Every "why" leader must have a partner who is a "how" person. Throughout history, whether seen or unseen this concept has proven true. There is always a person to cast the vision of why a company or organization exists. This person is the champion and often the spokesperson for the organization.
The Why guys and How guys.
For Apple, the why person was Steve Jobs and rightly so.
The Why GuysThe How Guys
Steve Jobs Steve Wozniak
Bill Gates Paul Allen
Walt Disney Roy Disney
The Future of Apple
Depends on them not forgetting their why and having people who can execute how they are going to do that. They need to continue to embody their why and hire people who can make this happen.
Although Steve Jobs embodied Apple, its beliefs, values, and passion, he is not Apple. He is perhaps the champion of Apple, its' mascot, or its' figurehead. The one thing Steve Jobs has done to ensure that Apple is not just dependent on one person is this. He did such a brilliant job at hiring the best people, and creating an incredible culture that demands innovation. The why of Apple didn't come to pass solely because of Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs was smart enough to hire some of the best and brightest people that know how to make the why happen. In their famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial, Apple did not advertise a product. Sure they mentioned the announcement of the Macintosh computer, but that is not why they paid a great deal of money to be on during the Super Bowel. They were telling their story. Apple clearly conveyed their **WHY**. They were telling the audience why they do what they do. You may notice they didn't mention processor speed, amount of memory, the color of the computer or other features.
It's Not Just What You Do, But How You Do It
A distinct key to Apple's success is their approach. Apple always focuses on the individual, not the masses. If you look at all the commercials made by Apple, they never show a mass of people all using Apple products at the same time. They make them real to the individual. Almost like you are the one sitting on the couch holding the iPad.
Find People Who Buy Into Your Why
Think back to when Macintosh computers were not held by many. When iPods didn't exist. The people who bought into Apple's why, bought their computers. It wasn't trendy to have a Mac back then. In fact, it was almost the opposite. People viewed them as toys, not productive, useful machines. At that time, the IBM personal computer was seen as the more productive of the two.
The Apple computer was lacking in areas that hurt. They didn't have the ecosystem of developers like they do today. The price of the Macintosh computer was beyond what most Americans were willing to pay. They two factors played a large role in the viewpoint of the Mac only being a neat computer and not a productive machine.
Wow, how things have changed!! Today, developers are rushing to make apps. People who have had no interest in computer programming want to make apps. They found a way to create a great environment for consumers and developers. Yes, some of the things they have done have been a bit weird, but I feel that they have learned from their mistakes. They have adjusted policies as they saw the error.
So here we are 5 years later. The iPod is a huge success! The iPhone changed the world! Apple has possibly the largest pool of developers for any given platform. They have brought hope back to the individual computer programmer. Reigniting the American dream! With the success of the iOS devices they have also created a community of developers for the Mac. The public didn't see it, maybe most programmers didn't see it, but Apple knew just what they were doing. They learned how vital the community of developers are to a platform. They also learned that for a platform to be successful, they must give programmers the right tools to create a consistent, brilliant experience. Apple created an ecosystem that easily transfers to the Macintosh. It always comes back to the Mac.
So, will Apple fail? Who knows. They have the right people and they are in a position no other company in the world is in. They have all the ingredients to continue in their success. Guess we will have to wait and see where they strike next. The TV? The watch? How will iCloud turn out?
Which one are you?