The Asymco Trilogy With Horace Dediu 1 – New Market Disruption by analyseasia


Horace Dediu, current research fellow of the Clayton Christensen Institute and founder of joined us for an epic and insightful discussion focusing on few key interesting topics: (a) new market disruption theories, (B) Apple in China and the luxury market and (c) the Japanese automotive industry and how it shapes up against disruption from Tesla, Uber and Apple. In the first of the trilogy, Horace discussed the origins of and also why he has used Apple as the lens to understand innovation and technology disruption. We also traced back to other Apple-like companies in the past such as Sony in Asia, and look at how Apple and Pixar has displayed a different kind of “DNA” against innovative companies in the past. Last but not least, we discussed the evolution and future of Google and where it might lead them to.

Listen to it here.

  • Ray

    Good points about Google’s lack of feedback from the market necessary to build new businesses/products. One could say that they have the best database of wants and needs from humankind, but somehow they don’t leverage it to create new businesses.

    • Walt French

      This recalls the “faster horses” story. Knowing what people use today may not be that useful in designing for tomorrow.

      • Sacto_Joe

        I don’t know why, but this just brought a picture to my mind of a freeway teeming with horses and horse-drawn carriages; “fast lane” reserved for those on horseback, “slow lane” for wagons hauling goods, etcetera. A picture of an alternate reality, I guess.

  • WFA67

    In attempting to give a name to Apple’s ‘philosophy’, I find terms like algorithm, doctrine, principles, values, etc. accurate, but still a bit on the heady side. While I imagine these can be transferred or taught, it seems to me that this training works only if it awakens something already in the “students.” There is a sine qua non.

    What Steve gave us, I think, was the revelation of our human delight in the very finely conceived and crafted, mindful that there is a human being as the end user.

    Thus the term I would use to name Apple’s philosophy is the same used by David Carr in the headline for his last NYT article before he died:

    “The Magic in Apple’s Devices? The Heart”

    • neutrino23

      I don’t agree that Steve had to waken those values in people. There are lots engineers and designers who have aspirations to make wonderful products. My take is that Steve gave his engineers, designers and marketers the space to do good things. Nearly all companies now are driven by the bottom line. They may give lip service to quality, to serving the customer and such but they also try to squeeze every nickel out of the process that they can. I see departments rewarded with bonuses for saving money, not for shipping things on time. My take is that it was Steve’s force of personality that allowed Apple to make the leap of faith to focus on the customer and the product and trust that the dollars will follow. I think this is why Apple is so difficult to copy. It is hard for a large company to manage except to track to the dollars.

      • WFA67

        Thanks for rounding out my view. I’ve no experience of the realities of the business world, so appreciate your amplification.

        Let’s hope Apple can stay limber.

      • santoscork

        Hmm, I think Steve wanted to focus on product, incredible product … the customer would follow, meaning here, the customer would come knocking on the door for product. Maybe I misread your statement, I apologise if that is the case but I think there are some good observations you made.

        I think Apple’s success is such because they believe and act on delivering the best experience they can, they don’t cut corners or thrive on ‘good enough’. I don’t think ‘good enough’ is even in their vocabulary.

        I also view Apple as a genuine, honest and engaged brand. They are excited and believe in what they do, there is a sense of great pride in their mission. It’s clear when they speak about their core values, it’s clearer still when the principles of the company go out of their way to speak on issues of democracy, human rights and civil liberties. The company is clearly interested in setting examples beyond product, their business, is their product, their business, like any business can impact all of us positively or negatively, they are clearly aiming for the former.

        In summary, Apple is beyond product in my view. They are about setting harmony with itself and with the world on which it conducts its business and with the inhabitants of this earth, man or otherwise. I think they are trying to be really great.

      • neutrino23

        I totally agree with you. My point was that we often focus on the design aspect of Apple but there are other, less visible, aspects that are equally or more important.

        Apple could not be successful without Tim Cook and many others like him who manage Herculean feat of manufacturing tens of millions of iPhones each quarter.

        Many designers and engineers would love to be able to make products like Apple does. Many companies would love to produce great products like Apple does. A lot of the work Horace and others have done is to understand why Apple is so good at being Apple and why other companies don’t copy them.

        One of the less visible things that Steve did was to create the climate at Apple that allowed, even demanded, excellence in product design and manufacture.

        In a large company it is hard to measure progress. One thing that can be measured is money. You see nearly all big companies focused on their financial progress. They hand out bonuses based on the stock going up or profits going up, or revenue going up. Rarely do you see people get bonuses because customer satisfaction scores are up, or because the number of late shipments fell.

        When the chief decision makers are accountants or MBAs or other financial types it affects the behavior of the entire company.

        One of the huge reveals for Apple in this regard was when Steve killed the iPod Mini and replaced it with the iPod Nano. At the time the iPod Mini was the best selling MP3 player around. It wasn’t suffering, yet Steve killed it and replaced it with something better. That was stunning. If financial types were running Apple that couldn’t have happened. They would squeeze the product for several more quarters to get all the profit they could while spending less on R&D.

        I’m not taking anything away from Steve and Jonny Ives and others who sweated the details to make great products. I’m saying that there were many other threads in play at the same time.

      • Mark

        Steve didn’t have an MBA. Horace has spoken the truth about how in business school what they learned for decades was that design didn’t matter. Steve didn’t need to awaken any engineers or code bangers to the fact that this was BS, but Wall Street still can’t grasp it. He created the space for what everyone knows should happen could happen, and then demanded it.

        I’ve little patience for those who wish to be mystical about this. As a retail computer salesman in the late 80’s (after Job’s departure) selling IBM PCs and Macs I could see how Apple’s operating principles were different. Whether they’d live long enough for it to matter or not was the only question. Steve came back in barely enough time to allow the principles still in Apple to continue until it finally was the greatest business success story in many decades. But the seeds were there from the beginning.

      • I absolutely agree with you. There are a lot of subtleties in OS X, that is clear.

    • Space Gorilla

      “mindful that there is a human being as the end user.”

      Great thought. So obvious and yet so many companies don’t truly consider the user. Mindful. Yes. That’s the right word.

    • santoscork

      I haven’t heard Horace’s podcast yet but the points you make, even out of context, have a solid foundation, they ring a good bell.