Whether a company is a newly established start-up with a single employee or a multinational conglomerate with a global portfolio, they share a defining similarity – the desire to evolve and grow. Be it Andy the builder, with his humble tools and van, or LVMH, with their vast and eclectic diversity of interests, they fundamentally desire the same thing. The drive to succeed, and the opportunity to provide a service or product which will improve people’s quality of life and experience of life.
One could say that a key to this success is a genuine and established passion in whatever this service or product is. Take for example a conversation – the enthusiastic person talking with fire in their eyes and emotion in their heart is always going to be more engaging than the chap nodding his head and looking at his phone paying partial attention. The same is true in business, it is the passion in an idea that defines its potentials. It is the belief in an idea that drives creation, and the same belief which took humble man from etching on cave wall to planting his mark on the moon.
The most successful companies are those which have that passion and believe in man’s capacity to orchestrate change and innovation. They understand that growth is organic, and that the route to innovation involves a combination of control and experimentation. True innovation occurs when passion meets ideas, and the product of this is given the opportunity to flourish and grow. There is a quote of unknown origin often associated with Buddhism which applies rather fittingly to this notion: “If One truly cares for a flower then it will be watered daily, if one simply likes a flower then it will be plucked.” This enigmatic, almost proverbial quote is a rather delightful analogy for business growth.
Consider Steve Jobs; the former CEO and one of the genius’ behind the international entity that is now Apple. His reputation and the brilliance which established him as one of the key pioneers in the microcomputer revolution could be attributed to his innovative ideological approach, rather than actual computer understanding. Jobs perceived the potential of a growing industry – and despite limited computer knowledge, he saw not what was but what could be. His explosive passion and dynamic business acumen allowed him to innovate his idea and create one of the most successful corporations to exist:
“I was lucky to get into computers when it was a very young and idealistic industry. There weren't many degrees offered in computer science, so people in computers were brilliant people from mathematics, physics, music, zoology, whatever. They loved it, and no one was really in it for the money [...] There are people around here who start companies just to make money, but the great companies, well, that's not what they're about."
The innovative energy of Apple has not only defined the industry, it has defined culture, it has changed the way people access information and essentially enhanced the way they live their lives. One could speculate that this success was fundamentally because Jobs realised that what a great company is about is considering the value of ideas, innovation and how their application can revolutionise industry.
Apple’s 1984 iconoclastic advertisement for the first Macintosh represents Job’s appreciation that success involves innovation, and an element of risk. To truly advance to new frontiers, one must roll the dice, whilst maintaining some dice in the hand. The power of this commercial is in its eccentricity, the utter artistic uniqueness paired with professional directing. The artistic freedom of the production paired with the timing – to coincide with the 1984 Superbowl ensured attention was entranced, and the Macintosh advert was not just another fad.