As we watched Apple unveil iOS7, the 37signals Campfire room quickly turned to awe of what they had achieved. A redesign so shocking and deep bestowed upon a product so popular left many mouths agape. Whether you happened to like the final product wasn’t as relevant as marveling at the vision, drive, and sheer determination to pull it off.
Apple has a way of making people feel like that.
But what followed next is at least as interesting: We all sought to explain just how they did it. Is it all Ive’s eye? Is it that they explore more ideas than anyone else? Is it never accepting “good enough”? Forgoing customer input and trusting their own instinct? Hundreds of triple-A designers and developers?
There were lots of suggestions. But stepping back a meter or two, it was clear that we all simply reached for our own grandest ambitions and rebranded them Apple’s secret sauce. Theorizing why Apple is able to do what it does is an organizational Rorschach.
That doesn’t make it a useless exercise. Au contraire. It just makes it more about you than them. It lets you tease out your goals and aspirations for your own work and process. It’s a kick in the ass to marvel at greatness and think of reasons “why are we not as awesome as that?”.
An organization as rich and storied as Apple has a thousand reasons for why it got to where it is. Pinning it on any one answer is futile, but it’s sure to spark a healthy debate. Indulge.