Everyone is afraid of failure. Maybe it’s human nature, but most of us are averse to fall flat on our individual faces. Yet, we’ve all heard that failure is good because trying is more important than not trying.
Robert F. Kennedy was once quoted, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Who would know that better than the young whipper-snappers who started tiny technology companies with little more than an idea and some hubris and became industry titans. Some think it’s the titans of industry who are too afraid to fail.
That Won’t Work
Failure is what causes success. Thomas Edison wrote, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” The Apple we know and love was co-founded by two young and brash Steves. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. It’s the former Steve that drove Apple to greatness. It’s the latter Steve who doesn’t think Apple will come up with the next great thing. Moonshots, so to speak.
Look at the companies like Google and Facebook and Apple and Microsoft that changed the world — and Tesla included. They usually came from young people. They didn’t spring out of big businesses.
Almost fair enough. Tesla has been around about 15 years and was co-founded by Elon Musk when he was in his early 30s; so, close enough. Except that Musk was rich when he launched Tesla. Jobs and Wozniak were not. Ditto for Google, Facebook, and Microsoft founders.
One can argue whether Tesla had the impact that Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook had on their respective industries and technology in general. One can even argue whether or not Tesla is a successful company, so I’m not sure how– or why– Steve Wozniak thinks the next great thing will come from Tesla as much as it might come from Musk.
I think Tesla is on the best direction right now. They’ve put an awful lot of effort into very risky things […] I’m going to bet on Tesla.
Tesla seems to be the 21st century Apple. Steve Jobs is gone and so is Apple’s apparent and public desire to create the next great thing (whatever that is). Apple is afraid of failure.
During Steve Jobs second coming, he brought about the iMac revolution, launched Apple Store, pushed the iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Store onto the Mac and Windows. Were those risks? Yes. Jobs bet the farm, made quick adjustments to ensure failure was not an option, and he set the stage for Apple to become the rich giant it is today. Then along came the iPhone and iPad, both huge successes for Apple that changed the nature of their respective industries and embarrassed the company’s competitors.
That was then and this is now. Jobs is gone. CEO Tim Cook runs a highly profitable ship, but the product launches are few and far between, and many of the product iterations have met with massive criticisms.
What hath Cook wrought?
Other than revenue growth, profits, stock dividends, and stock buybacks, Cooks claim to fame is Beats, Apple Watch, and AirPods– all three basic accessories to the iPhone (iPad and Mac, too). More than five years after Jobs’ death in 2011, Cook hath wrought profits but no product risks, no bet-the-farm ventures.
Wozniak hasn’t done much since leaving Apple, so his track record on predicting what will happen in technology isn’t much better than blind monkeys throwing darts, but he has a point. Thomas Edison aside, in modern technology it is youth that tends to start product revolutions, and Apple doesn’t have a young executive team, so, ipso facto alakazam! No revolutionary products. Apple’s executives are afraid to take a risk which could lead to failure.
Is not an obvious aversion to risk a step that itself leads to failure?
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts
Let us hope that Apple’s executive have courage.