Should You Strive To Be Like Apple?
A few weeks ago I was in a board meeting reviewing a strategic initiative. I am always struck by simple questions that drive constructive discussion. In this case the board member asked, “Using Michael Treacy’s Model, do you think Kewill is product oriented, customer oriented, or efficiency oriented?” The answers were relatively consistent, but there were differences based on each person’s perspective. The views also included, where we have been, where we are today, and where we are going.
Yesterday, I came across the WSJ story talking about “How to Be Like Apple”, which discussed how to create an environment that fosters creativity and innovation. Of course emotionally everyone “wants to be like apple” – the question is what does it take? More broadly going back to Michael Treacy’s work is one area of focus better for high technology?
In my opinion it comes down your people and the passion. Emotionally, my experience in high tech is successful companies are either product or customer focused. This often gets defined by the founders or subsequent senior team. Did they come out of engineering or sales & marketing? Either side can create energetic, entrepreneurial environments. “Efficient” high technology companies tend to be pretty boring, although I will admit medium and long term may be quite successful financially.
Where is your company? Are you where you need to be?