Saturday, September 3, 2011

Take A Byte!

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He is hailed as the mastermind, behind what is being labelled as the greatest corporate turnaround story in modern business. From being exalted as a young computer whiz and entrepreneur to being unceremoniously booted out of the company he founded to his rise from the ashes and creative genius drive that changed the way the world views and uses digital technology; he has cemented his place in the annals of human history. Steve Jobs is a man, who I have long admired over many years.  I remember vividly in school, in the year 1998, that while every young boy harped on about “Bill Gates”, who I never was and may never be a fan of, I was the only one to stand aside and vociferously proclaim that I was instead a fan of “Steve Jobs”.  The response I often received for my stance was everything from “Are you kidding?” to “Steve who?”  The funny thing is that many years later, the same set of classmates from high school who spoke in those tones now claim to be the biggest Steve Job loyalists on the planet. All I can say is “Sorry boys! I was here first!”

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Coming to the present, Apple Inc. today is greatly admired and acknowledged as “one of the most innovative companies in the world” and is worth approximately $ 66 billion.  Its products have revolutionized the computer industry and set new trends in the way we work, design things, communicate with each other and entertain ourselves.  It has become without a shadow of a doubt a true “Icon” and overtaken its rival “Microsoft” to become the “number one IT Company in the world.”  Incidentally, for those who may not know, the Apple Inc. logo (*featured left) is always shown as being part eaten. This feature was incorporated in its design as a direct reference to the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve both ate the “forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge”, which God had previously commanded that they should not do.  The rationale behind this reference is that Apple Inc., as a company, sees itself as an entity that dares to boldly explore the higher realms of technological innovation and invent products that most cynics say should not and cannot be done.

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Its list of achievements is exhaustive and I could go on elaborating about each one of them.  But for me, what truly stands out and qualifies as a “true marvel” is the fashion in which Steve Jobs turned Apple Inc. around when it had come to the very edge of having to file for bankruptcy.  This was towards the latter part of 1996.  Plus, it was being labelled by most business analysts and consumers at large as a complete “write off!”  It was on death’s doorstep and after some deliberation the Board members of Apple Inc. decided to call back the one person whom they knew could be the company’s last hope for survival. They needed “Steve Jobs back at the helm.”  Though he was the company’s founder, Steve Jobs was tossed out a few years earlier (1985), due to a conflict of interest with the very same Board.

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His first statement to them upon returning, was something like, “Do you know why your stuff doesn’t sell? Because it isn’t attractive enough!” Steve Jobs first task was for the entire company to focus on design, innovation and sparkle. He diversified Apple Inc. into several verticals that included movies (Pixar – which was later sold to Disney for $7.4 billion. However, Jobs still holds a major stake in this entity.), music, communication and design.  The range of products that followed from the early iMacs to the now famous iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad were just some of the things he envisioned Apple Inc. creating and marketing to the world. He added color, flair and style to computers and other digital technology, thereby, transforming the way in which the IT industry itself conceives, designs and produces products today.  His goal was not merely to create a neat financial balance sheet; but instead, he focused on making Apple Inc. the most “innovative company” there is, that would continuously push “every boundary”. His passion, drive and enthusiasm created “new windows of opportunity” and made it a much sought after employer by both IT and business aspirants from around the world.

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However, in spite of his success, there are many critics who label Apple Inc. as something of a “fraud”. For instance, there is a sizeable community of IT analysts, who claim that when they compare Apple Inc. products to other products available on the market, the former has many shortcomings.  Also, there are many case studies, I am told, that prove those claims.  Honestly, I have no qualms about those opinions. They may be true in some cases. But what I find interesting is that I have personally seen many critics get converted to become Apple Inc. loyalists themselves or at least appreciate some things about the company. The reason behind this, I feel, is that Apple Inc. doesn’t just sell you a product; they sell you a tantalizing brand experience. Plus, I would also add that every customer, around the world, has her or his right to choose what products they want to buy and use and there is a lot for them to choose from.  If Apple Inc. was “fooling everyone”, then as the laws of business dictate, it wouldn’t have lived long enough to see the turnaround started in 1996 reach fruition, as no one would be buying or using anything made by them.

