Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple, the post bendgate fiasco

The #bendgate fiasco tarnished the biggest ever iPhone launch in Apple history, caused hundreds of millions in lost sales and probably billions in reputation damage.

iPhone Salvador Dali Style
Who is responsible? In Apple is one person: the CEO. Here are some details  from Walter Isaacson book about Steve Jobs, to substantiate what I say.

During the Apple board meeting  of August 24, 2012, Steve said he can not meet any longer the duties and expectations as Apple's CEO. He was battling a terminal disease. He names Tim Cook successor CEO and he assumes the title of Chairman. At the end of the sad meeting, Steve says:
"Hewlett and Packard built a great company. But now is being dismembered and destroyed. It's tragic. I hope, I've left a stronger legacy so that will never happen at Apple."
Walter Isaacson asks;
"Was  [Steve] smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected and at times magical. He was indeed, an example of what the mathematician Mark Kac (*)called a magician genius, someone whose insights come out of the blue and require intuition more than mere mental processing power... With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world's most creative company"
Mark Kac

Daniel Mackenzie, a San Francisco based designer writes in his blog
Selecting the right features for your product is a tough topic that defies any clear explanation. The fact is, you could read a hundred books on innovation and play brainstorming games until you’re blue in the face and still launch with the wrong features. The hard truth about deciding on the right product features is that formulas and methodologies can only take you so far and that the rest requires a bit of magic. If this weren’t true, we would have more people like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs.
The problem is there are simply too many angles to assess when deciding on a product’s feature set. Some of those angles include the messiness we call human emotions which have a tendency to be fickle and be influenced by social forces we only notice after it’s too late.
 After the dazzling launch of iPhone 6 and 6+,I watched Tim Cook talking in a Charlie Rose interview. Here is what I heard
Rose: Where is Steve in all this?
Cook: Steve is in my heart, and deep in Apple's DNA. His spirit will always be the foundation of the company. I literally think about him every day. His office is still left as it was
Rose: On the 4th floor?
Cook: On the 4th floor, his name is still on the door.  Steve stood for innovation, for the simple and not the complex, and he knew Apple should be only in areas where we control the primary technology ... you could put all the products Apple makes and fit them on this (small) table. We should make $180 billion this year with these products. There is no other company in the world who could say that
Sounds great and emotional, Cook has not substance or know how like Jobs. Tim is not Steve. It is not his fault. That is the way he was born, and other Steve Jobs are in very limited supply.

I imagine for a moment, that the 4th floor office with Steve Jobs suddenly opens and Steve asks the final questions. There might have been like this?
"Why these phones are so thin? How do we know customers want  the phones to be so thin? Did anyone check if they are strong enough? Did anyone check the battery life if the phone was thicker? Why I see the wiring of the antenna on side? Why can't we take  HD 1080 videos? How did  we compensate our users' habit of using the smaller iPhones with one finger, in this phablet? I don't like the word "phablet" call it Roxanne or iLoveIt" :)

The current CEO, is nice man, and he can only by the highest priest in a new religion symbolized by a  4th floor office of Mr. Jobs. He asks the questions, but the only reply, unfortunately, is silence.

Apple is still in a shape that be conserved as a great American company the world loves yet  some changes at the top  are inevitable.

(*) Mark Kac divided geniuses into two classes. Ordinary ones whose achievements others will emulate, and magicians whose inventions are so astounding that it is hard to see how any human could have imagined them
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