Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Can We Stop Throwing Stones?

I'm a glass half full kind of guy and an eternal optimist.   I glorify progress and quickly forget defeat.

Often I feel that I'm in the minority.  Bad news sells.  Criticism has a Schadenfreude attraction - the apparent failure of others makes some feel more successful.

 Monday Morning Quarterback commentary frustrates me.

1.  Steve Jobs would have never allowed Apple maps to launch on the iPhone 5 and thus Apple is past its prime. 

In the business world, every company has its peaks and troughs.  I think of the greatness some Massachusetts companies like Polaroid, Digital Equipment Corp, and Wang Computer had in their day.   Today, there are empty buildings or construction sites where those once great companies used to be.

For those in operational roles, we all know how hard it is to keep the trains running on time while managing change and trying to innovate.   It's like changing the wings on a 747 while its flying.

At the moment, Apple is the most valuable company on the planet and the iPhone 5 sold five million units in 3 days.  

Yet, instead of stories (which I would personally find interesting) about how you manage a supply chain to deliver five million high tech products to customers in a weekend, the stories are about analysts expecting six million or more weekend sales and the earth shattering question about first generation Apple mapping software signifying the downfall of the company.  My comment - engineer an innovative product with minimal defects at multi-million scale.  After you've done that, write an article that incorporates your operational experience in the evaluation of vendors.

2.  Last week I bought a Prius C, trading in my 2005 original Prius with 150,000 miles.   The Prius C a joy to drive, with nimble steering, a very comfortable cabin, and 60+ miles per gallon  (mixed city/highway commuting).   I'm not sure what car Consumer Reports was driving when the put the Prius C on the "do not recommend list".    Increased visibility, a smaller size that makes it very maneuverable in traffic, and intuitive controls make the Prius C a winner.   My only guess is that the Consumer Reports writer owns a Ferrari or a Hummer and was evaluating the Prius C based on an inappropriate set of requirements.    I would like to see an automotive engineer describe the tradeoffs of weight, power, and gas mileage, then objectively evaluate all the hybrids on the market.

Bottom line - I welcome operational people  in the trenches sharing the good and the bad of their own experiences.    In a world of naysayers looking to take potshots at success, I have little tolerance for those who throw stones at those who are trying their best to make the world a better place.
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