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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Tony Swash
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I suppose this is where we differ. I used to be Marxist about a million years ago and my favourite quote of his, the one which is on his grave stone which is in a cemetery only about a kilometre from where I live, is this: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it"

Accepting for the sake of argument that what you say is true (and leaving aside inconvenient facts like that Apple created much of the grammar that makes up the modern desktop OS) where we differ is that I think that innovation in execution is far more important, far, than innovation in unexecuted ideas. People can sit around in rooms having great ideas that never change anything or see the light of day, but it means nothing unless they get up up, go out and make it happen in the real world. If the idea is 10% then making it happen is the 90%, and it's that bit that is interesting and world changing.

Here are some thoughts about what makes Apple special and what underpins their success:

Taking total responsibility for the complete end user experience: from the silicon to the retail. Few companies do that and the whole Windows/Android model militates against that approach. But end users love it.

Setting the bar high. Nothing is released until it's ready, but it doesn't have to be perfect. No beta releases (Siri being a very rare exception). Version one needs to be as good as it can be and must be solid when it comes to core functionality, and then roll continuos iterative improvements.

Understanding that design is not about wrapping or enclosure but about making objects that connect to and empower people and with which people can form emotional as well as practical relationships.

Keeping it simple. Simple interactions, accessible design and functionally, and crucially a simple product line. The latter is hugely important, it makes the consumer's job easy when it comes to understanding the relationship of one product to another and it has a vast impact on Apple's supply chain.

Don't be afraid. For example not being afraid to cannibalise it's own product line. Making a phones that would compete agains the iPod, making a tablet that would compete against it's own laptops, not being afraid is very important.

Being focussed on products and not the bottom line. Think like an engineer, feel like an artist. A company can’t produce beautiful products if the bean counters win every argument. One of the telling things that several commentators have talked about recently is that when it comes to product design there is almost no discussion of component or production costs during the product design phase at Apple.

This two part article is quite good

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