Apple is Out of Gas

by Colin Berkshire

I write about Apple a lot because I think they are an excellent management example. Everybody knows about them so they can observe my points using their own experience.

It’s very clear that Apple is out of gas. When Steve jobs was around, he could shock and amaze us with new category products every few years. The colorful iMacs broke the mold on styling. The iPod broke the mold on Walkman-type players. The iPhone broke the mold on phones. The iPad broke the mold on laptops and netbooks.

Apple hasn’t broken the mold on anything since Steve’s passing. They are out of gas.

This is much like what happened to the Walt Disney company when its founder Walt died. The company finished off the projects remaining after Walt’s death and then floundered. Disney was at such a high in the 1960s that it took a decade before the slide was noticed, and by another five years they were clearly in trouble.

It’s been more than five years since Steve has passed. I think were clearly into the point where his momentum has flagged. Just like after Walt’s death the company is enormously profitable, but the magic is gone. The company is riding on momentum.

Tim Cook is an administrator, not a leader. He’s a great operations guy. But like most great operations people, he doesn’t really have a vision. He can execute the plan perfectly, but he also can get lost in the woods.

Look at any up and coming company and what they all have is leadership…somebody at the top who has a true vision. That vision needs to be fresh, exciting, and something that people want to align with. Apple is no longer a “trend.”

Does your company have an administrator or a leader?