One Dud From Disaster

Nice little commentary over on BusinessWeek (not by Bruce Nussbaum) on Apple Computer, ODM sourcing, and how properly-managed design can pay dividends. I thought this comment was noteworthy:

Most CEOs are focused on achieving their financial and operational goals, and on executing a strategy. But Apple’s Steve Jobs believes his company’s ultimate advantage comes from its ability to make unique, or as he calls them, “insanely great” products.

Mr. Burrows and Bruce are in agreement, and that’s not too surprising – they’re both writing for BW after all. But it’s Mr. Burrows’ last paragraph that’s an important difference – to me at least – from what I usually take away from most of Nussbaum’s articles; it wasn’t so long ago that Apple made that crucial mistake and were on the brink of going under. Of course the argument is that Apple made that mistake while being run by financial types and not by product people. But neither Jobs nor anyone else is infallible. You just have to recall the fate of the G4 Cube, or of NEXT computer. You remember them, right? Right? I hope so. Because the industrial design profession needs to find more than one CEO to carry the torch. One misstep and we’re all royally screwed.