Anyone that knows me knows that I’m in the bag for Apple. I’ve been an Apple customer since 1978 and have owned dozens of their devices over the years. My belief is that many in the media and the blogosphere don’t really get what makes Apple a special company.
Here are four things I think make Apple unique and all are things that keep drawing me back to them:
Apple only does a few things. Apple does not try to be all things to all people. If you are outside their target customer they don’t really care whether you do business with them. They understand that focus in a few areas allows all of their employees to keep their eye on the ball. Apple knows that excellence comes from doing a few things and doing them extraordinarily well.
Concentrating on a few things allows you to become world class at those things. If you try to develop a product that everyone will want you will develop one that no one really cares about. Apple is the most successful niche company I know. They have learned that having people say no thanks is part of their success.
Designers run the show. The designers at Apple tell the engineers what’s going to happen. Designers are the dreamers and the engineers have to make the dreams reality. When engineers run the show great things don’t happen. Apple has proven that when designers make the decisions great things happen.
Designers by their nature are dreamers. They get to think about what happens in a perfect world. A question you might ask is if the dreamers are behind product development in your company? If not, you might want to think about making that change.
Apple keeps people at jobs they’re best at. We too often hear about the great salesperson that is promoted to sales manager and falls on their face. Apple doesn’t look for a promotion path for their people where those people won’t be great. Instead they look for people who will be great in a job and allow them the freedom to get even better at what they do.
Research has shown that it takes about 10,000 hours to become world class at something. We also know that if we do purposeful practice around our unique ability we continue getting better throughout our life. Apple understands this and allows their people to continue to get better at what makes them special.
Apple is all about the customer experience. Whether you go to an Apple Store or use an Apple product you will likely either love it or hate it. Apple knows that their customers love the experience of doing business with Apple. They don’t really care about those who don’t love the experience. Those people are not going to be raving fans.
We need to understand that we can’t be all things to all people. Apple has figured that out and only concentrates on making a wonderful customer experience for those who appreciate what they do.
Have you thought about what you can do in your company to make it one that the right people love doing business with? Apple is not the most successful business in the world today by mistake. What lessons can you take from them that would help you in your life?
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our customer experience and how it delights our best customers. If you’re interested in seeing a mind map that outlines our customer experience please click on the button below.