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Issue of May 2006 
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Apple Computer’s Odyssey

If there is a God, he favours the innovators and those who are persistent. There is also the saying that the wise man learns from his mistakes as well as those of others. This is why The Apple Way is a must-read for CEOs and CIOs.

The book not only highlights the success story of Apple—one of the world’s most well-known technology companies—but also its most glaring and monumental failures. It analyses what went wrong and how not to repeat those mistakes.

A major highlight of this book is its readability. It has several quotes and blurbs throughout to keep the reader interested. The language is smooth, flowing and simple. The chapter and book size are very manageable, and it is an ideal on-the-go read.

In 12 easy-to-read chapters, this book attempts to provide insights to CEOs and CIOs so that they can learn valuable lessons both from some of Apple’s greatest triumphs and its most terrible mistakes.

The good side of Apple is its products. They help people work more effectively and efficiently, or help people enjoy their life more. The products are insanely great, as Steve Jobs once put it. Apple continues to sustain a culture in which the innovation mindset thrives.

This book is divided into four categories: make the product king, make the customer king, break the marketing mould, fix your leaders and your plans. They attempt to reveal the secrets and management principles which have so far kept Apple ahead of juggernauts like Microsoft and other more business-savvy competitors.

Title : The Apple Way: 12 management lessons from the world's most innovative company
Author : Jeffrey Cruikshank
Publisher : Tata McGraw-Hill
Pages : 206
Price : Rs 275

Apple learned the hard way that no organisation can do everything itself, no matter how smart it is. The market moves too quickly, technology grows too fast, too many smart people are investing too much time and money in innovation, and they are working together to beat you.

The company’s strategy has been very focussed all along: it goes for the development of innovative products. It makes better products, and gives the people the product they want which remains durable and useful for years together.

Apple’s other secrets include cutting-edge marketing strategies, sleek design and packaging of its products, and a high-performance corporate culture. It encourages and rewards visionaries, and keeps one eye firmly focussed on the future. It dreams about how to make futuristic technology for today’s world, and then combines this vision with contemporary sensibilities and practicality to ensure the mass popularity of its products.

To a large extent, Apple has succeeded because it retains control of every relevant aspect of its Mac system, including who uses it and how. Even in the fast-moving world of high-tech, Apple managed to create consistency of user experience across multiple programs and allow for continuity from one generation of its operating system to the next.

Finally, it has followed the innovation mantra loyally. It learned that to innovate successfully, an organisation needs the right people, the right strategy, and adequate resources. It also realised that finding the future is not enough; it has to be delivered and brought to life. If the product is too revolutionary, then it makes sense to go great lengths to make it very user friendly.

Apple backed up its innovations by studying the surrounding world, paid proper attention to the needs of the market, and got good supporting staff. When it came to know what the public wanted, it went ahead and gave it to them, ignoring all that the sceptics said.

The book is packed with good management advice backed by practical instances from Apple’s experiences. Overall, a very enjoyable read.

 
     
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