Scott Galloway, in a fascinating and informative presentation, linked at TMO earlier, asserts that it's fairly easy to grasp the basic message of Amazon, Facebook and Google. (Starting at 13m:25s.) But when it comes to Apple, the argument is that Tim Cook, the superb operator, isn't a good storyteller. Worse, he says "What is Apple's mission? They don't have one that they can articulate."
That's plainly wrong.
Scott Galloway, NYU
I find the claim that Apple doesn't have a mission to articulate hard to support. After all, a mountain of lore and words have been written about Steve Jobs and his vision for Apple. Now, I don't want to speak for Apple; Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive do that quite nicely. But I do have my own feelings, and I've never been at a loss to understand Apple's vision and mission myself.
In every keynote address Steve Jobs ever presented, he was passionate and articulate about Apple's vision. I remember Steve Jobs talking about iMovie and other products, if I recall correctly, saying "This is why we do what we do" after having demonstrated some home video of some of his executive's children on the beach.
In particular, in this video, (1h:08m) after having demonstrated iMovie in 1999, Steve Jobs points out how it's the convergence of five technologies. And Apple makes four of them. There is manifest pride by Mr. Jobs in the brilliant integration of hardware and software that creates a convergence of technology and the arts.
Making Hard things Easy. With Class
What's key here is that Apple takes modern technology, integrates and converges the hardware and software elegantly, and makes technology approachable and usable in a way that's never been done before. It all started with the Macintosh, carried through to the iPhone, and manifests itself in modern products like the iPad and the Apple Watch.
Millions of customers who found the tablets of old too hard to use (and kept losing the stylus) have been captivated by the ease of use of an iPad. In a modern iPhone, we just ask Siri to call a friend. There are layers and layers of technology behind such a procedure, but Apple hides all that so that we can accomplish hard technical things with ease.
I remember with my Motorola RAZR in 2005 how frustrating it was to move photos over to my Mac. It could be done, but it was geeky and not much fun at all. For years, decades, Apple's vision has been to take some very human things we want to do: make movies of our kids, make a phone call with a tap, organize vacation photos, make retail purchases securely (Apple Pay) and implement tremendous technical dexterity behind the scenes to bring us joy and easy use of our tools. And all with the very best quality money can buy.
Customers share that vision and have rewarded Apple richly for implementing it in every product.
I really don't know what Mr. Galloway is talking about when he says that Apple's doesn't have a vision to articulate. Every product we buy from Apple is a beautiful manifestation of the original vision of Steve Jobs, carried forward and celebrated by the current executive team. Tim Cook's goal in life is to preserve that legacy vision.
After 40+ years, Apple's vision has been plain to see for everyone. And in case it's not clear, millions of words have been written by distinguished journalists who follow Apple that further articulate what Apple is all about. It's a mystery how anyone could have missed the message that Apple punctuates in every presentation the company has ever done and manifests in every product ever shipped.
Image made with help from Shutterstock.