I’m not sure that Apple has anything as stupid as one of those Mission Statements cobbled together by marketing and PR Suits who believe hollow, pretty words = reality.
What I do think is that if we were able to overhear conversations at Apple, we’d be able to tease out the things that make that company do what it does. But we don’t need such eavesdropping power, however, because we can also derive Apple’s principles from its actions.
1) We can charge more because we offer more. It would drive the Microsoft fanboys crazy, this. They’d trot out article after article denigrating Macintosh configurations vs. PCs. You don’t see much of those anymore. Why? The iPhone killed that line of propaganda. Here were people lining up to pay six hundred dollars for a cellphone:
Why were they doing that? Because the iPhone offered more than anything else in cellphone history. And it still does.
2) Nothing else out there is good enough. I don’t have to cite the iPhone for this. This goes back to the original Apple-out-of-a-garage days, with Wozniak and Jobs cobbling together the original Apple I computer. This is the company’s bedrock DNA. When they became a company, the Apple II looked like nothing else out there. It was sleek and friendly-looking.
People who bought it felt as if they were bringing home an artifact from the future they’d seen in movies and TV.
3) Simple equals effective. I don’t know that this needs much explanation. Apple popularized and streamlined the Graphic User Interface — and then reinvented it altogether with the iPhone. But this has been part of Apple from the beginning too:
Look at the iPhone compared to all other phones: one button on the front versus up to six for the latest Android phones.
4) We create the future we want. Apple came out with the first mass-market computer that used a floppy disk drive instead of a cassette recorder. Then it dropped the 5.25″ disk for the 3.5″ disk with the Macintosh.
Then it dropped the floppy altogether.
5) Seize chance. Anyone familiar with the creation of the iPod knows its origin was not at Apple. But Steve Jobs saw its potential — given him, he probably saw in one blinding flash the complete ecosystem that could evolve from it. Instead of saying, “Nice, but we didn’t make it, we’ll pass” — which is what any other company would do (the Not Invented Here syndrome) — Apple jumped on it.
The result? We’ve all lived through The iPod Decade.
6) STFU and deliver. Apple’s secrecy is legendary. People think this is part of the Apple mystique. But that’s only a side-effect of what Apple does: creating history-making products that leave competitors frustrated and consumers delighted.
Apple doesn’t talk about what it’s going to do. It shows what it’s done.
You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.
7) Help people create. When the original Macintosh was introduced, it came with a program called MacPaint. While the rest of the computing industry was focused on word processing and spreadsheets, Apple took the next step: marrying creativity to computing.
From that small start began the desktop publishing revolution which overthrew traditional production processes and continues to this day.
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
All of these things sound really simple, don’t they? You would think that any company that follows these would have inevitable success, no?
But how many times have we seen leaders of companies stand on a stage and prattle about things that have absolutely no relation to the crap they eventually release into the market?
That’s because there is one thing Apple has. It’s Apple’s secret. It’s Steve Jobs.
He will say to his engineers, “This isn’t good enough. Make it better.”
And he’s a CEO who will also say something like this:
The Fine Print = Apple iTablet WIN!
Hybrid iPhone/Print Book Glimpse Of The Future
Another Day, Another DoubleDumb Apple Book Rejection!
Apple: Get The Hell Out Of Your Own Way!
iPhone: Read About It Or BE It?
Apple Will Break Open The Digital Book Floodgates
The iPod Decade And The Steve Jobs Effect
How To Do Touch Right And Wrong
Touch Will Change Everything
The Just In Case iPod Tablet Blogs
Apple’s App Store Needs Librarians
Disney + Pixar + Marvel + Apple + iTablet
Google Books: Ironic CAPCHA
Apple: Give The App Store A Wish List!
Steve Jobs Sees The Future Of eBooks
The Crushing Truth Of Today’s Apple Event
iPod Touch II On September 9, 2009
So No Digital Books From Apple After All?
Apple Stabbing eBook Competitors?
Editis eBook Hearts Apple!
Apple’s Absolutely Brilliant eBook Strategy
How Steve Jobs Wins, Part Two
What REALLY Delayed The Apple Tablet
What One Big Change Would An Apple iTablet Bring?
Things Change. Things ALWAYS Change.
Another eBook Sleeper Awakens
Apple Approves Of Shooting Nurses In The Face!
How Many Of THESE eBooks Will Apple Ban?
Apple Bans ANOTHER Book From App Store!
Kindle Fanboi Gets iPhone Mistress
Apple And A Tale Of Two Bannings
eBook Breakthrough For iPhone Comics!
Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!
October: The iPod Touchbook