There are many things we can write about Apple Inc. – the maker of iPhone, iPod and iTune for how it works. Behold, we are summarizing some of the common things we have read about how this company works and functions. Apple has been chronicled as one of the most innovative firms of its era. The irony is that the same people that praise Apple rarely points out that Apple does not follow most of the popular tenets of Business School management philosophies. For instance, in the era where companies are asked to share – yes, open innovation – Apple is still hidden in secrecy, it and out.
Enjoy some of these points and see how they can help your startups. We think though you must know how to collaborate as a small company.
- Attention to detail. It is stated that in Apple, workers must have focus and be very attentive to details. The pursuit of perfection means every detail matters. Keeping a culture demands that one must ensure every assignment is executed at the best quality level.
- Secrecy. You must learn how to keep secrets including from your boss where necessary. It is stated that in some cases staff will have access to rooms their supervisors cannot enter. And before you talk in some meetings about what you are doing, you must ensure everyone there is approved to know. Unlike what they teach in Business School about the need to share and collaborate, Apple does demonstrate, at least through their financial results, that organizations cannot be college pubs where all gossips are shared.
- Constant Feedback. The game of the legendary founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was constant feedback. Without feedback, you cannot improve any process. Apple measures everything.
- Saying No Is Imporstant As Saying Yes. In Apple, it is great wisdom to know when to say No. You cannot be Yes to everything. It is great wisdom to have the capacity to pick the things you cannot do. What that means, the company wants focus not just from the executives but from staff. Oh yes, Apple as a company knows when to say No, Thanks. When the fans ask for some products, Apple rarely cares. They execute when they think it is right. Apple 4S was expected to be Apple 5; only Apple knew 4S was what the world needed, then.
- Understand the Limitation of Committees. Most times, executives hide on the power of setting up committees on some hard issues in companies. Do away with many of them. Committees are not that effective. You need to have good executives that can make great decisions and reduce that bureacracy of outsourcing decisions. Rather, you can have good competent close inner executive team that can gather and get things done.
- IP is Business. When Apple decides to meet outside its corporate offices, it usually sweeps the location for electronic bugs to stymie snooping competitors. Even a hotel conference center is a possible weak point to steal your company roadmap. Apple does not take chances.
- Use Small Teams in Crucial Projects. The more the number of people in crucial projects, mos times, it increases the chances it could fail. Apple uses small teams in crucial projects. Just two staff wrote the code that transformed Safari browser for iPad. So, Apple still thinks it is a startup by conserving resources and tasking its staff.
- Market Research May Not Be Neccessary. In Apple, they go out and build great products. Most times, without market research or focus groups. They simply go out and make great products and then sell them. The notion of spending money to understand what the market needs means you are limiting yourself to what is ordinary. In marketing, there is what it called the Perception Level. In that level, no market knows it needed that product, but when it comes, they will rush to buy it. Who knew about iPhone before we started buying them? After all, Verizon rejected to carry iPhone when they saw the concept. That means, you do not have to waste time in these market research. Hire visionary leaders and let them create new industrial sectors for your company.
- Have One Company. Apple has one P&L company-wide. These days companies want to run divisions and units as profit-centers so everyone needs its own P&L. That is not for Apple. They do not want undue rivalry in that case and simply run the show from one finance department. It makes the firm to be more integrated instead of executives worried about how innovation will reduce their profit levels. In Wal-Mart, store managers were telling shoppers not to shop online when the company started offering online products. Why? It was affecting store P&L by moving revenue online. And managers are rewarded based on how good their P&Ls are. A one-store P&L would have helped in that case since everyone would be working for Wal-Mart. Of course, there are other reasons why division-based P&L makes sense, but that must not be used to stymie innovation in companies as executives work to protect their boundaries. Never think your Vice President will like to cannibalize his unit for the good of the company if you hold him out for poor P&L every year.
- Keep a lot of cash and do not be drawn into uncessary payment of dividends. Also, the happiest staff are not the highest paid. Most times, people will prefer GREAT brands for lesser money than crappy companies that pay more. Apple invested in its brand and today it is one of the least paying companies in the big four – Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple. Ok, add Microsoft! People enjoy working in Apple just as there are fans of the products.
Hope you have pickd some lessons.