Following its announcement of Apple as the most innovative company in the world, Fast Company has a great interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
For 30 years I have seen people struggle to understand Apple and their approach to everything from products to revenue. It has always been right here out in the open, its just very different from how most large tech companies approach customers and product.
As Cook himself says:
It’s always products and people. The question at the end of every year, or every month or every week or every day, is, Did we make progress on that front?
Granted this can sound simplistic or like marketing fluff or both, but the proof is in both the consistency of the message by all Apple exes over the years as well as the product line itself.
The reality is that companies have a DNA that is typically set early on. It can be hard to maintain as you grow and is frequently lost, but it is even harder to change the DNA of a company into something like Apple’s if it has never had it in the first place. Few companies have ever managed it. One notable exception in the last few years has been Microsoft under Satya Nadella, which has undergone a tectonic shift in its approach to customers, developers and its products. It can be done. Its just really hard.