Bigger Than the Outcome

You are probably aware by now that Apple announced on Wednesday their newest iPhone would not have a headphone jack. The majority of people who care are outraged. I love it.

photo credit: Thomas Leuthard via creative commons

photo credit: Thomas Leuthard via creative commons

This has nothing to do with me pretending to know anything other than the average person about technology or marketing. I like it because it’s different and it makes me want to make similar decisions in my own life.

You might hate Apple or you might love them. What I’m getting at has nothing to do with either. It does however speak to something Apple does really well and causes millions to purchase their products.

Yes I know all of the details about how they haven’t created things but rather designed better versions of them. This isn’t a post about being an Apple apologist or a defense of the removal of the headphone jack. It’s a post about doing things outside of the norm in the world we are in.

Apple got shredded for their defense of removing the headphone jack. Phil Schiller, their Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, said this when explaining the removal: “It comes down to one word: Courage.”

This led to everyone making meme’s and poking fun at them. I get it. We think courage must be someone risking their life for their country, which it is. We think it’s a single mom applying for a second job she is unqualified for in order to help her family, which it is. Nobody is saying Apple’s removal of the headphone jack is more courageous than any of those things. It’s nowhere close.

Maybe removing the headphone jack will be a disaster. Perhaps it will work out great. To me it doesn’t matter.

What matters is planning to do something which you know you will be criticized for and deciding to do it anyway. Whatever you want to call it, it’s something I want and have a feeling you want it as well. We don’t want to limit ourselves and not take risks. Most of us don’t want to play it safe but most of us do. Why? Because we don’t want to be criticized. With social media everyone has a platform to criticize whatever they want. When I see someone do something different like Apple did I wonder why everyone gets so upset.

Apple isn’t afraid of being criticized. They consistently challenge what everyone believes. They fail and they succeed but either way they don’t stop. I want that type of different thinking.

Again, I don’t know if this will work and I understand this is exactly the type of thing which makes people despise Apple. But look beyond it. Even if you love Apple look away from it. Think about the last time you did something different.

I have learned what’s important is bigger than the outcome. It’s great if it works out. But choosing to do something crazy is bigger than the result. Apple chooses to look at what’s bigger than the outcome and it has worked out well. Even if the removal of the headphone jack is a disaster I think it’s worth it.

A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs

How to Deal with Criticism

We all have to deal with it at some level. It does not matter if you make millions of dollars or if you live paycheck to paycheck, criticism will come your way.

Today I read an article in Bloomberg Businessweek about Under Armour’s presence (or lack thereof) in the World Cup. The article bashes Under Armour for having an incredibly small number of players (2) who are wearing their cleats and points out that no country is using them for their kits.

The article brings up some great points but as I read it I could not help but think about how much this company has accomplished. I do not know much about it but it was founded in 1996 and has done incredible things in a very short amount of time.

The company did not even start making cleats until 2006 and has already made some headway in that arena. Even an average fan has seen their logo pop up everywhere over the last few years.

I bring this up because I believe all of us struggle with wondering what other people think about us. We think people will make fun of our dreams and sometimes even worse they may make fun of our dreams and they might be right.

I sometimes find myself thinking I want to be so successful so I can live without fear of criticism from others because I have accomplished something which will give me credibility. The truth is success doesn’t stop criticism. In some cases it even increases it. I have not experienced it first hand but after reading this article it made me realize how wrong I have been.

Don’t let your dreams be stopped before they even start by worrying about what criticism you may or may not receive. Criticism comes when you are close to the top as often as it comes when you are on rock bottom.