There are times when I chuckle at Monday morning armchair quarterbacks who determine what a football could and should have done and what a team needs to do to improve. Anyone who proclaims to know more than the coach or team’s management in any given situation can be accused of hubris.
In its ancient Greek context, it typically describes behavior that defies the norms of behavior or challenges the gods, and which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris.
Hubris is an attitude and behavior. Apple’s critics have it in spades. How so?
Many who follow Apple have such hubris, and some even accuse Apple of having it, too. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives:
Better execution, a more innovative product strategy, larger M&A around content/more services, and losing pricing hubris will need to take place in Cupertino, with Cook’s chess moves over the coming months laying the groundwork to help get Apple out of its darkest chapter in the modern iPhone era
In other words, to carry the football analogy down the field, Apple fumbled. Why? Hubris.
Let’s look at the football analogy. If a coach calls a play that will either win or lose the game, and the play fails, critics could accuse the coach of hubris, which resulted in the team’s loss. Wrong play! Yet, if the coach calls the same play and it succeeds– same players on the field, same situation; win or lose on the result– the coach is considered brilliant.
Anybody got a problem with that?
Execution is the issue, not the plan. In the first situation, the team did not execute well and the play failed. In the second situation, the team executed the same play and succeeded.
Same play. Different result. One is called a huge mistake. The other is a brilliant move. Both are the same situation and the same play.
Where does the problem really exist?
Critics. Monday morning armchair quarterbacks. Those who claim to know exactly what a team– or a business– should do to succeed and not fail.
Apple’s financial performance since co-founder Steve Jobs returned in 1997 has been stellar at every turn; growth, revenue, profits, product line, stock price. Anyone who says otherwise is taking an exercise in hubris.
Headlines regarding Apple’s recent missed guidance are horrific. Horrifically wrong in their analysis. Somehow, Apple’s prices are out of line and led the company to miss earnings guidance for the past quarter.
Yet, those same prices with their hefty gross margins have not resulted in any issue except China– for iPhone, iPad, and Mac– and, according to CEO Tim Cook, have not suffered elsewhere. Prices are not the issue. We live in a capitalist world. Everybody is out to get your money. Products are priced based upon what the market will bear. Obviously, the market allows Apple to charge more and collect more revenue and profits than competitors.
Prices are not the problem here. Hubris is the problem. Both at Apple and among critics.