Cynicism is easy. All it takes is an external target and a cutting turn of phrase. It will always be easier to slam someone’s original idea than it is to build your own. Apple ignores the cynical. So should we all.
Turn on, Drop in, Tune out
Apple CEO Tim Cook received an honorary degree from the country of Scotland's Glasgow University last night. During the ceremony he discussed numerous topics, including the current U.S. administration. ("We'll speak up even when our voices shake.”).
He also shared one of Apple's essential secrets, as reported by The Independent:
"The other thing about today’s environment is the world is full of cynics. You have to tune them out. If not they become a cancer in your mind and in your thinking. You begin to think you can’t or that life is negative. The truth is, even if it doesn’t seem like this all the time, there has never been a better time to be alive than today. It’s the best time. My advice is to tune out the cynics even if they are sitting next to you."
Tune them out
If you think about it, tuning out cynicism has been part of Apple's D.N.A. since it began when Steve Jobs sold his car, Steve Wozniak sold his calculator and both men began on their mission to “get a computer into the hands of everyday people”.
Mobile tech (including dumb mobiles) now reaches at least 77 percent of humans alive on this planet today, and iPhone sets the bar for what these devices can achieve.
The Apple co-founder’s crazy dream is being realized.
Look back on Apple’s history and it seems that only when the company has fallen into cynical thinking have its fortunes collapsed. How else would you characterize those dreadful years when it almost died?
On his return, Steve Jobs kicked out the cynics and put the creativity and optimism into the driving seat.
And it worked
When it comes to Apple coverage, cynics are everywhere. From the birth of the Mac to the arrival of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, cynics have slammed its every move. Look at the brouhaha around the iPhone 7 headphone jack. This cynical negativity amplifies Apple's errors and minimizes its achievements.
Apple knows that despite all that cynicism, it has built industry leading customer satisfaction levels competitors can't match.
It knows that for every angry customer amplified in a critical media, it has nearly a hundred happy ones who are silent.
How does it achieve this? It tunes out the cynics to carve its own creative path. It strives to stay positive. That's a lesson for the times, if you think about it.
Cynicism is retrograde
Think about that time when you were in school and you wanted to learn more about Coretta Scott King. Did you? If your parents were cynical about such matters you may have skipped the topic, and if you did it is possible you will pass similar cynicism to your children.
That’s a shame.
Those who don’t imagine a better world seldom improve it. "Here's to the Crazy Ones," was a mission statement, not a recruitment campaign for incompetence, delusion, or a faded picture of some fictional status quo.
Imagine if Apple had believed the cynics who a few years ago were telling us that mobile had hit its peak? Or if it abandoned its dream of annual iPhone improvements in order to keep releasing the same product? Yes, we’d be buying iPhone 4 for around $10 (we already can), but what else?
Don't stop believing
Cook's company shrugs off the cynics in order to continue to define the next generation in mobile. (NB: It doesn’t need to dominate OS share to achieve this).
In the next generation iPhone we can predict the company will weave together the important building blocks: Social, Cloud, IoT, Analytics, and Mobile (SCIAM).
Apple will apply itself on figuring out how it can apply the latest technologies to resolve challenges real people in the real world face.
Its success in achieving this so far has enabled it to build a great business. iPhone users love the product, recommend it. Even now, 16 percent of Samsung's churn went to Apple. Consumers aspire to have an iPhone.
Cynics dismiss Apple, slam its 'lack of innovation', and criticize Cook.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter because, just like Windows Vista, the golden towers of reactionary cynicism are going to disappear into the sands of forgotten history.
I think Apple is in a great position to extend its reach across a much wider section of the smartphone market with three, or perhaps four models of iPhone: The iPhone SE 2, iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, and (expensive, advanced and radically redesigned) iPhone 8 Pro.
These products will widen its share, and with the support of its soon-to-ship AR solutions, will see Apple build profoundly strong positions across the fast-growing APAC regions in which it has been investing so much energy. Have you seen how popular AR and VR is becoming there? Mobile devices are computers.
Better yet, in a decade or so you’ll be able to get smartphones as good as these for just a few dollars, and Apple will have helped enable, its founder’s mission of: Computers for the rest of us. Despite the cynics who said it couldn't.
Tune out the cynics. It doesn’t matter if your voice shakes.
Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?
Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter. I'd like it if you chose to follow me there so I can let you know when fresh items are published here first on Computerworld.