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Another Executive Churn at Apple : Bob Mansfield

31 Jul

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So in the past 5 days, one rumor from MACRUMOUR apparently proved true and shook the tech world –  and in particular in context of Apple – again. This time its the sudden disappearance of Bob Mansfield(SVP, Technology) Bio from Apple’s website.

As this started to spread, it became more and more true and very soon the following was reported by AllThingsD :

“Bob is no longer going to be on Apple’s executive team, but will remain at Apple working on special projects reporting to Tim,” company spokesman Steve Dowling told AllThingsD.

He declined any further explanation, refusing to comment on the reasons behind Mansfield’s abrupt demotion or whether Apple plans to appoint a new SVP of technologies.

One may ask whats the big deal if some changes happened at a company’s website. Well for a public listed company like Apple, whose market cap at one point was about to hit Trillion $$$, which is by far the most high profile tech company on this planet and whose every move is closely followed, scrutinized and ripped away of thousands of journalists, web-sites, blogs etc this is no small development.

Everything Apple does there is a very strong reason or logic behind it, doesn’t matter if that reasoning or logic doesn’t make sense to the world at large. In-fact one may argue that this works good for Apple. People may think that they don’t understand why Apple is doing it, but if Apple is doing it so there should be something about it! Yeah this is RDF at work of which the foundation was laid by Steve Jobs!

What makes the news even more significant is that just last year it was reported that Bob is leaving Apple and after exactly 2 months it was again reported that he is staying back.  Well that staying back cost Apple $85 million as that was the price Tim Cook paid to make Bob stay! Even that time it was told that he would be working on “future products” and this time its “special projects”.

Apple..always surrounded in mysteries and clouded with secrets.

But there is definitely more than meets the eye. After Jobs left earth to enlighten the other world in 2011, Apple has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Stock price getting hammered (in the last one year Apple’s stock has dipped by more than 50%), lack of new innovation and new products. iPhone 5 which was expected to be a game-changer again, didn’t even rattle anyone besides being more slimmer, more lighter and slightly bigger. iPad is more or less the same. Besides the new mini iPad, there is actually nothing new at Apple besides prosaic updates of its existing hardware line and to an extent to its software (iOS).

At the same time its biggest rival for software – Android and Hardware – Samsung is blazing on all fronts. Android subscriptions is growing exponentially(900 million +), and Samsung thanks to its S3/S4/Note series is doing exceedingly well.

This makes Apple all the more in the news in the context of lack of innovation being its biggest lacuna at the moment among others. Between the very first iOS and iOS 6 at present, there is no sea-change. Yes iOS has evolved significantly but still its more of the same. Or may be because Apple is so hell bent(good for customers!) on providing the best User Experience its very measured in the changes it brings to its users. And due to its flawless execution of changes, very soon it becomes part of our everyday mobile computing and ceases to be something new! When iPhone 5 event was announced, everyone was expecting a major change in terms of hardware, but all Apple did was made the iPhone taller thereby increasing the screen size to 4″ from the existing 3.5″ and of-course making it more slimmer and lighter, which needless to say is incredible hardware engineering at work. Combining design and technology has always been Apple’s forte though technology wise its lacking.

It is no doubt that Steve Jobs was the thread which tied Apple magically and brought the best out of people. After his demise, changes were expected, but the way its been unfolding, Jobs would be sad, very sad. First came Scott Forestall’s exit who used to head iOS development since inception and played a major role in all the Keynotes. Since then Jony Ive has taken over his role in addition to adding breath-taking value in terms of hardware design. Then came the hammering of the stock price and doubts over Tim Cook’s ability. Then Bob Mansfield exit(re-enter soon enough), no new products. Even the recent iOS-7 didn’t get as much as a positive response as expected.

Long story short, Steve Jobs is being missed like never before. Tim Cook is clearly unable to do though I am sure he is trying what is best. Of-course we have to realize and acknowledge whom he has taken over was a genius, a visionary, a game-changer in technology and his persona, his intelligence is what legends are made of! And its no easy feat to replace legends!

Problem with Apple is that it has too few people with whom the public can relate to. Barring the extremely high-profile Keynote events which happens 2-3 times a year there is not much of what we hear from Apple. Its like only during the events, 3-4 people come out of their hibernation for a few hours, then again go back till the next event and the cycle goes on. At present for me its only Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, Jonathon Ive, Philip Schiller and a recent new face in the name of Craig Federighi. Bob Mansfield was but is not part of the Leadership team.  So for a company of Apple size, just 5 people who are the face of the brand. And if any one leaves your spectrum of connect becomes even smaller. Just imagine hypothetically if all these 5 people and new faces come. Apple for me will become an alien in an instant. Steve Jobs was a marvelous brand ambassador for Apple for close to 13 years and was the best marketing/sales-person ever on this planet. Period. I remember after watching all his Keynotes from 2009, it was my dream to own its products and I just HAD to have them! One dream got fulfilled last year with the iPhone 4S…few more to go! 🙂 And just to add, every-time I use my iPhone, which is all the time I am awake, I just keep falling in love all over again! Yes it is that awesome! The reason I am NOT switching to iPhone 5 is that I am yet to get bored by 4S! So why upgrade when I haven’t had enough with 4S!

