The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


The Past Is An Indicator, Not A Fact …

Have a look at that article.

It’s not that long ago really is it, and yet the fortunes of Apple are beyond comprehension.

Probably even beyond what Steve Jobs imagined … though I doubt, if he was alive, he would admit that.

But while the iMac was much more successful than the journalist suggested it would be … its greatest achievements were re-introducing Apple to the world, positioning them as a real alternative to Microsoft and creating a platform for the brand and products to keep rising.

Now it would be easy to laugh at how wrong the journalist was with their article, but the reality is most people in the industry at that time thought that about Apple.

However the reason had less to do with the launch of the iMac and more about the recent history of the brand.

The choices.
The decisions.
The products.

But in doing that, they highlighted four of the great mistakes so many still make:

1. Immediately skeptical of anyone trying to do something new.
2. Believed the standard for success had been set by the market leader.
3. Evaluated products against current audience needs, not future audience needs.
4. Forgot how much truly great marketing can make people give a shit.

I say this because our industry often operates like this journalist.

Basing our point of view on ‘facts’ that reflect what has happened rather than what is going to happen.

Now I get why … what we do costs a lot of money and has a lot of implications and so clients rightfully want to minimise their exposure to risk as much as they can.

But despite this focus on certainty, we still see missteps and failures every single day, largely down to us – and clients – evaluating everything by the same 3 mistakes the journalist did towards iMac back in 1998.

This is not to suggest we should ignore what clients need.

Nor is it that we should disregard costs.

It is simply a reminder that if we only judge/plan/justify/execute through the lens of the rear-view mirror, the only thing we can be certain of is we will be going in the opposite direction to culture and success.


27 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Early post.
About Steve and Apple.
This is much more like it.

Comment by Bazza

Goes without saying I agree with it.

Comment by Bazza

I am not sure Steve would recognise what Apple is now.

Comment by George

Baz. Do you think the announcement Apple is now a 2 trillion dollar company is a good thing or a bad? I am not saying this to provoke you, but with the recent Epic Games claims and the current economic position for so many, do you think Apple should have handled the announcement of this incredible achievement a bit more sensitively?

Comment by George

I know Baz can’t answer this on here but I did feel the same way when I saw the news. Apple can’t help being a $2 trillion company, but by not seemingly managing that news, I feel they are further playing into the narrative they have become the beast they were born to slay. I’ll still buy their stuff though. Hahahaha.

Comment by Rob

If these comments were a game of chess, Baz has found himself in checkmate. ; )

Comment by Pete

A discussion to have over beers not a blog. Especially this blog.

Comment by Bazza

Of course he thinks the stock valuation is a good thing. The subsequent question is a separate issue.

Comment by John

Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.
Bazza is a corporate toad.

Comment by DH

are you a fjucking man or a mouse bazza?
are you going to let these pricks treat you like this?
or are you too busy eating fucking cheese to notice? squeak.

Comment by andy@cynic

A present just for you Baz.
Won’t happen again for a long, long time.

Comment by Rob

Excellent post Robert. Too many people strive to update the past as opposed to creating a more interesting future. Or said in the modern parlance. They prefer to say they are innovating when all they are doing is optimising.

Comment by George

Yes. Absolutely. As Lee once said, many companies talk about innovation or transformation but what they really mean is they are modernising the operations of their business because they fear they may be left behind by the category or culture. It very, very rarely means making decisions that will leap frog them forwards. Not entirely companies fault, the market punishes risk but the use of ‘innovation’ is simply an attempt to make meek strategy appear bold and confident.

Comment by Rob

Make meek thinking appear to be bold thinking.
I love this description Robert.

Comment by George

The other reason is the markets obsession with scale. The attitude being if an idea can’t scale to the entire planet, it cannot be a good idea. Strange that thinking doesn’t stretch to the pricing policies they put in place.

Comment by Pete

If you haven’t read it, you must check out Dan Lyons book, Disrupted. Especially the chapter on how venture capitalists truly evaluate offers … it’s scary, especially when you think how highly that industry is regarded … mainly by themselves, ha.

An article on the author, the context of the book and the weirdness that happened to him both in the .com he writes about and how the .com reacted to what he was writing about, can be seen here.

https://tinyurl.com/y47y73n3

Comment by Rob

I ordered this book the last time you wrote about it. Tonight I will start reading it.

Comment by George

bet you fucking dont.

Comment by andy@cynic

The bigger mistake that the journalist and so many other people make is that they react to what has happened while forgetting to ask why.

Comment by John

There was a great quote by a technology journalist who said the other thing that kills potential is when reviewers look at first generation technology but evaluate it as if it is fully formed, fully developed ideas … often killing potential because they’re not giving it the benefit of the doubt that it will grow.

Comment by Rob

That’s a mistake the commenters on here never make.

Comment by John

Saw someone said you’re wrong because facts are definitive even if “new facts” are discovered that show the original fact was incorrect. I think they work for the Trump administration.

Comment by DH

there are some dicks in the world more stupid than a planner. amazing but fucking true.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is major progress for the strategy discipline.

Comment by George

progress because some other fuckers shitter? you sad, desperate bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

Fair.

Comment by George

[…] George on The Past Is An Indicator, Not A Fact … […]

Pingback by The Same People Take You To The Same Place … | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: