Benjamin Disraeli said that the secret to success is constancy of purpose. That sounds easy at first until one is cast in a business environment where technology changes fast, there are serious conflicts between VPs and troublesome questions are raised by investors and the press.
"Here's to the cracy ones..." (Author's archive)
Often, constancy of purpose can come across as arrogance. It's all too easy to confuse the constant dedication to a sound principle by someone with the arrogance of believing that an opinion is more valid than the opinions of others. It's a shame that confusion like that occurs.
A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. -- Henry Ford
Apple is very good at constancy of purpose. The corporate culture dwells deep in the psyche of every Apple employee, and the marketing communications department makes sure that Apple's philosophy and spirt of making only the best are maintained with constancy. In turn, the industrial design of products, as we know it from Jony Ive, instantiates the corporate mantra of simplicity, taste, elegance and class. Again, with constancy.
As a result, Apple has been richly rewarded by enthusiastic customers.
When companies depart from laudable principles, they can get into trouble. When everything revolves around simply making money and the decision of the moment caters to nothing else, there will be trouble. This is why we admire Tim Cook when he gets angry defending a principle. In previous times, Steve Ballmer merely shouted.
For the rudderless, the world seems cruel and buffeting. And when a company, like Microsoft, tries to cash in on loyalty that it thought it had, it finds that thanks to its own vagaries of principles, driven only by expediency, it just isn't there. For example, "Microsoft misjudges customer loyalty with kill-XP plea."
With that theme on my mind, I've been reading more and more by Ken Segall ever since I discovered him in Leander Kahney's book about Jony Ive. "Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products." This week, Mr. Segall writes about: "Microsoft vs. Apple: the strategy gap." This article, while a bit lengthy, goes a long way towards explaining why we love Apple and why Microsoft does really wacky things that just make us sigh.
The juxtaposition of Microsoft's silly Windows XP misadventure and Apple's overall strategy explained by Mr. Segall are the clearest and most contrasting evidence yet of why Apple is on the rise and Microsoft is on the wane in mobility.
There's much, much more on this theme in the Tech News Debris that follows on page 2.