I visited the Mothership

October 22, 2009
Apple Sign 1 Infinite Loop

Apple Sign 1 Infinite Loop

Apple HQ 1 Infinite Loop

Apple HQ 1 Infinite Loop

Building 1, Infinite Loop, Apple HQ

Building 1, Infinite Loop, Apple HQ

I couldn’t resist stopping by Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino today. Not knowing what to expect I was pleasantly surprised to find an on-site gift shop, or “Company Store”.

I found myself buying a T-shirt with the motto “I visited the Mothership” on the front and a discreet Apple logo on the reverse. I thought that was quite funny and it appeals to Apple fans who already feel they are members of a special club where only the smart people are invited. It’s similar to driving a hybrid, the smug factor is pretty high. You can chuckle at those people still using Windows or driving a standard petrol engined car. Buying Apple products makes you feel part of a cool tribe.

You know when your brand is successful when people develop an emotional attachment. Selling souvenirs is taking it to the next level. Customers who want to buy those takes it to another level.

With record breaking profits and share price things are looking pretty good for Steve Jobs and the team at Apple. It shows what you can achieve when a brilliant and single minded individual exerts a laser focus on a company’s activities.


What entrepreneurs can learn from sportsmen

September 9, 2009

My first blog post, and an unlikely subject for me as someone who really has very little interest in sport. However, I am obsessed about what makes a successful entrepreneur and what I learnt tonight from Sir Jackie Stewart crystallised something I had already worked out: the qualities which make someone excel in sport bring great success when applied in business.

Jackie is a world-wide motor sport legend, but has been incredibly successful in business too. Which was harder for Jackie? Sport – because, quite simply, if you’re not number one you’re a nobody. Your business can still be top 10 in the rankings and be a massive success, but unless you’re first in the world of sport you’re a failure.

Think of an average sportsman, think of all the preparation and practise he puts in before an event – the days of football players turning up before a match and having a quick stretch to prepare are long gone. But how many people in business do nothing more than a quick stretch to prepare for a big meeting?

To succeed in sport you have to focus then practise and prepare.

It’s the same in business. The most impressive candidates I have interviewed for jobs in the last year all had a professional sporting background and now it’s something I will actively look for. They understand focus, determination and (depending on the sport) team-work in spades.