It’s difficult to “hard work” your way to success

Mac fans are crowing about Apple’s current success–that they have a market cap 20% higher than Dell’s. The lesson, other than the fact that pundits and the media are wrong 11
times out of every 9 predictions, is that Apple didn’t succeed by
digging in, working all night and doing more of what they’d been doing.
They succeeded because they willfully changed the game. And then changed it again.

Here’s a great list from David Pogue: Pogue’s Posts.

* Fortune, 2/19/1996: “By the time you read this story, the quirky
cult company…will end its wild ride as an independent enterprise.”

* Time Magazine, 2/5/96: “One day Apple was a major technology
company with assets to make any self respecting techno-conglomerate
salivate. The next day Apple was a chaotic mess without a strategic
vision and certainly no future.”

* BusinessWeek, 10/16/95: “Having underforecast demand, the company
has a $1 billion-plus order backlog….The only alternative: to merge
with a company with the marketing and financial clout to help Apple
survive the switch to a software-based company. The most likely
candidate, many think, is IBM Corp.”

* A Forrester Research analyst, 1/25/96 (quoted in, of all places,
The New York Times): “Whether they stand alone or are acquired, Apple
as we know it is cooked. It’s so classic. It’s so sad.”

* Nathan Myhrvold (Microsoft’s chief technology officer, 6/97: “The
NeXT purchase is too little too late. Apple is already dead.”

* Wired, “101 Ways to Save Apple,” 6/97: “1. Admit it. You’re out of the hardware game.”

* BusinessWeek, 2/5/96: “There was so much magic in Apple Computer
in the early ’80s that it is hard to believe that it may fade away.
Apple went from hip to has-been in just 19 years.”

* Fortune, 2/19/1996: “Apple’s erratic performance has given it the
reputation on Wall Street of a stock a long-term investor would
probably avoid.”

* The Economist, 2/23/95: “Apple could hang on for years, gamely
trying to slow the decline, but few expect it to make such a mistake.
Instead it seems to have two options. The first is to break itself up,
selling the hardware side. The second is to sell the company outright.”

* The Financial Times, 7/11/97: “Apple no longer plays a leading
role in the $200 billion personal computer industry. ‘The idea that
they’re going to go back to the past to hit a big home run…is
delusional,’ says Dave Winer, a software developer.”