Failures and breakthroughs – exposed, reflected, considered

Posts Tagged ‘apple

apple and judiciary of cool

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It was perceivable that “to Google” became a verb synonymous with “to search;” but it might’ve been difficult to forecast a judiciary ruling on the concept of coolness.

This happened unsurprisingly in a judgment involving Apple, which brought the case alleging Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10 infringed its iPad design. British Judge Birss disagreed saying Apple’s designs weren’t being infringed because Samsung’s product was not as “cool” as the iPad.

This can be watershed in jurisprudence.

Originally, in a 1997 article, Gladwell wrote about the group of people he called coolhunters who scoured American cities to find out what cool kids thought about sneakers.

Written by Hayk

July 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Posted in business, innovation, technology

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Branding, psychology and why we don’t get Apple

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In 1984, Apple launched its Think Different ad. Since then this ad is very much viewed and favorited. However, there seems to be a universal misunderstanding of its message.

Let’s start with Branding 101 before trying to understand the message of Apple. Branding and marketing are two different concepts. Branding has one and one objective only. It aims to establish and cultivate an emotional bond in your heart associated with some specific product or service or process. Marketing rationalizes and appeals to our logic whereas branding caters to our hearts and emotions. Marketing emphasizes quality, features and advantages whereas branding tries to establish an emotional bond, playing on our passions and aspirations or human irrationale, inciting us to act in a desired manner (buy a product/service).

Branding is simple enough to perceive intellectually, but difficult enough for many companies/people, not least because they don’t get the underlying psychology, to implement.  Apple, as well as companies like Nike and Disney, is very good at putting into practice this psychology-based business practice. There is no magic here. It is a business practice of branding  with expected results coming to fruition.

Coming back to Apple’s message in that ad. Many perceive the Apple message to be, “everyone wants to be a rebel.” In my view this is a wrong perception. Rebel is an outlier, an outcast of a society. He/she is challenging every status-quo and convention, Our societies are made of 98%  of the completely opposite stock, i.e. those who care about making living and leading their lives in as predictable and affordable way as possible. About the only time they pay attention to rebels is when a rebel becomes famous, for good or bad reasons.

Costs of being a rebel usually far outweigh advantages. Why then some become rebels and even succeed? Either a combination of character/aspirations/perseverance or purely statistical (for every successful rebel there is many that get thrashed by their societies, friends, etc.).

Successes of those successful ones, rebel or not, appeal to us. We all want to indulge in glories and successes of successful rebels, but we don’t want to shoulder the accompanying costs and challenges.

Apple, because of its “corporate rebel” status has until last few years been an underdog of the corporate world. Its branding has been its forte and that is why its brand value has been so high and still increases. Increasing number of Apple products, not least the notorious iPod, have competitors with in many cases some and in few cases many advantages over their Apple equivalents. We don’t know about those products, some of them with names Sony, Creative, etc., because of Apple’s unsurpassed branding strategy.

Apple’s ad was perfectly in line with its own mentality and branding. What it did was to create a personna of its own brand, associating it with some notorious rebels in science, etc., and by doing so elevating even further our emotional excitement. In this ad, Apple counted itself in ranks with Einstein, Martin Luther King, etc. Apple tried to lure customers to its products as Einstein would have lured students to attend his lectures or read his books.

Apple’s DNA has always been about exclusivity, coolness, simplicity (for customers) and, of course, being a rebel.

Being a rebel is always about bringing forth, advocating and fighting for change, which flies flatly in the face of a society, convention, tradition, or status-quo. We humans, however, are neither comfortable nor happy with change, let alone a dramatic one.

Written by Hayk

November 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm

definition of a person who changes the world

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From Apple ad (1997):

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. Rebels. Troublemakers. Round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Written by Hayk

August 26, 2011 at 10:28 am

How Not to Manage Innovation (Umair Haque)

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Umair Haque is one of luminaries who deserves to be read and reread by all those who care for or envision a better, less consumerist and money-bogged future.

In the article below he shows his take how venture capitalists are stiffening innovation by focusing on numbers, short term goals, quick profits, etc. Read this englightening piece and look around for many examples. Below are his strategies (based on Jeremy Liew’s analysis) of Apple’s iPhone AppsStore outlining how not to manage innovation.

Focus on short-run numbers

When venture investors or middle managers act like, well, middle managers, innovation is likely to wither.

Apply surface economics

When venture investors or managers don’t look deeply at the economics of the markets and industries they are investing and competing in, the result is a hodge-podge, often unsuccessful innovation portfolio — one where potentially successful innovations are under-invested in, and almost certainly unsuccessful innovations are over-invested in.

Be strategy-blind

When venture investors or managers alike act like purely financial backers — instead of partners who acknowledge and encourage a durable, shared strategic interest — the disruptive potential of innovation is sapped.

Fail to see the right context

When investors or managers fail to place innovation in the right context, value is difficult to assess. Context is what makes numbers meaningful: it adds validity, reliability and accuracy to financial logic that is otherwise bereft of it.

Never have an ideal

The mistake isn’t particular to venture guys. It is what happens when we misapply the mechanics of finance to the art of innovation. The fallacy of inferring economic meaning from financial numbers is what’s bankrupting Sony, what eviscerated Detroit, and what, ultimately blew up the investment banks.

The full article is here.

The first PDA: case Apple Newton

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This story is about the precursor of modern PDAs.

The Newton project was not originally intended to produce a personal digital assistant (PDA). The PDA category did not exist for most of Newton’s genesis (however earlier devices like the Psion Organiser and Sharp Wizard had the functionality to be considered PDAs), and the “personal digital assistant” term itself was coined relatively late in the development cycle by Apple‘s then-CEO John Sculley on 7th January 1992, the driving force behind the project. Newton was intended to be a complete reinvention of personal computing.

To clarify, the official name of Apple’s product was the MessagePad; Newton was really the name of the operating system. But Newton captured the public’s imagination, so that’s what the device was popularly called.

One of the original motivating factors for the design was known as the “Architect Scenario”, in which Newton’s designers imagined a residential architect working quickly with a client to sketch and interactively modify a simple two-dimensional home plan.

The end result was a however what became a template for future PDAs. Its initial version rolled off with a variety of software to aid in personal data organization and management.

This included applications as Notes, Names, and Dates, as well as a variety of productivity tools such as a calculator (metric conversions, currency conversions), time-zone maps, and a handwriting recognition, which worked even with the display rotated.

In 1993 before its release, Apple launched a marketing campaign of Newton centered on its allegedly unprecedented handwriting recognition.

When it first appeared in shops, Newton however became a disappointment. It was big (not suitable for pocket), pricy (about $700 for the first model and as much as $1,000 for later), new (no market familiarity) and had software problems (notably, its handwriting recognition was fairly inaccurate and was skewered in the Doonesbury comic strips).

PDAs would remain a niche product until Palm, Inc.‘s (by ex-Apple employee Donna Dubinsky) Palm Pilot emerged shortly before the Newton was discontinued in 1998. The cheaper Palm Pilot was released in 1995 and became a runaway success. It was smaller, thinner and sold at lower cost. It had an excellent PC synchronization and more robust handwriting recognition (Graffiti) system—which had been available first as a software package for the Newton—managed to restore the viability of the PDA market after Newton’s commercial failure.

Written by Hayk

September 17, 2008 at 6:22 pm