Greg Joswiak may not be a familiar name amongst Apple followers, but as the company’s VP of worldwide iOS Product Marketing you’ve undoubtedly seen him in those Apple-produced iPhone and iPad videos that typically debut during major iPhone and iPad announcements.
As a 20 year veteran of Apple, Joswiak has seen Apple transform from a company on the brink of bankruptcy into a global tech powerhouse – and along the way, he’s picked up a few pearls of wisdom.
Joswiak recently spoke at a “Silicon Valley Comes to Cambridge” event in the UK where he opined on the four factors responsible for Apple’s ongoing success
1. First up is focus.
Channeling one of Steve Jobs’ famous quotes, Joswiak said that focus is as much about saying ‘no’ as it is about saying ‘yes’.
“We do very few things at Apple. We are $100bn in revenue with very few products. There are only so many grade A players. If you spread yourself out over too many things, none of them will be great.”
Indeed, one of the more important things Jobs did upon his return to Apple was to completely scale back Apple’s product line and allocate the company’s resources into a select few initiatives as a means to really deliver innovative products. Not surprisingly, “focus” was one of the key pieces of advice Jobs gave to newly minted Google CEO Larry Page, telling him that Google was turning into Microsoft in that they were releasing a slew of adequate products that weren’t great.
2. The second important tenet, Joswiak explained, is simplicity.
“Make complex things simple,” Joswiak said. “A lot of people think it means take something simple and leave it at its core essence. But it isn’t that. When you start to build something, it quickly becomes really complex. But that is when a lot of people stop. If you really know your product and the problems, then you can take something that is complex and then make it simple.”.
3. Third, Joswiak mentioned Courage.
“Courage drives a lot of decisions in business,” Joswiak explained. “ Don’t hang on to ideas from the past even if they have been successful for you. You don’t build a product just because everyone else has one.”
Apple of course has never been one to hang onto ideas and products in perpetuity simply because they used to be successful. For example, they weren’t shy about axing the iPod Mini at the height of its popularity to release the Nano. Even getting into the phone business with the iPhone was a bold and courageous move. And one can say the same thing about Apple’s foray into the retail world.
The famous motto from the British SAS seems to ring true here – “Who dares wins”. Apple is successful precisely because they’re willing to take big risks and make bold moves that sometimes defy conventional business sense.
4. And lastly, the last key lesson Joswiak mentioned was the importance of wanting to be the best.
“If you can’t enter the market and try and be the best in it, don’t enter it. You need that differentiation. At Apple if we can’t be the best then we are not interested in it.”
This quote is particularly interesting in light of the number of recent rumblings we’ve heard about Apple working on an HDTV set. Suffice it to say, Apple is only going to release a TV set if it’ll be a game-changer much in the same way that the iPhone was.