Monday, February 23, 2009

Fear of not changing drives innovation at Apple?



Discussion found via Stewart Mader:

John Siracusa lists a number of words - resurgent, exciting, innovative, successful - that he believes characterize Apple under the second reign of Steve Jobs and finally adds the word fearless to the list. John Gruber agrees, but not about the last word 'fearless':
"It’s not that Steve Jobs is fearless, but rather that he’s afraid of not changing. Where other CEOs can’t bring themselves to do something different, Jobs can’t bring himself to keep doing the same thing."
So is it lack of fear that drives Steve Jobs and Apple to making new inventions, or the fear (boredom?) of not changing?

I believe that Gruber is on to something. I don't think fearlessness is a driver of change and innovation in the case of Jobs and Apple. Fear is a basic primal emotion and it is key to evolutionary survival. You need to feel a certain amount of fear for your own good, and most people do (the others simply fall off cliffs and die) . But fearing status quo is not enough for a business to either survive and be successful, and I do not think it can be used to explain the success of Apple under Jobs second reign.

I simply think Steve Jobs understands that the world (humanity) is constantly changing and that the key to thrive in it is to be able to change yourself - with a timing that keeps you in sync with the changes happening in the world.