- This one is from Business Insider talking about how sales from the Iphone alone outdid all of Microsoft last year. Another blogger points out that it was not too long ago that some anti-trust lawsuits had been filed against Microsoft saying that the company was too big and that it had a monopoly over the market. For all you Iphone and Mac lovers out there, I hope that people don't start crying foul against Apple and trying to limit their business because other companies can't compete. From the article:
It was not long ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was fending off those observing that Apple's market capitalization was closing in on Microsoft's by saying that, regardless of market cap, Microsoft's business was much bigger and more profitable.
Now, Apple's business (in Q4) is more than twice the size of Microsoft's--$46 billion to $21 billion--and more than twice as profitable: $17 billion to $8 billion.
And, needless to say, Apple's market cap now dwarfs Microsoft's. (Although, interestingly, Apple's market cap is not yet 2X Microsoft's, despite the difference in revenue, profitability, and growth rates. The market still appears to be concerned that Apple's "closed system" is vulnerable to the same sort of disruption by Android and other more open systems that Apple's Mac business was back in the 1990s).
What's just as remarkable here is that Apple invented the iPhone business out of thin air in 2007. This is not an old product category. It's a completely new one. Which means that Microsoft or anyone else could have invented it.
(The same can be said for the more recently introduced iPad, which is now cleaning Microsoft's clock in that category, too.)
For the first decade of Steve Ballmer's reign at Microsoft, some folks cut him a break for the company's stagnant stock price by observing that the market had changed. But the market changed for Apple, too, and Apple innovated two huge new product lines, one of which is now bigger and more profitable than Microsoft's entire business. So Steve can't be cut a break for that anymore.
- And this post from a blog called Study Hacks. The guy is now a professor at some prestigious university, but what I really like about his stuff is that he's always talking about how the career worth pursuing is one found through the development of well defined skill sets. He talks about how Steve Martin is a good example of this:
One of the things that has always impressed me about Steve Martin is his diligence. In his memoir, Born Standing Up, he emphasizes this theme — defining diligence not just in terms of persistence, but also in the ability to ignore unrelated pursuits.
Martin was, of course, being facetious when he pepped himself up with the idea that it would only take 40 years to get good at the banjo (he was playing at a high-level in his act within 5 – 10 years of starting his training), but this statement reflects a deeper truth: getting good at something is not to be taken lightly; it’s a pursuit measured in years, not weeks.
This diligence defined Martin’s path.
He spent decades focused intensely on his act, which meant two things: banjo and jokes.
After reaching the peak of the live comedy world in the 1970s he turned his attention for years to making movies.
Then he spent years working on fiction writing.
More recently he’s returned back to his banjo.
If you collapse Martin’s skills into a flat list, he sounds like a Renaissance man, but if you take a snapshot of any particular point of his life, you’ll encounter relentless, longterm focus on a very small number of things.
Diligence Versus the World
I’m reintroducing this idea of diligence because I keep encountering it in the stories of people with remarkable lives and yet almost never see it mentioned in the online community where Study Hacks lives.
And this is a problem.
We’ve created this fantasy world where everyone is just 30 days of courage boosting exercises and life hacks away from living an amazing life.
But when you study people like Martin, who really do live remarkable lives, you almost always encounter stretches of years and years dedicated to honing craft.
Anyway, just thought those were interesting.