This beautiful quote by David Allen has worked for me in so many places or projects I had to deal with. It also fits perfectly in today's Tech scene and it makes a great point for this article.
After Apple WWDC and Google I/O (other things happened this month, but let's keep it simple and focus on these two) it's becoming even more clear who is leading the Tech industry these days. Apple and Google are competing with each other in a thriving market, but it's curious they are doing it with an absolutely different vision for its business models.
Apple makes money by selling devices, they provide services, too, but its revenue comes mainly from selling hardware. While Google, on the other hand, monetise (your) data through advertising and their ecosystem. Therefore, these leads them to approach the market in a radically different way when it comes to solve similar problems. So for example, Apple aggregates as much value as possible to their devices and ecosystem, they just use the cloud like an (other) way to enrich the whole experience. While Google, again, puts its focus on the cloud engine and treats the devices as mere displays to deliver the content provided by their powerful servers, which do the heavy work in the backstage.
Apple aggregates as much value as possible to their devices and ecosystem. While Google puts its focus on the cloud engine and treats the devices as mere displays to deliver the content.
So the greatest battle within the Tech industry has two main contenders that approach the market in a really different way. And that's fine, both try to project their idea of how they think the world should be, but this is not the main difference when it comes to business strategy and vision for these two companies. What really caught my attention is the contrast when it comes to the long term vision or ambition that both try to project.
For sure I don't know what these companies are planning for the future, just a few months could prove me wrong. But it's curious how Apple seems absolutely focused (and private) about their strategy. They sit on the biggest pile of cash in Earth and you can put their entire line of products on a desk. Although you don't think about Apple as the company that will cure cancer or sponsor a Mars space mission. Apple sells devices and the next thing you expect from them is an iPhone with a bigger screen. Of course that will be a great device (probably the best you could buy), but far from what people perceives about Google, for example.
Google started less than 20 years ago as a input text form where you could search for things on the Internet. Today a lot of people think of Google as simply "the Internet" - That's this box where I type something and gives me whatever I wanted -. But setting apart this common misconception and taking some perspective, Google wants to be perceived as something deeper. Some kind of Weyland Industries that is pushing forward the limits of humanity through technology.
Just the stuff (you are allowed to see) Google is working on, in so many areas, there's no other company in the world that ambitious in just a single one. Maybe some Elon Musk venture, but definitely not at that scale: connectivity, robots, healthcare, self-driving cars and God knows what's happening at Google X. At the end of the day, the sense I get is something like: I don't know, but it's too much. I mean the only think I feel for those companies is admiration and proud, but let's get back to the title of the post: you can do anything, but not everything; even if you are Google.
I understand they've got an "army" of people in there. They get management, scale and organisation within the company better than anybody. But even though, if you really want to do something great, you need deep focus. Apple also has a great company culture, their CEO is a brilliant operations guy who is known for his obsession with efficiency and yet, they are focused in a handful of products (again, God only knows what they might have in their lab) but the perception you get from the outside is great focus in their devices, not in a crazy adventure to push forward the existence of the human race.
Apple remains more focused in their core business. In the other hand I see more caos on Google's projects, but maybe there is indeed a clear vision in a level of abstraction that I'm not aware of.
Maybe what I need is just some extra perspective. Maybe the iPhone has done more in enabling people with technology and pushing ourselves forward than some balloons and a pair of glasses that might never see the light, but again, it's a matter of focus. Even Google got it when Sergey Brin stepped up as a CEO and killed a lot of services the company had spread over the Internet without much sense. In fact their platform gained so much clarity and coherence across the board and they are still investing in this direction.
My point is that it seems Apple remains more focused in their core business. That's why when you buy an iPhone, you can think to yourself: "I just bought something the biggest company in the World spent an entire year working on. So I might be getting, at least, a piece of hardware designed and crafted by a team that was solely focused on deliver the best device to the market". Piece of mind.
In the other hand, maybe it's me that I see caos on Google's projects, whereas in fact, there's a clear vision in a level of abstraction that I'm not aware of (I sense that's more possible). Whatever of those is the right call, I think we cannot live in a more exciting moment and just the time will give us the answer. Can't wait for that to happen, but right now, I feel more like you can do anything, but not everything is the right approach.