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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Book: Apple's ‘Insanely Simple’ Secrets to Success | Ken Segall, CNBC

Until I got an iPod several years ago (and more recently a Nano), I've never owned an Apple product. I've been impressed by the Macs I've seen used by graphic designers (but always used a PC and work and bought them for home), and I've been impressed by the capabilities of the iPhone and the continually improving iPad. (The initial iPhone connection to AT&T prevented me from getting one.) But I gotta get one of those iPads one of these days! I wonder which double-digit version that might be!

I also haven't paid much too attention to Steve Jobs or been a huge fan of his. (I haven't been a big fan of Bill Gates, for that matter.) I'm not much into idol worship in any field. But I do admire what they have accomplished in their apparently similar but differing ways of managing. 

So I read this Segall's article with interest. And I might read his book--if I can confirm (or not) that it's mostly about achieving success and innovation simply, using Jobs and Apple only as models for doing that. 

I do like some of the passages I read in Segall's column:
As an old Mac headline once put it, Apple builds things that are “simply amazing and amazingly simple.” This guiding philosophy isn’t exactly new for the company. It’s been present since ancient times, when the Apple II desktop created the first computer revolution. In fact, an early ad for the Apple II read “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
This deep belief in simplicity is Apple’s point of difference. Without simplicity guiding every part of the company, Apple would not be able to innovate at the level it has—nor would it have achieved such astronomical success.
Most processes [in Apple and other companies] were put in place with the best of intentions, to help companies “institutionalize” success. And in many companies, processes may well catapult them to ever-higher gains. But in industries where creativity is a differentiator, processes can easily dilute great ideas. Without an advocate for simplicity in the CEO’s office, processes can even become more important than the ideas that flow through them. At Apple, ideas travel a more direct path from start to finish. There are fewer approvers on that path, and great ideas are nurtured rather than homogenized.
At Apple, simplicity truly is the mother of invention. The company’s revolutionary products would not exist if Steve Jobs hadn’t created an organization in which simplicity always wins.

Though every Apple revolution has been different, each has demonstrated the same business principle: the best way to reach a higher goal is to follow a simpler path.

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