Two minute download with... Adam Lashinsky

by peter.griffin / 17 February, 2012
Fortune magazine senior editor at large Adam Lashinsky peels back the skin of Apple to reveal what makes the company tick. But can Apple thrive in a post-Jobs world?

1. Do you expect to get a foot inside 1 Infinite Loop ever again after writing Inside Apple?

Sure. I’ve been respectful and professional in my dealings with Apple, and I have every expectation that Apple will continue to be respectful and professional in their dealings with me, as they always have been until now.

2. Do you think Apple's management literally will be asking themselves "what would Steve do?" in the same way Walt Disney's colleagues did after his death in 1966?

Yes. I think they literally will, but for the caveat that Steve Jobs asked Tim Cook not to do so.

3. To what extent does the management style Steve Jobs created at Apple blow out of the water what is taught to trainees at business school?

In so many ways, particularly the notion of being caring, nurturing, and empowering. He was none of those things.

4. Apple really is a master at PR and advertising. What's the main lesson other companies can learn from its approach to marketing its products?

The main lesson, as with so many things pertaining to Apple, is simplicity. Other companies need to focus and hone their message to make sure they are only communicating precisely what they want and on subjects that help them sell their products.

5. Is Tim Cook a caretaker CEO or can be bring the visionary touch to Apple that propelled the company to great heights under Steve Jobs?

There is no evidence that he has the product vision of Steve Jobs. But just because there is no evidence doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it. This is a classic wait-and-see situation.

6. Has the Jobs approach to business rubbed off on other entrepreneurs in the tech sector?

Many say they are emulating him. Square’s Jack Dorsey is doing so openly. It will take time to see if the Apple approach works on a large scale.

7. What do you think Apple will do with that massive cash pile?

I think they will declare a dividend. They also will make surprising investments in assets that can advance their business, but unlikely in large-scale M&A.

8. Will Apple's cadre of ex-IBMers have the upper hand in the new regime?

No. IBM people prevail in Apple’s supply-chain organization, not in the rest of the company.

9. To what extent will Apple continue to shine chiefly due to the fact that its competitors are so far behind?

Apple is astoundingly far ahead of the competition. It took smartphone makers about three years to catch up to the iPhone. If Apple out-innovates in the next category it chooses to enter, it will continue to shine.

10. Should it matter to someone buying Apple products that the company designing them has a creepy, command-control corporate culture?

It’s not for me to say. This is a value judgement for consumers to make. I predict that most consumers either won’t care or will practice cognitive dissonance over Apple’s products and look the other way. Some small fraction will stop buying Apple products.

Inside Apple (Hachette) $30 via Fishpond
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