Today’s nugget keyword is not a keyword but rather a phrase. I was reading a blog post on AllthingsD the other day, and to no one’s surprise or dismay, Apple quietly announce that it is phasing out their social network Ping (click here for full article). With Twitter and soon to be Facebook integration in full order, CEO Tim Cook stated this week, “We tried Ping, and I think the customer voted and said ‘This isn’t something that I want to put a lot of energy into.’ ”
This discussion and blog post on Ping got me thinking about phrase by the legendary Peter Drucker, “Your backroom is someone else’s front room” (click here). One of Dr. Drucker’s fundamental beliefs is you should do only what you do best; play to your strengths. In addition, managers should partner with other firms who can complement their strengths to minimize their weaknesses.
Dr. Drucker defined the “front room” as your strengths, or what the firm does best; the activity that which stirs your passion and shows off your excellence. Everything else is the firm’s backroom, and most definitely, some other firm does it better. So the idea is to excel in your front room and find another firm to do your backroom.
In the Apple exemplar, we are all very familiar with Apple’s front room; iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, etc., While Ping was in the front room, Apple was by no means excelling with Ping. There were multiple other firms who did social networking better than Apple, and Apple is finally partnering with them. I hope LinkedIn will be a partner in the near future too.
What surprises me most of this announcement is that every article that discusses either the Walter Isaacson book (click here) or the Adam Lashinsky book (click here) emphasizes that one of the main elements to Apple’s success is Apple’s ability to focus on just a few great things. I guess even the mighty Apple looses focus every now and then and spends too much energy on something that someone else does much better.
Something to think about today…
Associate Professor of Marketing
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University