The normalization of Apple
There's been a lot of great stuff written about the recent Apple management shake-up that saw Scott Forstall removed as head of iOS and his portfolio re-distributed to Jony Ive (design), Craig Frederighi (software), and Eddy Cue (services).
That last one in particular, by Michael Lopp, talks to the important of disruption and how it is vital to success.
The word that worried me the most in the press release was in the first sentence. The word was “collaboration”. Close your eyes and imagine a meeting with Steve Jobs. Imagine how it proceeds and how decisions are made. Does the word collaboration ever enter your mind? Not mine. I’m just sitting there on pins and needles waiting for the guy to explode and rip us to shreds because we phoned it in on a seemingly unimportant icon.
Consensus is said to be the opposite of leadership, but collaboration is a tool to achieve normalization. Under Steve Jobs, the power of personality literally revolutionized the consumer electronic world. Under Scott Forstall, the power of personality literally changed the mobile experience of a generation. Yet with incredible highs come incredible lows. Success, like everything, has a price. And that price is equal and opposite failure. MobileMe, iOS 6 Maps, Siri reliability -- the list is well known.
Absent Steve Jobs, and now absent Scott Forstall, we may have lost Apple's highest highs and the greatest greats. But we may also have lost the lowest lows and worst of the worsts that came with them. Instead of Star Wars under Lucas, we'll have Star Wars under Disney. Instead of Kubrick, we'll have Pixar.
Just like Steve Jobs did with product grids, Tim Cook has now done with people. There will still be great things, and still be terrible things, but the chances of both will be lessened by collaboration and committee.