The Apple Way Management Lessons : 10. Flog The Bad Guys (Jeffrey L Cruikshank) by Yudha Argapratama

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There were other bad guys in Apple’s past—notably Intel, the chipmaker that Apple loved to hate, but has recently embraced with a vengeance. For now, let’s pull together and summarize the lessons about flogging bad guys:

Flog the bad guys.

Why has Apple cultivated the notion that there are dark forces lurking out there in the world, against whom the company (and its supporters) must struggle? Easy: To reinforce the

cult, to create interesting dynamics and good story lines in advertising campaigns, and—it must be said—to obscure the fact that many of the company’s problems are of its own making.

Sometimes that’s a good strategy. Sometimes it’s not.

When flogging the bad guys, combine humor and terror.

In other words, make people laugh even as you’re making them nervous. (What if I woke up one morning, and my Mac was gone, and I was staring at a C-prompt on an old DOS machine?) It’s an effective combination, like hot-and-sour soup.

Don’t burn that last bridge.

Remember: The enemy of your enemy is your friend. If there’s some chance that some day you’ll

have to climb into bed with IBM, it’s best to flog IBM judiciously.

When in doubt, use cute kids and border collies.

What did W.C. Fields say? “Anyone who hates dogs and children can’t be all bad”? Well, this is advice from the opposite direction. Enlist the forces of good and innocence in your struggle against the bad guys.

If all else fails, sell yourself to a bad guy.

Then be prepared to get booed and hissed by the people whom you’ve been steeping in bad guy philosophy.

Beat the bad guys at your own game, not theirs.

This is simply a nice way of saying what Steve Jobs had to tell the unruly crowd at the 1997 Macworld Expo in Boston: Some of these problems are of our own making. Past a certain point, we can’t blame it on the bad guys.

Don’t flog your prospective customers.

Depicting the people who aren’t buying your products as small, mindless, suicidal, furry animals is a bad strategy, especially if the real problem is your products’ shortcomings. Again, spend more energy fixing those problems than opening new bad guy fronts.

Source : The Apple Way. 12 Management Lessons from the World’s Most Innovative Company. Jeffrey L. Cruikshank.McGraw-Hill. 2006

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