We’ve all been hearing a lot of talk about a “different Apple”. In case you didn’t hear about it, a lot of news channels are trying to paint a picture where, sans Steve Jobs, Apple has no one else to say “no” to bad ideas. Consider the following quote from the Crazy Ones poster, part of the Think Different campaign fifteen years ago:
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The 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. 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.
Apple might not fit that description anymore but that doesn’t mean something’s wrong or bad! The truth is, the world is a better place because of Apple’s success. Apple’s success means they moved past that ethos and established themselves as the new standard or norm. Again, that’s not a bad thing. Apple’s baton needs to be carried forward by some new, small, probably currently struggling company, the kind that is trying to make some part of this world better, making its dent in the Universe.
As companies grow, they have to move past their small goals and mindset. Staying there can be detrimental for the growth and success of the company. If you truly believe you have better products/ideas, you’ll want everyone to use which means, you simply can’t reject success! At the same time, the problems that a company with 100 or 10,000 customers faces are radically different from the problems of a company with several million of them. Not changing anything would kill you and, potentially, minimize the impact in the market (or Universe). “With great power comes great responsibility” comes to mind here. As you grow and control more information, user data, etc, the more careful you have to be, making “information control” a big issue.
Just think about it: if “Think Different” is to be successful, it is bound to limit itself in time. The success of the different thinking will inevitably lead to leading market position which means you are no longer different: you are the norm.
I’m glad Apple is successful. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: my life is better because of Apple and that’s true for anyone using Apple products. But stop talking about how Apple is different as if that’s big news. I’m glad their different from who they were 10 years ago. I can’t wait for the next “Apple”, a company that will make many lives better by thinking different from what’s established which, in this case, probably means thinking differently from what Apple is currently doing.