I think it’s too good of a story not to be told at this stage,” [Johny] Srouji says. “Hopefully, we won’t reveal too much.” When the original iPhone came out in 2007, Steve Jobs was well aware of its flaws. It had no front camera, measly battery life, and a slow 2G connection from AT&T. It was also underpowered. A former Apple engineer who worked on the device said that while the handset was a breakthrough technology, it was limited because it pieced together components from different vendors, including elements from a Samsung chip used in DVD players. “Steve came to the conclusion that the only way for Apple to really differentiate and deliver something truly unique and truly great, you have to own your own silicon,” Srouji says. “Apple’s Other: Johny,” Bloomberg Businessweek, Feb 22, 2016.
We decided we needed to be more nimble so we sold off our chip making facilities. We can still buy from the new owners, we concluded, but now we could also buy from other manufactures without it being in conflict with our chip making. How did this go for us? We are now a minor player in our market where we were once the powerhouse. Not a good story to tell.
Of course, it is always about the context as I often stress. Doing the exact opposite things can make sense depending upon what is going on at the time. Nevertheless we need an overall strategy that guides us on what we do. I recall a quote that strategy without tactics is the slow way to success but tactics without strategy is just the noise prior to failure. Google bought Motorola to get hardware capabilities (and patents) and then quickly sold them off, but keeping the patents. Microsoft bought Nokia but their efforts with producing mobile phones seems to be deemphasized right now. The Apple silicon strategy just doesn’t seem to be working for everyone.
For more see Why Context Is Critical To Making Successful Choices
We delivered our product on time and with much improved quality. We did it based upon using historically gathered data on how we had performed during our recent past projects. Our customers were delighted. Everyone got excited, since we never before delivered products on time, and we started to use past performance to size our projects (and tasks within projects). However, within a year few projects were still using past performance and we never did deliver any of the products we planned on time. In fact many projects were just outright cancelled. Why? Because we grabbed a technique that worked but we never understood it well enough to use it effectively. Instead we inevitably gravitated back to our well established rut of delivering products late and buggy. We were well practiced and knew how to do that.
Understanding what we are doing and why we are doing it is essential to having a good story to tell. Having a good story to tell is the simple confluence of a good strategy and of successful tactics as we execute our plan in an ever changing world.
Is the story you can tell a real success with hard work behind it or is it something transitory that we won’t be talking about in six months?