplan, founder and CEO of GO Corp., details the founding, financing and eventual demise of his highly innovative company, including the development and workings of their product. What's so surprising about this book is just how timeless it really is - the names and products may have changed, but the business practices and company attitudes surely haven't.
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What is the interesting question?
by Tony Swash on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 16:50 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

This is a strange and not very satisfying article .

It seems to fall into a endlessly repetitive body of work which seeks to show, often in forensic detail, that Apple is not innovative, and that many of things that people might think are Apple innovations are not really Apple innovations at all but stolen/borrowed/copied from other people. So what? What is proved by that? That Apple is just like other companies when they are clearly not? That there is nothing unusual about Apple when there clearly is?

Surely the most interesting question about Apple is what does it do that is different or better than the other companies and which might explain it's phenomenal longevity and recent stratospheric success? How could Apple go from being a desktop computer maker with a tiny market share to entering three entirely new markets (music players, smart phones and tablets) and utterly disrupting them with massively successful and profitable new products, and along the way take over the music retial business, become the most profitable desktop computer maker and end up the most valuable company on the planet?

To me these seem much more interesting questions and ones whose answers might reveal some interesting things about the modern state of the electronic and computing technology industries.

I taken it as given that any explanation of the success of Apple and it's products that relies heavily upon the idea that is it all down to some sort of voodoo marketing, or worse that it is all do to do with stupid consumers making the wrong decisions, is a merely a form of intellectual collapse and we can move beyond such idiocies.

So with that caveat Thom, I ask you tell us what do you think makes Apple special and why do think it has been so amazingly successful?

Reply Score: 3

redshift Member since:
2006-05-06

Apple seems to get timing right more often than any other company. Knowing what to borrow/create, how to packaged it in to a useful product, and when to release is the hat-trick that makes Apple impressive.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Apple seems to get timing right more often than any other company. Knowing what to borrow/create, how to packaged it in to a useful product, and when to release is the hat-trick that makes Apple impressive.


Execution. That's the key to Apple success. Not innovation - but execution. Apple takes existing ideas (from other companies or academia) and turns them into products people want. An absolutely amazing skill - but as a geek with a deeply scientific education, it's just not as impressive to me as the people in the trenches - like Kaplan or the thousands of academic researchers - actually coming up with these ideas.

Reply Parent Score: 9

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Apple seems to get timing right more often than any other company. Knowing what to borrow/create, how to packaged it in to a useful product, and when to release is the hat-trick that makes Apple impressive.


I would say Apple creates its own timing. When it decides the time is right, that time is inevitably the right time. It's loyal fanbase willingly let themselves get drawn into it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNSn6AtdSGM

Reply Parent Score: 1

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

It's already been answered: the reality distortion field. I personally don't find Apple products that appealing, but then I've never been particularly susceptible to advertising, whether it be TV campaigns or word-of-mouth campaigns.

eg, I've been a Cowon customer for a few years now. They're kind of top of middle range and their players are always more featured and more spacious than a similar priced iPod and they don't force you to use iTunes.

There really is nothing special about Apple, not even its ability to create myths around itself that gets its customers believing in it - exactly as the article and Kaplan discusses. More than a few people have noticed today's Apple could easily be the talking head on a screen that gets smashed by a woman hammer thrower that IBM was back in the day.

Apple is not the only company completely dominating its own market that seems exceptional. Google does it in search. Facebook does it in social media. IBM does it in mainframes. Microsoft does it in corporate desktops. They're all entrenched in their own market by their own myths. They won't be breaking into anyone else's market.

Reply Parent Score: 11

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

It's already been answered: the reality distortion field. I personally don't find Apple products that appealing, but then I've never been particularly susceptible to advertising, whether it be TV campaigns or word-of-mouth campaigns.


Fail. Intellectual collapse. Explaining a phenomena like Apple's last ten years by waffling about the reality distortion field pathetic drivel.

Reply Parent Score: 0

kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Dude. Are you serious? Do you REALLY think the largest (by market cap) and most profitable tech company on earth can be created based on some advertising?

What about all that #1 in customer satisfaction and #1 in customer service stuff? You think that's also marketing?

Apple does not even do that much advertising and very few people ever bother watching an Apple keynote so unless you think there is a huge conspiracy your argument is pretty weak.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

For the love of God, do we really need to endless debate what Apple do well and how they may or may not steal technology?

Every sodding topic with yourself ends up this way and quite frankly I'm bored to tears.

I know Thom raised the subject (and part of me wishes he hadn't) but there's no need to focus on that aspect when there's so much more to his article (and the book) than Apple alone.

Reply Parent Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Does anyone get the same impression that I do from Tony Swash's questions that he's one of those HR drones who starts one of those "employee free discussion" meetings with "First, let's all talk about why we love working at this company!!!"

Reply Parent Score: 2