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    Entries in Apple (4)


    Casting Vision that Matters

    Vision is one of the most under-valued characteristics in modern day leadership.  In the fast-paced "get it done" environment that we work and live in everyday, casting a 2-year vision is difficult...casting a 10-year vision seems impossible.  "How could I cast a 10-year vision, when my business field didn't even exist 10 years ago?"  A valid question...but not a relevant one.

    If vision is defined as laying out a plan and path for what you and your organization will DO over the next 10 is nearly impossible to have long-term vision in today's world.  If that was the definition, the writers and producers of "Back to the Future" would have us all commuting on hover boards and eating protein bars as our only food source. is a plan or path of what you will DO...but rather a plan or path of what you will BE.

    While vision has some elements of things you service offerings or larger space requirements, it is funamentally based on what you will be and who you will become.

    Here's a quote from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

    "We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that's not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well."

    If we define clearly who we are and what we are committed to being defined as, the micro details and mission of our organization will follow.

    For example; If you build a profitable business model, then make decisions based on a faithfulness to that business model rather than the daily/weekly/monthly ups and downs of the market or industry, you will be successful over the long term.

    Taking a longer term approach to casting vision is critical.  To often to leaders get sucked into the mire of daily operations that they convince themselves that "growing by 10% next year" is them casting vision.  This is a mission.  A mid-level managers can do that.  Look that the trends, examine your pipeline and out spits 10%.  Instead, casting out "we want to grow from a localized business to a national organization within 5 years" commits a path and gives your team a goal to build their management plan towards.

    Don't cast mission...cast vision


    Techno Treats - The iPad Keyboard

    I'm always on the look out for great products that allow me to work with greater efficiency.  I love my iPad.  I know there are lots of people that mock them, but whether its reading on the Kindle App, cycling through PDF's and documents at a board meeting or just email and word's been fantastic for me! 

    Recently I discovered a case for the iPad that doubles as a keyboard.  The colleague that showed it to me has had nothing but positive things to say about so I had to get one, and it's been great!  You can buy one on Amazon (cheaper than Best Buy).  Definitely worth the money if you plan on taking notes or using your iPad for more than just browsing.  Check it out HERE.



    A Customer's Problem IS Your Problem

    I was driving home the other week...the day Apple failed to meet the standards set by the rumor mill (launching iPhone4GS rather than iPhone5), thinking about Apple Inc, product innovation and of all things...customer service.

    Customer service is a funny thing.  I wrote about it more HERE, but wanted to touch on another aspect as it related to the purpose behind customer service.  Companies generally put hard-nosed "never-back-down" types at the desk to meet the customer's needs while not giving away the store and its margins.  Very soon I will write about my extraordinary experience with Expedia and their customer service...but until then, I will say this:  Customer Service is a function of sales...plain and simple.  Customer service uses the guise of fixing problems and attempting to help the customer to feel loves...BUT it is ALL about sales.  If you want to sandbag your chance at getting top-notch customer service, make them feel like you're going to leave and never come back.

    Customer Service uses retention as a tool to sell.  I feel better because they fixed my problem, so I will come back.  I had an experience a few months ago at Harry Rosen.  I bought a few pairs of dress pants and within a few weeks, they were falling apart.  I took them back and the sales guy gave me all brand new I bought another pair as well.  Now subsequently, they fell apart and I'm never going back to Harry Rosen...but you get the idea!

    So knowing this, what opportunities did Apple miss?  Well, the rumors were that iPhone5 was coming out.  Clearly Apple knew that was not true...MONTHS ago.  But true to form, Apple allowed hype to trump good business and their stock and brand took a hit.  Twitter went crazy and RIM stock climbed out of a bit of a pit all because Apple could not (or would not) seize the opportunity to "make lemonade out of lemons."

    This didn't surprise me as I remember all the commotion over the antenna issues with iPhone4 and Steve Jobs' famous "So don't hold it Like that then.." comment that had customers up in arms.  The funny thing is's true.  If you just don't hold your phone in that one specific way...everything is fine.  Problem is, it sends mixed messages to customers:

    - Our product isn't the best, so make do with what you have.
    - Our product isn't sophisticated, so slap on some tape and move on.
    - We hate you, our customer.

    In spite of the eventual outcome (overall bad product) the guy at Harry Rosen made me feel like my business was very important and that he wanted me to be happy.  I knew that with thin margins, to replace 3 pairs of best he would be breaking even, and that is why I appreciated the gesture.

    Whether it's a defective product or the customer is just an idiot...their problems ARE your problems.  I don't like the saying "The customer is always right" because, it's not true.  Often the customer is wrong.  Lying to say the TV had that crack in it or demanding unreasonable discounts, the customer is NOT always right.  The customer IS however, the customer and can take their business to one of many competitors who will then take their abuse and make the same decision you have today.

    Serve the customer by exceeding their expectations.  Not necessarily in a monetary way, but at a minimum in your responsiveness to their concerns and by demonstrating a true desire to help them fix their problem.


    Techno Treats

    What kind of self-professed Apple fanatic would I be without talking about some Apple products?!

    I wanted to write a quick blurb on the iPad.

    I own the iPad "1".  I don't fully grasp why Apple does these 0.5 updates (i.e mini hardware updates that allow them to come out with a new product with barely any innovation), but alas, the ipad 2 came out with it's double camera, and USB port.  I am still a fan of the iPad, despite being a pretty large critic right from the get-go. 

    Here's some things that work for me:

    1. Portability.  It's small...seriously.  I have a hard-shell black leather case on mine and when I take it our of my brief case and place it on the boardroom table, many people think it's just a moleskin.  I can take it everywhere, and as I have the 3G version, it allows me most of the conveniences of a laptop with some having limited functionality.

    2. It's fun.  I mess around on my iPhone when I'm bored, waiting, or just looking to kill some time.  One of the great things (and a frequent joke) is that the iPad really is a big iPhone...but better.  With full access to the App Store...the Birds in "Angry Birds" are just a little angrier...and I like that.

    3. It's functional.  I have written a speech, countless emails, done presentations, taken notes, surfed the web, etc, etc.  Although it doesn't have the full functionality of a computer (I can't use Photoshop, and typing is just not as easy), it does allow me to use most of the tools I need when I'm on the go.

    4. The kids love it.  For all of the above's great with kids.  We take it on the road, on the plane or just around the house.  I have movies, games and books for the girls on it and we can use it to keep them occupied when needed.

    All in all, it was a great buy, and I have found great use for it.  Here's a few quick reasons why you SHOULDN'T buy one:

    - You don't travel and work at a desk all day
    - You don't have kids
    - You are a graphic designer or your work relies heavily on media design and editing
    - You think it's dumb