The idea factory

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 | 10:00 AM

Is music a zero sum game?

Consider the following:  Clearchannel has stumbled badly, along with most of the radio sector. Their "Hamburger helper" strategy has clearly backfired. The attempt to paint an inability to sell out ad times as a customer friendly move didn't fool anyone. That's before we talk about satellite radio, which hasn't even begun to hit its stride.

The big labels are floundering; They never knew what to make of digital. Their inability to get ahead of the digital distribution curve, their horrific handling of P2P, and their self inflicted PR wounds will likely dog them for years to come.

And Microsoft, well, their attempt to be all things to all people -- a function of their enormity -- has yet to really pay off. The most interesting thing about the Redmond behemoth is that they cannot seem to make a profit in any arena where they are not leveraged to a monopoly. (you should know my disclosures on MSFT by now).

Lets look at an entirely different approach to music and technology: Apple.

They make really cool products. Beautifully designed, innovative in the way the address consumer needs, technologically transparent and elegant. They truly have become an idea factory. And its paid off in spades for them (see chart below).

Only a handful of companies have been able to establish themselves, reinvent and reinvent again what they actually are -- while remaining true to a core set of beliefs. For Apple, that's user friendly, well-designed interface, products that delight.

How many other companies have done that? I can think of a few besides Apple: Harley Davidson, G.E.,  3M, The Gap (i.e, Banana Republic and Old Navy),and to some degree, American Express. IBM certainly has successfully reinvented itself. If you consider all the divisions Sears created,than you have to include them also: Dean Witter, Allstate, Discover, H&R Block and Coldwell Banker.

In the technology sphere, however, how often does that actually happen?  Dell is the low-cost, direct-to-consumer PC builder. Will they succeed at becoming a consumer electronics company -- or will they at most be a PC maker that happens to also sell inexpensive Plasma TVs?

That's what makes Apple so interesting as a  company . . .

>

An iPod a Day
Wsjapple0502chrt_2

Apple's shares have soared to new heights since the company introduced its popular music player:

1. Sept. 29, 2000: Apple's stock tumbles after warning of earnings shortfall amid weak sales of its G4 Cube computer.
2. Oct. 23, 2001: Apple introduces its iPod digital music player.
3. Jan. 7, 2002: Redesigned iMac computer with a flat screen is released.
4. April 28, 2003: iTunes Music store opens and sells one million downloads in its first week.
5. Jan, 6, 2004: The smaller iPod Mini is introduced. Apple says it has sold two million iPods to date.
6. July 12, 2004: iTunes downloads top 100 million.
7. Jan. 12, 2005: Apple says it sold 4.6 million iPods in December quarter and more than 10 million to date.
8. Feb. 11, 2005: Apple announces 2-for-1 stock split.

Source: WSJ

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 | 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (3)
de.li.cious add to de.li.cious | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post

bn-image

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c52a953ef00d83458044569e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The idea factory:

» The idea factory from kevin rose dot com
Link: The Big Picture: The idea factory. [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 17, 2005 1:47:12 AM

» The idea factory from kevin rose dot com
Link: The Big Picture: The idea factory. [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 21, 2005 2:21:36 AM

» The idea factory from kevin rose dot com
Link: The Big Picture: The idea factory. [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 21, 2005 11:22:34 AM

Comments

There was a great DailyKos diary on Apple today from a former employer - http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/15/162223/276

it eventually strays into politics but the focus is on Apple

Posted by: Bryan G | Feb 16, 2005 12:16:17 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.



Recent Posts

December 2008
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

Archives

Complete Archives List

Blogroll

Blogroll

Category Cloud

On the Nightstand

On the Nightstand

 Subscribe in a reader

Get The Big Picture!
Enter your email address:


Read our privacy policy

Essays & Effluvia

The Apprenticed Investor

Apprenticed Investor

About Me

About Me
email me

Favorite Posts

Tools and Feeds

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe to The Big Picture

Powered by FeedBurner

Add to Technorati Favorites

FeedBurner


My Wishlist

Worth Perusing

Worth Perusing

mp3s Spinning

MP3s Spinning

My Photo

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

Odds & Ends

Site by Moxie Design Studios™

FeedBurner