October 7, 2011
In the late 90’s I worked on a well-renowned golf course. I was part of a small food and beverage team that ran the clubhouse – and much like the game of golf, many days were standard. With the exception of one in particular.
Myself and my colleagues walked down the steps to display fruit and muffins on the 1st tee – this was a standard chore before the restaurant opened. Normally, there was already an abundance of activity down below, but on this day, there was nothing.
The girl in the starter hut was puzzled, as were the pro shop employees – including the golf pro himself. What seemed like hours (yet was probably only minutes) a cart drove up. Two people then each opened a book and acknowledged no one. We looked around at each other, we were confused – this was strange.
“It’s Bill Gates,” I remarked quietly to my co-workers.
Soon afterward, everyone agreed it was indeed Bill Gates and his wife – and that was only verified through an abundance of phone calls – we didn’t have blackberry’s or iPhones to authenticate the info. Right before I set down the basket of daily fruit, Mr. Gates managed to look around and make direct eye contact with me, and I couldn’t resist.
I reached into the basket and grabbed a stem ……”Apple?” I smirked.
I had no loyalty to Apple – certainly didn’t know who Steve Jobs was – I only knew there was a rivalry and naively thought my comment was clever. One of those one-time-only opportunities. In fact, I was almost fired over it.
More than a decade has passed, and although it’s been recanted as a decent story by those who witnessed – it has no merit in the scheme of technological advances.
Innovation is the introduction of something new or different.
The rivalry between Apple and Microsoft is unprecedented – but old – much like my story. So what’s new?
- Hotmail is passé.
- Face-to-face is now facebook-to-facebook.
- Networking is now Linkedin.
- Connecting is now Skype.
And, all of these things you can accept or reject on an iPhone.
So, is innovation still considered the introduction of something new or different – or is it truly validated and measured by the ability to influence a mass market to adapt to what you’ve introduced?
Is it much like a jury decision of peers? If you win a majority vote, the others are out. Their voice will never be heard, so there is no choice but to give in.
I rebelled for many years – my personal slogan was “real life only begins where your internet connection ends…” Ironically, I learned of Steve Jobs’ passing on my smartphone, and I immediately shared the message via text.
Innovation is the product.
Market adaptation to that product is really the true measure of success.
Awesome job, Jobs.
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