Much has been made recently of how Apple seems to have lost its way. How it’s starting to stumble. How the former leader in innovation is now lagging to others, notably Google.
Punditry aside, I think much of that criticism — especially when it comes to web services and the like — is legitimate. But rather than being cause for alarm, I find it exciting.
I think Apple may well be at its best when it’s not in pole position. When it needs to go back to core values and first principles to chart its course anew.
Consider these words from Steve Jobs’s commencement speech at Stanford in 1995 (emphasis mine):
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life….
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.
Steve is gone, but much of his thinking lives on in Apple’s creative DNA. So. Here’s to being hit in the head with a brick.