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ניהול אחר אפל: צבא התפוחים הסודי: An article on Apple in Calcalist

ניהול אחר אפל: צבא התפוחים הסודי.

An article by Dor Zach, correspondent at Calcalist, the largest economic newspaper in Israel.

I offered some thoughts on Apple’s current strategy, and the various misconceptions about the company.

(Hebrew only so if anyone wishes to summarize it in comments, it would be helpful to others).

  • Austin

    The title of the article is something like “A Different Kind of Management: Apple’s Secret Army”.

    The article is about Apple’s management style. The writers describe Apple as secretive and unique compared to more traditional companies including tech companies like Google and Facebook. They ask Horace to help explain this. Horace suggests that Apple’s product development process is based on constant, and behind the scenes, iteration and that even Apple may not no where this may take them. It’s this secret development process (vs Google’s more public displays) that inspires so may rumours around Apple. And that, inevitably, it looks like Apple is doing nothing until the moment they announce something new. Horace continues, describing Apple as a united company entirely focused on products. The title of the article is a reference to Horace’s comparison of Apple to an army where resources are marshalled where ever they are required in order to get the job done. The company is not divided in to silos like a traditional company. In short, the secret to Apple’s success is innovation in management and organization.

    The writers ask Horace about cultural changes at Apple since Tim Cook’s succession. Horace notes that Steve created an organization committed to producing great products and that, although Tim may have made some changes, this focus on making delightful products appears to continue.

    The writers asks how other companies can adopt Apple’s culture. Horace answers that management theory is still at an early stage and so it’s difficult to come up with answers. But he does point out that Apple is committed to long term planning and that might be a key factor to look at.

    The next section is titled The Analyst from Helsinki, Like the Oracle from Omaha. This is a biography of Horace with quotes from this blog. Horace was born in Romania, immigrated to Italy, then the United States. Horace studied at Tufts and received an MBA at Harvard where he studied under Clayton Christensen. Met his wife, moved to Finland, worked at Nokia, and has today built his Asmyco empire.

    Horace likes working out of Finland because it lets him take a step back and analyze events with a clear mind. They compare him to Warren Buffet who lives in Omaha for similar reasons.

    In the final section they ask Horace about the perception out there that Apple is losing ground to Google on innovation. Horace explains that Apple cannot just throw products at wall to see what sticks like Google does. People have high standards for Apple and therefore they must focus on quality. He says this is to Apple’s advantage and as soon as people stop caring the company will suffer.

    Horace continues by identifying two areas that Apple may be looking at, wearables and smart TVs. But he reminds us that Apple won’t release anything until it’s great and that might be never, especially in regards to a Smart TV.

    The final question they ask Horace is about Apple’s acquisitions. They note that Apple has acquired several Israeli companies in recent years. Horace replies that Apple is able to provide these acquisitions with confidence and support to bring their work to fruition and that Apple has a history of nursing breakthroughs.

    • http://about.me/alihanif Ali Hanif

      Thanks for the translation Austin!

    • marcoselmalo

      Thank you for the summation. It sounds like the interviewers asked some good questions.

    • hmcb

      Yes, much appreciated :)

  • Sacto_Joe

    …and the lightbulb comes on. For me this article becomes the bookend to another article I read recently in AppleInsider, entitled “Antitrust monitor rebuts Apple accusations of ‘unconstitutional’ investigation'” ( see http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/12/30/antitrust-monitor-rebuts-apple-accusations-of-unconstitutional-investigation ). Per that article, in a declaration filed yesterday by court-appointed anti-trust monitor Michael Bromwich, Mr. Bromwich veritably rails against Apple’s lack of cooperation.

    Clearly, Mr. Bromwich is coming up against the Apple culture that Horace is speaking of here.

    • marcoselmalo

      Without reading that article but knowing what I know, I agree. Apple is likely one of the most focused companies out there. They would likely have cooperated with Bromwich if he stayed within his purview (monitoring Apple for compliance with antitrust law for a period of time), rather than acting as a “court investigator” on an open ended fishing expedition. Likely the greatest problem Apple has with with Bromwich is that is a distraction and a nuisance.

  • Ryan

    Your wikipedia says you have a masters in computer engineering. Do you think that has given you an advantage in your career as an analyst vs other analysts who don’t come from a technical background? Do you think because computer engineering is both hardware/software it gives you a unique perspective into a company like apple? Thanks.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I would not say I have an advantage, I just may have a different point of view. You can get a different point of view from many backgrounds. For instance, art, classics, Confucianism, or poetry.

      The problem with financial analysis as a profession is that there is homogeneity of background and hence group-think. What the practice could benefit from is a diversity of backgrounds. Scientific, engineering as well as the “liberal arts.”

      By background may have CS, MS EE degrees but I also took all the foundation classes for a Liberal Arts degree. My advice would be to cast a wide net when it comes to education. Putting diverse ideas together leads to some potentially unique insights.