Daily Archives:November 2nd, 2005

How Apple does it

One of the things I discovered when I moved from academia and research into the business world is that there are an awful lot of rules that you’re supposed to follow. A lot of received wisdom, and if you are reluctant to receive it, you won’t get taken seriously by others. That’s a problem if you are dependent on them for funding, for orders, for recruitment or whatever. Things that seem to normal people as if they might be a good idea because, say, you’d buy one and all your friends would too, are countered with a whole barrage of reasons why they wouldn’t work because “it isn’t done that way”. If you live with it for long enough, you learn the rules, build a proper business, and stop having good ideas that appeal to normal people.

One thing that is traditionally held to be very important for a business is a very clear focus. As someone once put it, “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either of them”. This makes a lot of sense, and I have repeated it to others.

But an inner, rebellious, part of me rejoices when I read an article pointing out that Apple, whose recent share performance is the envy of suits everywhere, breaks many of the cardinal rules.

AAPL share price

The article will shortly drop into a premium-rate archive, but you somebody you know mght have a PDF. Thanks to Creative Generalist for the link.


To do is to be – Nietzsche
To be is to do – Sartre
Do be do be do – Sinatra

This floated to the surface of my memory today from long ago.

Scrolling Forward

Scrolling Forward
David M. Levy’s Scolling Forward is a wonderful book. Its cover picture and the subtitle, Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age, might lead you to expect something concentrating more on DTP, XML and search engines, but in fact this is a rich tapestry which encompasses the poetry of Walt Whitman, the hidden meaning behind cash-till recipts, the life and times of Melvil Dewey and emotional responses to the San Francisco earthquake.

The author describes it as “a love letter to documents”, and it, too is worthy of affection. Recommended.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser