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Gravity

Apple is doomed. So are you. As mortals we are used to the idea of death. We do not dwell on it even though it’s inevitable. We do know that we’ll die but what we don’t know is when we’ll die. That certainty/uncertainty makes us, more or less, do everything that we do. And so we carry on. But companies die too. And when they die is also a mystery but it’s not at all clear that their inevitable demise determines what they do. If you think you’re immortal you may live dangerously. Perhaps as a result they live shorter lives than we do.

Life expectancy for humans has been rising but for companies it has been declining. Even more curiously, the richer you are the more likely you are to live longer but the wealthier a company, the more likely it is to keel over at any time. The longest lived small businesses live over 1000 years but the longest-lived large business is probably the East India Company that made it to the ripe age of 274. But that was before 1800.

In the modern, industrial era there are very few corporations that survived over a century and the Fortune 500 shows a turnover in inhabitants that resembles that of a plague-infested medieval inner-city. In contrast to their conservative, geriatric organic owners, synthetic companies are more likely to behave like live-fast, die-young punk rockers.

So it’s no surprise that Apple, at age 40, is seen as being well past its sell-by date. And yet it seems to be saying, somewhat faintly, “I’m not dead yet”. By generating more cash than can be comprehended by human observers and by controlling assets that are well beyond the means of many countries, they (it?) is confusing us with its persistence.

The confusion is exhibited in the following graph which shows the crises in confidence by that wonderful reflector of human perception–the stock market. By voting millions of times a day, the market shows us with great precision the totality of human emotion with regard to an asset. That emotion turns rapidly negative on Apple with surprising frequency.

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 2.32.03 PM

There have been over 8 bouts of collapsing confidence (exhibited by 40% drops in value) for Apple’s shares. Consider the latest where we’ve seen a 40% drop followed by 57% increase in share price over the last 12 months. 57% might not seem extraordinary for a small company but for the world’s largest market capitalization with the corresponding colossus of cash that it straddles, the robustness of brand and the loyalty of customers, the mind boggles.

The same thing happened in 2012 and 2008 and as far as I can tell the company has not changed one iota during that time. The same people, mostly, are in charge. With the same mission statement, and even the same product line. The resources, processes and priorities–the only determinants of the essential value of a firm–have not shifted.

One could try to suggest that even if Apple is unchanged, the world around it has changed. But if anything the world has come to match Apple’s own view: more mobile vs. fixed, more design vs. generic, more integrated experiences vs. more modular DIY.

The ethos of Apple is rigid so why is perception about the company so fickle?

If the graph above reflects perception about a constant entity then perhaps it charts how the world has changed rather than how Apple has. Perhaps perception revolves around a center of gravity far heavier and permanent. Perhaps the tug-of-war between fear and greed reflects more upon us that it does upon the object being observed.

  • Luis Alejandro Masanti

    Great news! Horace still has some time to write to Asymco!
    With all due respecto… I miss your talk!

    Very good point, indeed. Maybe it would be worthwhile to make a parallel study of what was going on on the world while Apple’s shares went rollercoaster.
    There is a 2008 event… Some world crisis, maybe?

    • art hackett

      Yes, but it wasn’t even the biggest drop in absolute or percentage terms.

  • handleym

    The issue is surely how succession is handled?

    The problem with any organization (company or nation) is preventing parasites (or simply short-sighted fools) from obtaining control. If the guy currently in control is allowed to choose his successor, history shows us that he’s likely to choose incorrectly. Even otherwise very smart politicians and CEOs seem to have a crazy blind-spot whereby they see capabilities in their children or proteges where everyone else (more accurately) sees only flaws.
    Even the Five Good Emperors ended with the apparently smart Marcus Aurelius saw something no-one else ever did in his son Commodus. Or for something nearer to home, the basically smart and decent GHWB never saw fit to speak up against the Peter Principle constant elevation of GWB.

    OK, so what happens with Apple? Basically luck, I think. The whole thing could have (and nearly did) fall apart with Jobs’ first run at a successor and everything that flowed from that. Second time round we got the current executive team, obviously well picked, and young enough to be in place for a good many more years. BUT Tim Cook is 56 years old (though apparently healthy). Let’s say he’s willing to keep doing the job for another 25 years. Will he choose someone as skilled as him for his replacement? Or will he be blinded by the fact that someone he’s been working with for a while is a consummate kiss-ass and plays the role of Cook’s protege well enough to fool Cook?

    I think we see this in other tech companies. Look at IBM, at MS, at Intel. All of them “graduated” from ENGINEERING-driven companies, who primary motivation was to ship a great product first and figure out the money later, to FINANCE-driven companies, fixated on rents and market segmentation, terrified of anything representing real change because that might upset their current cushy position. Such companies can continue to make lots of money even though they’re no longer interesting. But at this stage they’re “normal” companies, and they’re going to die the normal way, gradually losing customers and relevance, till at some point they’re acquired by someone more dynamic.

    Maintaining that moonshot mentality is tough because it’s not natural for most humans, and especially not if you’re not the founder and so don’t have that sort of credibility with everyone from employees to investors.
    (All of which suggests that Tesla, Facebook, Snapchat, Google, for all their faults, still seem the most likely guys to continue delivering magic, with Apple as an honorary member of this club, the current management having the same level of cred. Meanwhile MS, IBM, Intel — not so much…
    I could riff from this to how Intel’s latest $15B acquisition seems an aggressive sell signal, the absolute picture of a lost company blundering, but you get the idea.)

    • isitjustme

      “All of which suggests that Tesla, Facebook, Snapchat, Google, for all their faults, still seem the most likely guys to continue delivering magic,”
      Sorry no magic, I have to disagree with your list of magic conjuring companies. I have seen nothing of magic yet from them other than their iteration of their last iteration.
      If hype is the magic you are referring to you are spot on.

    • You need to compete against luck. Those who compete effectively will enjoy longer lives.

      • >> You need to compete against luck.

        Great observation. It amazes me how many people seem to always see “great men” theories of history in any discussion of highly significant historical figures, and yet in business virtually no one balks at obvious and extreme “stupid manager” theories.

    • ericinaustin

      Sorry, you lost me with ” very smart politicians”

      • art hackett

        Very funny, and currently relevant, but there are occasionally very smart politicians that aren’t just sociopaths.

    • “All of which suggests that Tesla, Facebook, Snapchat, Google, for all their faults, still seem the most likely guys to continue delivering magic…”

      I agree with Tesla on your list but the others really are perfect examples of one hit wonders scrambling along blindly trying to figure out how to repeat their first hit having delivered magic only once.

      I would change your list to Tesla, Apple and Amazon.

    • If the guy currently in control is allowed to choose his successor, history shows us that he’s likely to choose incorrectly. Even otherwise very smart politicians and CEOs seem to have a crazy blind-spot whereby they see capabilities in their children or proteges where everyone else (more accurately) sees only flaws.

      And are boards any more effective than CEOs at selecting successors? I’m not sure.

      Even the Five Good Emperors …

      Julius Caesar adopted Augustus over his own son because he showed more promise of success. Wise leaders don’t in fact have a preference for their children when they show no capacities for leadership. But they can be pressured into doing it anyway.

    • art hackett

      You haven’t mentioned one of Apple’s biggest blunders – a Google leech as a board member.

  • Lalit Jagtap

    Horace, you have once again shared the great wisdom.

    Well said “But if anything the world has come to match Apple’s own view: more mobile vs. fixed, more design vs. generic, more integrated experiences vs. more modular DIY.”

  • Walt French

    Perhaps we like fireworks, a spectacular show of many rockets rising, followed by them cascading down into bright, primary-colored sparks.

    Then we tell each other what a fine show it was, go home & live our lives exactly as we did the day before, scarcely moved to patriotism, awe or Beauty. Until the next gathering, when “they” show us again their pyrotechnics.

  • Sacto_Joe

    As you put it, Horace, huge amounts of money have changed hands when these panic attacks happen. But the dynamic changed back in 2012-13. Apple responded. They started buying back that ultra-cheap stock of theirs. And so Apple now finds itself, a few short years later, having literally bought back 20% of their own stock at an average price of around $100/share.

    [virtual face slap]

    ARE YOU KIDDING, MR. MARKET???

    Nope. Mr. Market literally gifted long term shareholders one of the best bargains Apple could ever have spent their money on. And for people like myself, who are retired and no longer in a position to invest, Apple has essentially invested for me.
    And the kicker is, Apple is still investing in this way. It’s still shrinking the slices of the pie even as the pie itself grows bigger by the day.

    How did this happen? Well, at bottom it happened because the market discounted the value of Apple’s huge cash surplus. So Apple decided that it would be imaginative in the way it used it. Just like it’s imaginative in all the other ways it does business. Some of that cash went to a new dividend that has grown about 10% a year. That makes long term investors who are cautious far more interested, since it essentially turns the stock into an annuity. But a much larger chunk got earmarked to purchase AAPL and retire it.

    Meanwhile, short term investors who have had a field day up until now have continued to “slingshot” the company. But that means dropping it down to bargain basement prices now and then, and letting the long term investors AND Apple have a chance to buttress their portfolios.

    If you look, you can actually see the impact on average stock trade volumes of this removal of stock into the accounts of long term holders of AAPL. Stock trade volumes have declined drastically since the buybacks commenced. I recently calculated average share volume for December and January since 2013:

    Dec, ‘13: 84 M
    Jan, ‘14: 105 M
    Dec, ‘14: 48 M
    Jan, ‘15: 65 M
    Dec, ‘15: 42 M
    Jan, ‘16: 67 M
    Dec, ‘16: 28 M
    Jan, ‘17: 28 M

    And the average thus far for March? A lousy 22 million shares/day.

    The watering hole is drying up faster than even I expected it to….

    • neutrino23

      Stocks are a curious commodity. They are valued by the price of the most recent transaction. This price is the result of trading in the fraction of shares trading hands on a particular day. In other words, all owners are not voting on the share price, only the small minority that buy or sell on a given day.

  • hannahjs

    Graphs tell a story to those trained to read them, but every story is pregnant with hidden clues that bear other, deeper truths, if we care to look. Horace’s annotated stock graph shows Apple’s price falling when perception changes, just as apples fell from the tree and Isaac Newton contemplated a force of gravity to explain their motion. The force had to be universal, as it worked on figs and oxcarts as well as apples. Why not the moon, and the planets, as well?

    Stock graphs are a figment of social science, less convincing than Newton’s elliptical planetary orbits which were derivable from a mathematical law of gravity. But there clearly is a force trying to drag Apple down, and it does seem universal, and despite the disrepute of economics and the other social sciences, Horace is onto something. A persistent pattern like this cries out for an explanation better than Apple is doomed because things fall to earth as is their Platonic nature, or because of the law of large numbers, or because of regression to the mean.

    I agree with Horace that there may be an underlying principle to explain it, and I expect to see it explicated using the insights of neuroscience: Apple isn’t doomed, not at all; it’s that people are fundamentally insecure in the face of change, and Apple is indubitably the harbinger of change. * Please…make it stop! *

    • Stephen H

      This is so true. It’s like the winds change and the narrative with it, the stock goes down or up. Horace killed it with this analysis though!

    • >> I expect to see it explicated using the insights of neuroscience: … people are fundamentally insecure in the face of change

      This is an observation, not an explanation. The observation matters to us, the explanation doesn’t.

      • hannahjs

        I EXPECT the findings of neuroscience to spotlight social insecurity. I admit that shouldn’t imply that that’s what scientists will actually find. Why people make the choices they do, why they believe as they do, and how these are dependent on social belonging, has been under intense scrutiny for a long time. But a neurological basis for groupthink is a new wrinkle — one that I am confident will iron out some of our ancient philosophical differences by appealing to first principles.

      • >> I EXPECT the findings of neuroscience to spotlight social insecurity.

        I know. But why we should care about what you expect isn’t clear, as I was trying to point out. It’s not relevant to any topic here that I can see, other than to find personal connections with others of like mind on a tangential matter.

  • Chris Espinosa

    Quibble: Apple is not “age 43.” As a corporation, it celebrated its 40th birthday in January of this year. Even as a partnership it’s only 9 months older than that.

    • Thanks. I fixed the age figure.

      Sent from my iPad

    • art hackett

      Thank you for the blood, sweat and tears. It’s been fun, interesting and inspiring working with Apple stuff, and many software products it’s inspired over the years. The “alternatives” are generally diametrically opposed, with the expected results.

  • peto1

    Could game theory explain it? Chaos theory?

  • The other thing that is very interesting about Apple is that the core idea that Steve Jobs came up with, that it would make hip, fun computers aimed first at creative people (with the assumption that others would follow or hope to be viewed as creative) never changed. Likewise the emphasis on higher priced and beautiful designed devices. Apple only really floundered when it tried to focus on business or stopped worrying about design (or tried to compete on price).

    So many times over the years Apple was advised to lower prices or become more “professional.” That advice was always wrong.

    • >> The other thing that is very interesting about Apple is that the core idea that Steve Jobs came up with, that it would make hip, fun computers aimed first at creative people (with the assumption that others would follow or hope to be viewed as creative) never changed.

      I don’t that was the or even a core idea of Jobs. That was the means of getting Apple out of the hole they were in when he came back in ’97.

      The original idea Jobs explicitly stated for Apple (google for his ’83 Aspen speech) was that they were bringing “fractional horsepower computing”. It’s a brilliant analogy. In that same speech he pretty much predicting the iphone or ipad and the app store. The commonality of networking and email, etc. None of this had anything to do with “creative people” as the story has it. Engineers are creative too. Look at the target audience for Next. He didn’t predict the app store because it would be fun, but because people needed to try software before they buy like a lot of other things in life. And on and on. He said to an interviewer that if Visicalc had picked another platform the interviewer would be interviewing someone else. Let’s not confuse myths of Apple with the real one.

      • It was a core idea of Jobs. (Among others.) He obsessed with the original case for the Apple II, ending up with something friendly, attractive and, yes, fun. (But not completely practical. The keyboard was too high.) His insistence on not having a fan had nothing to do with “fractional horsepower computing” but knowing that fans were particularly distracting for creative work. Very early software for the Apple II, packaging and manuals had a much more playful quality that other computers at the time. More care was spent on packaging appearance. Prior to the Macintosh release, Jobs was talking about Apple creating “bicycles for the mind.” A very playful analogy. A huge mistake of the Apple III project and the Lisa Project (both of which Jobs was forced out of) was to emphasize their use for business (among other problems). By then, Apple was not viewed as being business friendly and it was very bad marketing. When Jobs came out with the original Macintosh he doubled down on the playful design and creative aspects (often at the expensive of utility), which made it an initial hit and created many of the interface aspects we still use today. Critics at the time argued that a most and windows were impractical (but they sure were fun). When Scullley pushed Jobs out, they tried to shift the Mac more as a business machine (adding slots and fans) and Apple fell into a long period of decay. The minute Jobs came back, he shifts back to the “here’s for the crazy ones” campaign aimed at creatives. Even as Apple rose again, everyone argued Jobs should try harder to appeal to the IT guys who always hated Apple, in a large part because of it’s fun/creative/playful qualities (it’s not a serious business machine). Jobs very specifically said, to heck with those guys, we’ll have to fall in line after everyone wants an iPhone because it’s so easy to use. Jobs continually, and completely went against the conventional wisdom that you needed to sell computers based on their technological features and that to appeal to business you had to strip them of to many playful features.

      • None of what you’ve said supports that it was a core idea that “it would make hip, fun computers aimed first at creative people (with the assumption that others would follow or hope to be viewed as creative)”, which is what I was disputing.

        Jobs didn’t oppose having fun and doing good business, and neither do I. “Bicycle for the mind” isn’t an inherently playful statement, unless you assume bicycles are. Ask a person without a car if commuting to work on a bicycle is more fun than doing the same in a car. See what I mean? With fans, noise drives me like a lot of people nuts, so I’ve always loved how Apple strove to make quiet machines. That has nothing to do with fun.

        >> A huge mistake of the Apple III project and the Lisa Project (both of which Jobs was forced out of) was to emphasize their use for business (among other problems). By then, Apple was not viewed as being business friendly and it was very bad marketing.

        Not so. Jobs has acknowledged explicitly what I learned from experience in the 80’s selling Macs, PageMaker, and LaserWriters. It was their bread and butter. It was business, and sometimes that’s fun, and sometimes it isn’t. If by “fun” you mean getting more work done faster and with less training time, yeah I guess so. But it’s an ad-hoc positioning of the term to support the “Apple is for creatives” meme, as if normal business doesn’t involve a great deal of creativity, as it does.

      • “Bicycle for the mind” is a playful idea. And fits with the notion of something fun (he could have said truck for the mind, or hammer for the mind, or, as was common at the time, mainframe for your desk).

        If you go through literature from the time (I was selling Apple computers and read it all) Apple was widely attacked for being a toy and for not being serious enough. It took courage for Jobs to fight against that.

        Likewise, PageMaker and the Laserwriter where tools that particularly appealed to creatives. And Jobs marketed them toward creatives. Yes, you can be creative in business, and smart businesses hire creative people. But Jobs was very smart in targeting those people much more than accountants. (Yes, Visicalc helped the original Apple II gain sales, but it ended up also hurting it, because better versions of it worked fine on other personal computers.)

        (The original Mac also had a much superior and simple networking feature for it’s time. But people never were much interested in that, even though it was quite useful for business. The artwork that came out of the Mac was what brought it fame. Just like people remember the Apple II originally had more advanced color graphics.)

        As far as NeXT, Jobs was legally not allowed to compete directly with Apple, so he focused on higher end more expensive machines, but I believe he was simply taking the lessons that he learned from the Mac and building a more powerful operating system in preparation for returning to Apple. (Or at least, fulfilling his goal of a bicycle for the mind.)

        The key difference between Apple and almost every other computer company before and since was it’s emphasis on creative details (including slick design and packaging) and tools for creatives. Add to that Apple’s long time relationships with creative people including musicians to be viewed as hip and fun.

        What was the point of Jobs playful reveal of the Macintosh, pulling it out of a bag and having it talk and make jokes, other than to market it as a fun product?

        Why did Jobs rush around giving the Mac to people like Andy Warhol and emphasizing it’s paint software? Because he knew business and technical people would respect Warhol’s views on computers? Nope, he wanted it seen as something for creative (and business people would follow eventually because they like to be cool too).

      • >> “Bicycle for the mind” is a playful idea.

        If he wanted to be “playful”, I’d think he’d have said “unicycle for the mind”. That is an inherently playful idea. They’re used in circuses, by street performers, in festivals, and as a hobby.

        Bicycles had and have real utility functions in many places. Now if you have better forms of transportation, then any lesser forms can be done for amusement. Until that happens in a given place, a bicycle is no more amusing than a hammer. There is nothing that can’t be used for amusement or play if one wishes to do so. That doesn’t make that thing something playful. Playfulness is in the mind of the user.

        >> And fits with the notion of something fun (he could have said truck for the mind, or hammer for the mind, or, as was common at the time, mainframe for your desk).

        “Bicycle for the mind” was a later metaphor. The “fractional horsepower computing” metaphor I’ve mentioned, based on his direct knowledge of factory automation, was made as early as 1983 at a conference in Aspen. I suppose now you’ll tell me factories are inherently playful ideas.

        >> If you go through literature from the time (I was selling Apple computers and read it all) Apple was widely attacked for being a toy and for not being serious enough. It took courage for Jobs to fight against that. … Likewise, PageMaker and the Laserwriter where tools that particularly appealed to creatives. And Jobs marketed them toward creatives.

        Dude, I was a salesman too at the time and sold my share all manner of businesses, and those hoping to make a business or at least money from it. And I doubt you’ve read any more of the company or other literature than I have.

        If you know the literature so well then why don’t you give quotes making your case? All you’re doing is repeating your own assumptions over and over. It would persuade anyone who didn’t already agree with the business/creative or playful dichotomy.

      • >> “Bicycle for the mind” is a playful idea.

        If he wanted to be “playful”, I’d think he’d have said “unicycle for the mind”. That is an inherently playful idea. They’re used in circuses, by street performers, in festivals, and as a hobby.

        Bicycles had and have real utility functions in many places. Now if you have better forms of transportation, then any lesser forms can be done for amusement. Until that happens in a given place, a bicycle is no more amusing than a hammer. There is nothing that can’t be used for amusement or play if one wishes to do so. That doesn’t make that thing something inherently playful. And we can’t attribute an inventor’s sense of humor or playfulness to a tool. If Oppenheimer had a since of humor, and used it in his work, would that make the atom bomb a playful idea in any way?

        >> And fits with the notion of something fun (he could have said truck for the mind, or hammer for the mind, or, as was common at the time, mainframe for your desk).

        “Bicycle for the mind” was a later metaphor of his. The “fractional horsepower computing” metaphor I’ve mentioned, based in his own words explicitly on his knowledge of factory automation, was made as early as 1983 at a conference in Aspen. In it he explicitly referenced the mainframe (time-sharing) computers. The reference to mainframes by Jobs could not have been more explicit. You’re putting binary distinctions in Jobs head that weren’t there. Factories surely aren’t inherently playful ideas, even toy factories.

        >> If you go through literature from the time (I was selling Apple computers and read it all) Apple was widely attacked for being a toy and for not being serious enough. It took courage for Jobs to fight against that. … Likewise, PageMaker and the Laserwriter where tools that particularly appealed to creatives. And Jobs marketed them toward creatives.

        Yes the Mac was sneered at for being a toy, but was a lie wasn’t it? Are you suggesting it was partly true? Not sure you can have it both ways here man. This lie meant that it was partly a toy? That’s a silly suggestion. Look, I was a salesman too at the time and sold my share of MacPlus/LaserWriter/Pagemaker/LocalTalk combos to all manner of businesses, and those individuals hoping to make a business or at least money from it. And I doubt you’ve read any more of the company or other literature than I have.

        If you know the literature so well then why don’t you give actual examples where it did in making your case? All you’re doing is repeating your own assumptions over and over. It would persuade anyone who didn’t already agree with the business/creative or playful dichotomy. Jobs would never have made this dichotomy, and didn’t to my knowledge.

        He didn’t make an artificial split such as you’re doing. He made machines he thought would *unleash the creativity in us all*. You’re claiming certain disciplines or jobs are creative and others aren’t. Can you show me a Steve Jobs quote that supports this? I doubt it. Yours is a highly romantic idea, and you’re attributing it to Jobs. But you’re projecting your own ideas onto him.

      • Macropundit

        Mackay Bell:

        >> “Bicycle for the mind” is a playful idea.

        If he wanted to be “playful”, I’d think he’d have said “unicycle for the mind”. That is an inherently playful idea. They’re used in circuses, by street performers, in festivals, and as a hobby.

        Bicycles had and have real utility functions in many places. Now if you have better forms of transportation, then any lesser forms can be done for amusement. Until that happens in a given place, a bicycle is no more amusing than a hammer. There is nothing that can’t be used for amusement or play if one wishes to do so. That doesn’t make that thing something inherently playful. And we can’t attribute an inventor’s sense of humor or playfulness to a tool. If Oppenheimer had a since of humor, and used it in his work, would that make the atom bomb a playful idea in any way?

        >> And fits with the notion of something fun (he could have said truck for the mind, or hammer for the mind, or, as was common at the time, mainframe for your desk).

        “Bicycle for the mind” was a later metaphor of his. The “fractional horsepower computing” metaphor I’ve mentioned, based in his own words explicitly on his knowledge of factory automation, was made as early as 1983 at a conference in Aspen. In it he explicitly referenced the mainframe (time-sharing) computers. The reference to mainframes by Jobs could not have been more explicit. You’re putting binary distinctions in Jobs head that weren’t there. Factories surely aren’t inherently playful ideas, even toy factories.

        >> If you go through literature from the time (I was selling Apple computers and read it all) Apple was widely attacked for being a toy and for not being serious enough. It took courage for Jobs to fight against that. … Likewise, PageMaker and the Laserwriter where tools that particularly appealed to creatives. And Jobs marketed them toward creatives.

        Yes the Mac was sneered at for being a toy, but was a lie wasn’t it? Are you suggesting it was partly true? Not sure you can have it both ways here man. This lie meant that it was partly a toy? That’s a silly suggestion. Look, I was a salesman too at the time and sold my share of MacPlus/LaserWriter/Pagemaker/LocalTalk combos to all manner of businesses, and those individuals hoping to make a business or at least money from it. And I doubt you’ve read any more of the company or other literature than I have.

        If you know the literature so well then why don’t you give actual examples where it did in making your case? All you’re doing is repeating your own assumptions over and over. It would persuade anyone who didn’t already agree with the business/creative or playful dichotomy. Jobs would never have made this dichotomy, and didn’t to my knowledge.

        He didn’t make an artificial split such as you’re doing. He made machines he thought would *unleash the creativity in us all*. You’re claiming certain disciplines or jobs are creative and others aren’t. Can you show me a Steve Jobs quote that supports this? I doubt it. Yours is a highly romantic idea, and you’re attributing it to Jobs. But you’re projecting your own ideas onto him.

  • berult

    Uncertainty, …the killer app of humanity’s evolutionary zeitgeist.

    Most uncertainly, as ensconced in an non-deterministic principle.

    Athens should have heeded the relentless questioning of its sophistic degeneration. Apple organically has, Socratic millennia later,…via the Jobs zeitgeist equivocation.

    And the market has taken stock, …most uncertainly.

    berult.

  • MattF

    It could just be a random process. Suppose e.g., there is a stochastic function Doubt(x), and when Doubt > some threshold, Apple’s share price goes down. One may note that there’s an underlying trend of Apple’s share price going up, but if signal + noise works as a model, there’s no need for deep thoughts. It’s the way of the world.

  • vincent_rice

    Is it not Apple’s very stability, recognised by a few well informed ‘masters of the universe’ that allows some extremely well executed and profitable market manipulations? Not the whole story of course but undoubtedly part of it.

    • >> Is it not Apple’s very stability, recognised by a few well informed ‘masters of the universe’ that allows some extremely well executed and profitable market manipulations?

      By “well executed and profitable market manipulations” do you mean buy and hold? Because that’s the only brilliance I see in those who’ve maximized profits from the phenomenon of Apple.

  • carrazy

    I enjoyed your post and appreciate your insight. The final thought was particularly notable. I wondered if the final sentence should read “Perhaps the tug-of-war between fear and greed reflects more upon us than it does upon the object being observed.” ‘than’ instead of ‘that’

  • RE: MACROPUNDIT:

    “If he wanted to be “playful”, I’d think he’d have said “unicycle for the mind”. That is an inherently playful idea. They’re used in circuses, by street performers, in festivals, and as a hobby.”

    Most people can’t ride a unicycle and they are difficult to learn. Saying “unicycle” doesn’t indicated playfulness, it speaks of goofy and impractical. If you don’t like the word playful, Jobs, and others on the Mac marketing teams, often talked about fun and creative.

    “”Bicycle for the mind” was a later metaphor of his. The “fractional horsepower computing” metaphor I’ve mentioned, based in his own words explicitly on his knowledge of factory automation…”

    Jobs could hold more than one idea at a time. A desire to market computers to creatives doesn’t conflict with “fractional horsepower.” He is quoted as saying “bicycle of the mind” before the release of the original Mac.

    “If you know the literature so well then why don’t you give actual examples where it did in making your case? All you’re doing is repeating your own assumptions over and over.”

    No, you aren’t responding to examples I’m offering like Jobs reaching out to Andy Warhow as part of a publicity push. There’s no point in me presenting you with a blue dog if you’re going to simply say it’s not blue and it’s not a dog. (Like with the bicycle example.)

    If you’re seriously interested in my perspective on the time, you can read my iBook (which is free) and has a little history, some stories about the Mac and creatives, quotes from the time and also… some silly cartoons created on the Mac about the Mac:

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/mactoons/id1198447795?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo=4