Way back in the last century, back to my days in a small community college, I learned about argumentation and debate. Simply put, one can argue anything with plausibility, passion, and even use seemingly valid examples and facts. And be completely and totally wrong.
A Coin’s Other Side
Hey, lawyers pull that trick all the time, right, and who engages in more argumentation and debate than the legal establishment. Well, except for the parts where they use fiction to obscure facts.
Here comes a fatal flaw in an example of argumentation and debate. John Kehit:
Operations are supposed to be what Tim Cook does best. Under Steve Jobs he was the Chief Operating Officer at Apple. And while he may have done a great job then, he is a failure at it as CEO.
That’s the premise; perfect for a good debate. It even comes with facts yet it misses an important component (one which you don’t see on the raging political debates in media).
There are two reasons you have to conclude he is awful at operations.
Only two? Is there any chance we can get comparisons of the two to other companies? Of course not.
First, he has failed to keep the trains (i.e., products) running on time. Secondly and almost importantly, he has placed all his operational eggs (i.e., main sources of production revenue) in one hostile, communist Chinese basket.
So, what’s missing from the premise and argument? Kheit lists all the late trains; MacBook and Mac mini and Mac Pro not getting updated in years (didn’t seem to hurt sales, though). HomePods were late to Amazon’s Echo party. Oh, and AirPower still isn’t here. Yet.
Proof positive that Cook is a lame operations guy. Again, though, what’s missing from the argument?
How does one describe failure? If the definition is shareholder value, revenue growth, profits, et al, then Cook isn’t a failure. He’s a frickin’ genius. Do the math. If the definition is customer base, then Cook has taken Apple where co-founder Steve Jobs could not. A billion customers.
Alright, what about that so called Chinese Connection? Shallow though it is, I like this portion of the argument because it tugs at the heart strings.
Perhaps the most damning failure of operations at Apple are putting essentially all of its operations into a single basket, namely China. Apple is one patent injunction away from not being able to manufacture any iPhones.
Seem plausible, no?
What if you compare Apple’s Chinese connection to, 1) reductio ad absurdum, and, 2) every competitor that manufactures (assembles) competing products in China? Does not that same ridiculous argument apply to Apple’s competitors?
Here’s how the former applies to the latter (Chinese connection to reductio ad absurdum):
In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for “reduction to absurdity”), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin for “argument to absurdity”) or the appeal to extremes, is a form of argument that attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove one by showing that if it were not true, the result would be absurd or impossible
The so-called supporting evidence to the premis may seem possible, perhaps even plausible, but it is ridiculous on its face. All the parties involved in such a ridiculous situation have too much to lose for the Chinese connection to fail. Remember, Apple’s iPhone owns more than half the entire smartphone industry’s revenue. A huge number of Chinese jobs would disappear in such an event.
Without an acceptable definition of terms, the argument cannot continue, and if so, the debate does not exist.
We may want new Macs every year, or iPhones at half the current price, and maybe even free iPads for all, but Apple works in the real world, not in the fantasy world where fiction writers disguised as journalists can gin up controversies that sound plausible but lack the proper credentials and qualifications for a real argument.