Moving to where the puck is
Apple’s new iMacs (21.5” and 27”) are quite impressive - much thinner, less glare, much lighter. (I’m thinking of getting the 27” version.)
The most interesting “addition” to the iMac is actually the missing DVD/CD optical drive slot. It’s been a standard feature for years and Apple has decided to completely remove it. You’ll need an external drive if you want to access a DVD/CD.
What’s interesting to me is that though while most people don’t use the DVD/CD drive that much, it still appears to be a feature most people appreciate. I occasionally rip a DVD or use the optical drive to reinstall the OS. I’m sure others use it sometimes to.
But you’ve got to give credit to Apple. They’re thinking ahead and imagining in a few years if optical drives make any sense (they don’t unless for the few people who could opt for an external drive). And though it will cause inconvenience for some right now, it’s where things are headed and that’s where Apple is skating to. They’re going to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been in the past.
Figuring out what to do next is crucial. In fact, it’s probably the most difficult skill in business and it’s likely to be worth the most. Seth Godin writes:
The new high productivity calculation, though, is very different: Decide what you’re going to do next, and then do it. Make good decisions about what’s next and you thrive. Innovation drives the connection economy, not low cost. The decision about what to do next is even more important than the labor spent executing it. A modern productive worker is someone who does a great job in figuring out what to do next.
Businesses live and die based on whether they make the right decisions on what to do next.
Zynga is an interesting case. They were riding high on the desktop social gaming movement and didn’t expect the environment to change so quickly. They ramped up with acquisitions, people, offices, etc. But the desktop social gaming field has been drying up of late and not growing much. Zynga didn’t expect it. As a result, Zynga’s forecasts are getting crushed. They keep on lowering estimates and revenue forecasts, and this has put major downward pressure on their stock.
RIMM and Nokia were on top of the world 5 years ago but Apple stole their lunch and now they’ve got to figure out what to do next - something they should have figured out years ago.
The bigger question is how do you get good at figuring out what to do next. Just like a hockey player headed to where the puck is going to be… you’ve got to be ok with leaving your current position. You’ve got to be okay with failing at times (ie., maybe the puck doesn’t go where you thought it would be). You need to look at all the other players in the game because each person affects where the puck could end up. In other words, you’ need to be good at reading the field. You need to put an end to indecision which will cause you to stand still and miss the opportunity.
And maybe most important of all, you’ve got to want the puck really bad.