Just Be Like Apple

Tom Webster published a typically brilliant post about business models and the dangers of the "just be like Apple" philosophy.  

I was in business school 2007 - 2009, Google was the undisputed online king and Facebook was just finding its footing.  Apple was on its way back but no where near the juggernaut it is today. 

Google sometimes came up as a teaching case study...and ALWAYS came up in the student commentary - "Well, at Google they do this..." "Google does 20% time..."  - particularly in innovation and entrepreneurship courses.

I certainly piped up with than my fair share of Google praise because I actually understood Google's business, which wasn't the norm in MBA classrooms in 2007.  

Most of my classmates didn't understand Google's business, but didn't let that stop them from jabbering about it.  It was annoying.

One of my profs finally forbade students from discussing Google, essentially pointing out that Google is a once-in-a-generation money-making machine the likes of which the world has never seen and that it is dangerous to think that all organizations should - let alone can - emulate Google's model.

So we stopped talking about Google.  And I was glad.


I was the only person in the Kenan-Flagler MBA Class of 2009 that showed up on campus with a Mac.  No joke.  I wrote a silly, whiny post about it.  

I'll bet you a dollar that there are way more Mac users than PC users in the MBA program today.  In fact, I'll bet you several dollars.

Turns out that the "Just Be Like Apple" strategy works pretty well if you've got Steve Jobs steering the ship.