The lessons travel agencies can learn from Apple are many. Certainly I have written, and re-written, on their goal of being an insanely great company. Their products are nothing short of visionary, even when they fall short of promise. With a headquarters located at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California, the small company started in a garage tackled and conquered mighty IBM, the quintessential computer company of past generations. In 1980, four years after their launch, Apple raised $80 million in the first hour of its public offering.
But there is something else I like about Apple. At the core of the company, feeding the corporate culture and the vision, there is still a garage with two young kids in it. Apple is still fresh, still powered by an entrepreneurial spirit that never quits, never gives up. Product failures like the $10,000 Lisa didn’t defeat it. Ousting founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak didn’t deal a death blow. Losing hundreds of millions each month during the late 1990’s and stiff competition from Windows came close but didn’t bring the company down. Time and again, pundits have predicted the company’s demise or irrelevance only to be proven wrong.
Apple never gives up. More than any company of recent times, they are the Comeback Kid.
How often have you been ready to throw in the towel? Business is tough, things are never as easy as you thought they would be. Plans that start with high hope can bring even the strongest of people pretty low. Having lost a couple of companies, I personally know that all too well. I think one of the reasons I collect heroes and stories about companies like Starbucks, Keen and Apple is that they are the stuff that sustains me when things look the bleakest, those dark nights of the soul when the cynics and the critics start circling and a comeback looks impossible. Sometimes, it is.
And then you remember to pick yourself up, wipe your nose and get on with it. Six times down, seven times up. It will be interesting to see if the company can maintain their dogged credo without the physical presence of their founder. It is my sincerest hope they can.
I could go on about tenacity and will power, about resolve and inner courage. A few of my heroes have said it better than I could ever hope to, though. I’ll leave you in that good company.
You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are…never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. – Winston Churchill 1941 as he led England through the beginning of WWII
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt – Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. – Steve Jobs, 2005 (after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer)