It’s tough to remember a time before iPhone’s. How did we carry our phone, camera, AND Discman?! Don’t remind me… cargo pants. Strangely, TBI (Time Before iPhone) was just 15 short years ago — and look at all the advancements that have been made since then. Phones have gotten smaller… then bigger again… and with each passing day, our reliance on technology continues to grow. These little devices have altered our daily lives and had a major impact on the tech industry around the world.
If you’re in the tech industry, you know just how quickly trends change — and for an organization to survive, it’s essential to meet these constant changes head-on! To do that, teams need to be agile, and leadership must have the confidence that all team members will make strong and fast business decisions.
Don’t believe me? Let’s continue with the Apple example. Although there are many origin stories for the iPhone (you know there’s a movie coming eventually…), one thing is widely agreed upon by all founding members: Apple thrives when fixing things that people hate.
What do I mean?
Do you remember the time before the iPod? Some of you might not — heck, some of you might not even remember the iPod and that makes me feel incredibly old. BUT, for those of you that do, we were forced to carry around bulky portable CD players (for those of you that don’t know or don’t remember, here’s what I mean) and a ton of CDs. Being poor in space wasn’t the biggest problem though — it was when you hit a bump in the road. Do you remember the music just cutting out? Nothing would wreck a jam sesh quicker than a divot in the street. Even worse was when you had CDs you had to cram into your backpack got scratches or cracks in them. GAME OVER. Kids these days don’t even understand the pain of song skipping. The horror. Enter the iPod. All of your music stored electronically in one pocket-sized device, and bumps? Pffft, a worry of the past. See? Apple fixing the things we hate!
But from the accounts I’ve seen, most Apple employees, including then CEO Steve Jobs, didn’t want to enter the phone space. It was a mess, and iPods were selling really well. Why would Apple want to make their best-selling product obsolete? The product it had was fine, people loved it, it was successful, and the company was doing well. Why change?
Enter business acumen! In order to continue to thrive, companies can’t just sit back and say, “Well, this is it! We’ve done all we can!” They need to continue to push boundaries — to grow. Don’t believe me?
Look at Kodak. They were the first company to develop a digital camera in 1975… but it was filmless, and its entire business model was built around film. For fear of cutting into their own business, they didn’t move forward and instead were left behind.
So, what if Apple hadn’t invented the iPhone? What if company employees didn’t have business acumen and failed to make smart, quick business decisions? Or didn’t have the skills they needed to execute on the iPhone plans? I don’t even want to imagine it. The tech space as we know, and arguably even our lives, would be so much different.
All of this to say, don’t be a Kodak. Be an Apple.
Give your people the skills they need to dream up, develop, pitch, and create the next iPhone. In the tech industry, it’s essential for your company’s survival!