The wires are buzzing with the news that Steve Jobs is resigning from Apple. Everyone knew it had to come, but he will be greatly missed, and the web is gradually filling with tributes of one sort or another.
The thing I have always loved about Apple was that they broke so many rules, and did so with such glorious success.
Conventional business wisdom will tell you, over and over again, that you should focus on your strengths, cast off all else that hinders, and aim to commoditise whatever complements your core business, rather than getting into it yourself. Microsoft don’t make chips, and Intel don’t make operating systems.
Apple, on the other hand, weren’t listening. They gradually grew to sell hardware, accessories, operating systems, applications, for mass markets and niche markets. They even did what many people thought was bound to be a disaster: opening their own retail outlets! But they then turned them into, per square foot, the most valuable retail space in the world. Having covered pretty much everything in conventional computing, they plunged into the notoriously difficult mobile phone market and, well, you know the story. Oh, and by the way, they sell a few books and some music, too.
When you think about it, doesn’t the fact that Ford doesn’t even sell petrol seem, well, a bit unadventurous?
To understand more about the man who made this happen, I recommend this page of quotes from Steve at the WSJ.
Or, for a bit of nostalgia, you can’t do much better than the posters from Apple’s 1997 ‘Think Different’ campaign:
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 invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some 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.