Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Behind Innovation : People

Tony Fadell was the guy who had the idea to marry a Napster like music store with an MP3 player. After leaving Philips and starting his own company: Fuse and after his company failed, he was hired by Apple.

Together with Portal Player he was in charge of the first incarnation of the iPod that later on changed the fortunes of the company and put it in the road of success. Now Fadell is leaving Apple.  

In any company is difficult to assess the contribution of everyone to a concrete innovation and probably in Apple this is more difficult than in many other companies. However Fadell brought a new idea into Apple and make it succeed.

For us now is maybe easy to accept that as normal business, but it is not. Try to put yourself 10 years ago in a company that makes computers and is proud of its computers and then imagine that you come with a small device that plays music. Where will you place it? Probably in the last page with the accessories. What was great of Apple at that time was recognizing the iPod as something that a company that makes computers should put in the front page, not only to design and produce it.

And that boils down to people, and to leadership, people wanting to take bold steps. We don’t know the real role of Fadell in this process, but we can imagine that it was significant, because behind innovation there is people and many times a single individual.

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