Three lessons from Apple…

“Everyone in silicon valley was trying to be someone else…”
~Welcome to Macintosh

It is no secret that I’m a Mac. I watched Welcome to Macintosh, written and directed by filmmakers Robert Baca and Josh Rizzo, while my wife baked incredible delights. Expecting to enjoy the back ground story behind my beloved computer company, three big lessons stood out to me: 1) Be who you are, 2) Only take on projects you are passionate about and 3) Be dedicated to your strategy. These lessons are reflected both positively and negatively in Apple.

1) Be who you are!
A theme throughout the documentary was people trying to be who they were not. In Apple’s dark times, this was rampant. People in Apple were trying to be Steve Jobs, or some other key person. (It was also mentioned that its a Silicon Valley wide issue.) This theme really came out when discussing the future of Apple without Steve Jobs. The worst thing that could happen would be for someone to come in and try and be the next Steve.

Ministry touch point
One thing is clear: God designed you to be you, and ministry happens best when you are true to how God designed you! Focus on how God designed you. There may be similarities with others. There may be great ideas from others you can incorporate. But, the final question must always be asked and answered effectively: Who did God design YOU to be?

2) Only take on projects you are passionate about
A key quote from the movie: “When Apple really got behind a product, it did well, when they didn’t, it did really poor.” The story of the iPod demonstrated this point. Apple did not invent the mp3 player. Apple revolutionized it. Good design aesthetics and simplicity stand as pillars in Apple culture. The people of Apple also love music. The iPod revolutionized the mp3 market and music industry based on the merging of those two passions. Apple’s culture of innovation and passion drive the company, more so than the profit aspect. Its art verses business. It’s being verses doing.

Ministry touch point
If God is our delight, our desires will become/match up with His. If a project lacks passion, a key question to ask is: Is this what God wants us to do? (Sometimes the answer is yes, as obedience to His Word is another key aspect.) Passion is not everything, but it is what often will gets the job done. No something is not a negative. The power of no is a stronger yes. God gives us all 24/7 to accomplish His will. Our no’s are just as important as our yes. Go for the passionate yes, and be ready to say no a lot.

3) Be dedicated to your strategy
Innovation, simplicity, good design drive Apple. It is not a mistake that Apple developed 3 game changers: the personal computer, the iPod, and the iPhone. Apple rarely invented a concept, but they revolutionized it and made it usable. Apple’s success came about when they held to their core strategy or values. Again, its about being not doing.

Ministry touch point
How you get a job done is as important as what you do. Its a variation on the “Its the journey not the destination” principle. Understanding and articulating your values and strategy is essential to accomplishing effective ministry in the long run. Being creative is not always about new, but making something usable and best. Apple innovated, and their strategy centers on that. Innovation and creativity should be a result of who you are, and not the other way around. Its about being missional not program driven.

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