Adam Lshinsky 2012年03月08日

    最新一波苹果热一触即发。所有果粉都在翘首企盼第三代平板电脑iPad 3的问世,但同时也因为iPhone 5不能在10月份上市而感到失落。(消费者已抢购了下季度的3,700万台iPhone手机,包括表现依然足够抢眼的iPhone 4S。)在发给媒体的3月7日旧金山新产品发布会邀请函中,苹果又玩了一把故弄玄虚,邀请函上写着:“一款你不得不看,不得不触摸的新产品。”这既意味着新产品可能是改进版的iPod Touch,也可能是某种苹果电视遥控装置。



    信息传达删繁就简。不论苹果公司将推出何种新产品,可以肯定的是,该产品的宣传语一定简明扼要、短小精悍。iPod是放在你口袋里的一千首歌。iPhone是苹果公司出品的最好的iPod,同时也是一部可上网的手机。当史蒂夫•乔布斯展示iPad 2时,他反复强调,我们生活在一个后个人电脑时代。对于引领平板电脑革命的苹果公司来说,这种表述简直是太有利了。而其他公司却常常将他们想传达的信息搞得既复杂又混乱,选择不同的发言人就是一个例子。苹果公司不仅精心打磨希望传达的信息,还严格限制传达信息的人。最终的结果是消费者能准确复述苹果公司的宣传口号,这是一个完整的信息反馈环路。


    亚当•拉辛斯基所著《苹果解密:美国最受赞赏的公司运营内幕》今年一月已由大中出版社(Grand Central Publishing)出版。


    The latest installment of Applemania debuts this Wednesday, when Apple is expect to unveil another wonders of consumer gadgetry. The Apple-obsessed world expects an iPad 3. But then that same community was crestfallen not to receive an iPhone 5 in October. (Mere consumers, meanwhile, snapped up 37 million iPhones the following quarter, including the clearly-magical-enough iPhone 4S.) Apple's tease to journalists in anticipation of the March 7 event in San Francisco -- "We have something you really have to see. And touch." -- might just as likely signal a revamped iPod Touch. Or perhaps we'll be able to fondle an Apple TV remote-control device.

    Whatever. The fact is that all eyes once again will be focused on the world's most valuable company. Those eyes have watched Apple's (AAPL) every move for years now, of course. Yet what's remarkable is how little the competition catches on, or catches up, to Apple's ways. Yes, Apple is special. And no, not every company can and should be like Apple, at least not in every way. But there are key aspects of the Apple playbook that other companies absolutely should emulate. Here are three:

    Say no more often. Steve Jobs was fond of saying that saying no was harder -- and more important -- than saying yes. Apple said no to making personal digital assistants, in the 90s that is. It said no for years to making a telephone-- until it said yes. Apple refused to focus on selling to businesses. It wouldn't put a USB port on the first iPad. And so on. While not every company can achieve Apple's level of Zen by rejecting seemingly good business opportunities, there isn't a company out there that wouldn't benefit by more rigorously asking itself: "Have we absolutely satisfied ourselves that we have said yes for the right reasons?" How many companies pursue revenue opportunities that any new recruit knows the company is doing to make money rather than delight customers. (An example: Jobs ridiculed the PC industry for years for the margin-boosting "crapware" that comes loaded on a PC. The crap remains.) It takes real courage to say no. But it's not like top executives aren't being compensated for brave action.

    Focus your message better. Whatever Apple unveils this week, you can be sure it will be succinctly explained and that the explanation will be summarized in a short, pithy expression. The iPod was a thousand songs in your pocket. The iPhone was the best iPod Apple had made as well as a phone with a Web browser. When Steve Jobs showed the iPad 2 he stressed repeatedly that we were living in a post-PC world. How convenient for the company leading the tablet computer revolution. Other companies muddle their message, in part by allowing multiple spokespeople to deliver it. Apple sharply limits the messengers of its sharply crafted message. The result is that its customers repeat Apple's lines exactly as Apple crafts them. It's the ultimate feedback loop.

    Make products, not money. It is counterintuitive, and almost unbelievable, but Apple's way is the antithesis of the revenue optimization of the rest of the business world. Of course Apple wants to make money, and of course profits are important. (It registered an astounding $13 billion in profits last quarter.) But Apple doesn't approach a new product from the perspective of how much money it will make. Instead, it dreams up what will be a product its own people want to use, and then its sets about making the product. Only later will Apple apply the typical levers of business -- pricing, market penetration, etc. -- to its product plans. It's similar in tone and spirit to the career advice that wise older people give to inexperienced younger people: Do what you love, and the money will follow.

    Adam Lashinsky's book, Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive---Company Really Works, was published in January by Grand Central Publishing.

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