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Will Apple Live Forever?

Will Apple Live Forever?

by Brad MerrillApril 1, 2013

[dropcap1]M[/dropcap1]y initial reaction to the death of Steve Jobs was that Apple was headed for failure. However, the more I follow Apple and study Steve Jobs, the more I think that while Jobs could not live forever, Apple certainly could.

Here’s why:

Apple University

[quote_right]COMPANY EXECUTIVES WILL BE TAUGHT TO THINK LIKE HIM[/quote_right]

Steve Jobs really believed in the rightness of his vision. As noted by the LA Times shortly after his death, Apple University was created to teach his qualities to those who would come to run Apple in years and decades to come.

To survive its late founder, Apple and Steve Jobs planned a training program in which company executives will be taught to think like him, in ‘a forum to impart that DNA to future generations.’ Key to this effort is Joel Podolny, former Yale Business School dean.

Training at Apple University reportedly focuses on what enables a company to create sustained innovation.

Business Model

Apple has a simple and pure business model—something that is increasingly rare in Silicon Valley. They build great products and price them accordingly. No tricks, no coercion. You always know exactly what you’re buying, for how much, and what you’re getting for your money. A hundred years from now, there will doubtless be a plethora of new business models—some great, others not so much—but Apple’s I’m sure will thrive long after we’re all gone.

Saying No To 1,000 Things

[quote_right]”INNOVATION IS SAYING NO TO 1,000 THINGS.”[/quote_right]

Jobs was famous for keeping Apple focused not on building great products, but on building great products that mattered. He kept the company focused.

Jobs’s words on focus  from 1997 remain relevant today—and probably will for decades:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

Control

[quote_center]SILICON VALLEY IS TRADITIONALLY VERY OPEN, BUT STEVE JOBS WANTED NO PART OF THAT[/quote_center]

If you know anything about Apple or Steve Jobs, you know that control is vital to everything the company does. They control their technology, product development, distribution, and brand. Silicon Valley is traditionally very open, but Steve Jobs wanted no part of that. He wanted to keep Apple is full control of its products—as well as its future.

Apple Stores

 

Apple is praised for its retail stores. They bring in more money per square foot than any other retail chain in the world. They also ensure that Apple can offer its products directly to its customers—Apple is not at all dependent on others for marketing and sales. Apple is learning, in real time, what their millions of customers think about their latest products. Furthermore, by being on the front lines, they’re learning all about the future of retail.

Never Miss A Beat

This story never ceases to amaze me:

On the day Jobs died, employees numbly walked outside to watch an American flag lowered to half-mast—and then returned to work. Partners who were in town to meet with the company were astonished to learn that appointments would take place as scheduled. “That’s what Steve would have wanted,” an Apple manager explained.

Indeed, that’s what Jobs would have wanted. He would also want Apple to continue building amazing, revolutionary products for decades to come. It’s crazy, but crazy ideas are the ones that change he world.

About The Author
Brad Merrill
Brad Merrill is the founder and former editor of VentureBreak.