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Apple Inc. has surpassed everyone’s expectations and is showing no signs of slowing down.  Thanks to Steve Jobs who replanted the seeds of creative digital genius, nurtured them and cultivated them into a blossoming orchard of technology treats, he ensured that Apple Inc. opened the gateway to a whole new “Garden of Wonder”.  He chose to be the first to “Take A Byte” of the “forbidden fruit” and then gave the world the power to grow its imagination beyond infinity!  “And iThink that’s iNcredible!”

To my childhood hero Steve Jobs - iSalute you!” Next Take please!

8 comments:

  1. I am huge fan too.. especially about the comeback story after his resignation in 1985 :) :)..he is a legend!!

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  2. Completely agree with this viewpoint. Though Steve Jobs has stepped down from Apple Inc's operations, he is leaving behind a humongous pool of imagination and inspiration for the generations to come. With the success of Apple, he has proved the fact that dreaming big and different, is not foolish!

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  3. I don't know if I am a fan of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates; but I am definitely a Rohan Moorthy fan.

    Even though functionaly Apple products are pretty much the same as others, they stand out mainly because of attractive design and savvy marketing. Which goes to say - If you are attractive and the whole world says that you are, you've got it made :)

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  4. I disagree on a lot of points here. Let me elaborate...

    Apple, according to me is only good in two areas; marketing and making good looking products. Their products look bloody good! But IMO, it is because of marketing alone, that they are so successful. Their products are actually vastly inferior to the competition. And by marketing I don't only mean direct marketing like TV ads, print ads etc. They also play on your subconscious by doing what is called subliminal advertising. If you observe advertisements, TV programmes, movies in which computers, mp3 players etc. are being used, you will see that they are almost always Apple products. This plays on your mind over time; you want what those people are using! This IMO is the key to their success!

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  5. My gripe with Apple has always been their ethics and practices. They blatantly lie in their advertisements. They also choose to ridicule other companies’ products in an effort to make their own look superior. A classic example of this is the, “I’m a Mac, you’re a PC” advertisements. If you take a look at those ads, you will see that none of them actually tell you much about what a Mac can do.

    When the iPhone first came out, one of the key marketing points was, “The most complete web experience”. How can you get a “complete” web experience if there is no support for Flash?! A huge amount of sites have some or the other content in Flash. Sometimes you have entire websites developed in Flash! NONE of these sites work on an iPhone (even the current one, mind you)!

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  6. For many years now, Apple has been brainwashing users with one point in particular. Windows is affected by viruses, and Macs are not. And of course, Apple worshippers also blindly accept it without thinking. What they never understood is that viruses are mostly written by teenagers, who want to cause the maximum amount of damage. So naturally, they went for Windows, as Windows is being used on more than 90% of the world’s computers. Apple’s market share was what…3 or 4%?

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  7. But now that Macs are slowly gaining popularity, you are seeing countless issues crop up! There are viruses, Trojan horses etc for Macs also now! How are Macs getting infected if they are so secure?! I could go on and on, but I won’t. I will leave you here with these points: Lies, inferior and ridiculously overpriced products, disgusting practices and ethics. These are the reasons why I don't like Apple!

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  8. Srinivasan K. MoorthyOctober 11, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff" said Marc Antony at the funeral of Julius Caesar. In no one was the stuff manifested sterner than in Steve Jobs. He pushed the boundaries of ambition to the threshold of audacity. Not the audacity of hope that Barack Obama referred to but the audacity to make possible that which others did not have the courage to dream of. Truly the Michelangelo of the digital age, he saw the potential of it and made it omnipresent and even omnipotent. Thank you for remaining foolish and hungry, Steve. Thank you for being true to the destiny that God had ordained for you. We are a better world because of it. The man called Steve Jobs died. The legend will live on. The legacy will endure."

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