Sun Apr 18 2010

Out of Cupertino: innovation, iPads, silence

One of the things that bothers me about Apple, a company that rebuilt and established itself as one of the great innovators in the industry, is the silence. They don’t blog, they stay away from tech conferences, and yet, there they are, building the products everyone uses. Everyone loves the underdog - until the underdog becomes the market leader and loses touch with its audience. Not a lot of people like that.

There are companies that pull off being close to their audience, and Apple should follow their lead. I’m thinking about companies like Amazon or Zappos, who are great examples of customer care, and whose CEOs have been out there, talking publicly about what makes them (and their companies) tick.

Here’s the deal about Apple - I bet they’ll keep making great products because leadership (executive and design) know what people want, mostly by following the rule of building what they need for themselves. But by not engaging in the global conversation about their brand and their products, they’re losing the passionate users (hat tip to Kathy Sierra).

Not that the users are not there anymore - they’re still buying the mac and the iPad, subscribing to MobileMe and waiting for updates from WWDC -, they’re just not as happy to talk about how much they love this company, because they don’t get any love back. Just as in romantic life, relationships where only one party gives are set to fail. Lets hope Apple “gets it” in time.

See also John Battelle’s open letter to Apple.