June 15, 2012 § 1 Comment
Last October, along with many other tributes to the late Apple co-founder, James Allworth claimed that Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma. His explanation is that Apple avoids the traditional pitfalls that stifle innovation because:
Apple hasn’t optimized its organization to maximize profit. Instead, it has made the creation of value for customers its priority.
To support his thesis, James cites Apple’s unusual attitude towards:
- Profit: “there’s only one person Apple with responsibility for a profit and loss. The CFO.”
- People: “It didn’t matter how great you were, if you couldn’t deliver to that mission — you were out.”
- Products: “Tim Cook, on the iPad disrupting the Mac business: ‘Yes, I think there is some cannibalization… the iPad team works on making their product the best. Same with the Mac team.’ It’s almost unheard of to be able to manage disruption like this.”
While these are clearly key contributors to Apple’s disruptive success, the only show that Apple has so far avoided the Innovator’s Dilemma. Clay Christensen himself, author of the Innovator’s Dilemma and self-appointed “Jewish Mother” to the business world, still publicly worries whether Apple has truly found a sustainable solution to that problem.
So has Apple solved the Innovator’s Dilemma, or not? How could we know?
June 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
One popular request is to treat teachers as professionals, a “certified expert who is afforded prestige and autonomy in return for performing at a high level” rather than “interchangeable cogs in an educational factory line out of the last century.” Advocates of this approach typically focus on:
- Greater respect
- Higher pay
- Tougher certification
- Clearer accountability
While those are noble goals, there seems to be very little discussion about the structural changes necessary to achieve those results. Nobody even seems to realize that those four are signs of professionalization rather than the cause:
- Pay and respects are outcomes of professionalization
- Certification and accountability are consequences of professionalization.
May 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I just finished reading the eagerly-anticipated Insanely Simple by Ken Segall. For my money, this is the best way to get a feel for how Apple “Thinks Different” than virtually every other business in America.
From May 10th to 17th I used Twitter to catalogue my journey through the book, and I’ve collected all those tweets below. These aren’t direct quotes, though most incorporate phrases, paraphrases, and summaries from the text.
May 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
It has become a cliché after every blowout earnings call to say that Apple can’t keep growing forever. While technically true (I doubt Apple would survive the heat death of the universe), that assertion by itself is useless. The real question is how long could Apple keep growing at its current rate.
Somewhat surprisingly, I haven’t seen any such analysis. Financial analysts seem barely to think more than a quarter in advance, and industry analysts seem to implicitly assume Apple will implode. So — as a thought experiment, not a prediction — I want to put together a plausible baseline for how much Apple’s existing businesses could grow.
April 11, 2012 § 4 Comments
The following is a work of fiction, perhaps even of fantasy. I am no educator, and know nothing of the economics or mechanics of running such a school. Yet I dream that my son’s future will look more like this than what passes for education today.
September 26, 2011 § 1 Comment
[Diagram updated on 10/27. Thanks to @frozencanuck for his feedback.]
The RIBS diagram is my third attempt to extend the wildly-succesful Model–View–Controller design pattern to encompass first the The DCI Architecture and now the REST architectural style. This time, I started by reverse-engineered the design principles behind the Ki Statechart Framework, particularly their use of statecharts as coordinating controllers.
I also have a clearer picture of what I am doing: trying to identify a general design pattern for computational systems.
Here’s what it looks like so far:
- The purpose of a System is to manage a Resource
- A System contains a Resource, one or more States and their Behaviors, an Interface for each State, plus relationships with zero or more Peers.
- An Interface (which could also be a System of its own) consists of active Actions and passive Presentations available to an external Client.
- When a Client invokes an Action, the System routes it to the appropriate Behavior for the current State (the routing is necessary if there are multiple concurrent states, otherwise it can be elided).
- A Behavior can in general a) adapt a Resource, b) interact with a Peer, and c) initiate additional Behavior
- Resources present to an Interface and adapt to a Behavior
- Views are Interfaces
- Models are Resources that can adapt and present themselves
- Controllers manage State, routing, and connections with Peers
- Views can be systems, whose Resource is a drawing context and Behavior is hit detection
- A Model object could itself be a system, with a database row as its Resource and business logic as its Behavior
- Hypertext is an Interface (HTML) which uses Routes (URLs) to embed State
- Behavior is driven by a small set of Actions (HTTP verbs) against a specific Resource