Which is why it worries me when I hear such news of executive churn. I want Apple to keep doing the magic its been doing, so that I can keep falling in love with their products!

Internally no one know what this development means, no one knows what the “special project” is, but as the saying goes, people are not great because of the great company they work in, its great people which makes the company great!

Lets hope Apple starts getting in the news more, but for all the right reasons!

 

Anirudh

CEOs, Get Out of the Way!

3 May

http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/nayar/2012/05/lets-just-get-out-of-the-way.html?referral=00563&cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-daily_alert-_-alert_date&utm_source=newsletter_daily_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert_date

Very well articulated by Vineet Nayar(CEO, HCL Technologies Ltd.)

In today’s uber fast-changing age, its the employees(specially new recruits) who have the inclination to change if something is not right and/or improvise the current systems. Ideally the top management and people hanging on to their cosy chairs must acknowledge, appreciate and apply feedback. Of-course not every feedback may be in the interest of the organisation, but if majority is saying the same, there has to be some truth in it.

Organisations who stay in the past, will soon become a thing of the past!

P.S. – I just commend Vineet’s approach to employees, how easily he is approachable and trying to connect with his employees first, through various mediums! 

Fantastic Read : The Twelve Most Important Lessons I’ve Learned So Far

3 May

Great post by Tony Schwartz !

Few excerpts :

1. The more we know about ourselves, the more power we have to behave better. Humility is underrated. We each have an infinite capacity for self-deception — countless unconscious ways we protect ourselves from pain, uncertainty, and responsibility — often at the expense of others and of ourselves. Endless introspection can turn into self-indulgence, but deepening self-awareness is essential to freeing ourselves from our reactive, habitual behaviors.

2. Notice the good. We each carry an evolutionary predisposition to dwell on what’s wrong in our lives. The antidote is to deliberately take time out each day to notice what’s going right, and to feel grateful for what you’ve got. It’s probably a lot.

3. Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.

4. Never seek your value at the expense of someone else’s. When we’re feeling devalued, our reactive instinct is to do anything to restore what we’ve lost. Devaluing the person who made you feel bad will only prompt more of the same in return.

To read the remaining go here!

Recommended Read : Managers Don’t Really Want to Innovate

3 May

http://blogs.hbr.org/ashkenas/2012/05/managers-dont-really-want-to-i.html?referral=00563&cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-daily_alert-_-alert_date&utm_source=newsletter_daily_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert_date

So true in majority of companies!

Life Refreshed!

3 Jan

First things first –

I truly hope the new year is better in all forms for the entire human race! Its in everyone’s interest that we all grow and do well in all aspects of our life!

Having said that I believe at the end of the day its in our hands to make it happen or at-least make an honest effort and I have no doubt it will not go in vain. You reap what you sow and in this life only!

January is a great time to plan things for the year ahead. Its time to refresh your life and start afresh…seriously! If you have had a great year overall, it will be easy to gain momentum and making sure 2012 is even better! If the year 2011 left a lot to be desired, well here is the good news…now is the time to move on! You have a clean canvas to paint a new picture as you want it!

So whats the thing you hear the most in the new year?

Its called new year resolutions!!! Everyone seems to have them or pretend to have them and almost everyone forgets it past the first week of January!

Frankly, I have never made them so I cant say whether it works or not, but am very keen to have one this year. Or rather at-least list out the things I want to accomplish in the coming year.

I have yet to finish the list, but I came across an article by Harvey Mackay which should be a good guideline to keep in mind while creating one.

To give you a brief about the article :

Making a New Year’s resolution is like setting any other type of goal.  You have to choose wisely if you want to achieve something significant.  Remember that a good resolution, like a solid goal, usually has a few definable characteristics:

  • Focus.  Set a definite target:  “Lose 10 pounds by June” is better than “Lose some weight.”
  • Challenge.  Your resolution should be neither too difficult, nor too easy.
  • Commitment.  Share your resolutions with others.  That will help you work on them.
  • Presence.  Write down your resolutions in detail, and post your list where you’ll see it often.
  • Vision.  Visualize the results you want to achieve every day.

So welcome and embrace the new year like never before and let this be a year which will turn your life around!

Stay happy, stay healthy!

Ciao!

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