Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

I am a huge Apple fan. I have had numerous iPhones, MacBooks, iMacs, etc. I've coined it the "law of large companies" - eventually they get their lunch eaten by someone who doesn't yet exist and they could never see coming.

With Apple, Steve Jobs has implemented a lot of policies that try and stave this off (a single P&L, cannabalization of their own products, etc.) but I'm concerned, as "Rands" is, that the ossification of upper management will reduce the agility.

See: IBM, Microsoft, Yahoo. It'll happen to Google, and it'll happen to Apple. It seems as certain as the laws of thermodynamics. As a company gets bigger and exists longer, the probability that someone is going to disrupt them approaches 1.

The skills needed to manage a large company are almost diametrically opposed to the skills needed to manage a disruptive startup.

I think Jobs was one of those exceedingly rare individuals that could gracefully handle either situation. He was just as dangerous as a startup founder as he was the CEO of a huge corporation.

Forstall apparently was one of Jobs' key players, despite having a huge target on his back where other Apple managers were concerned. I bet that Jobs knew exactly what Forstall's strengths and weaknesses were, and he managed to use Forstall for his strengths while keeping his weaknesses contained. With Jobs' passing, Forstall lost his protection, and Apple lost the person that was effectively able to manage someone like Forstall.

Except, as IBM proves, being disrupted need not be fatal. The certainty that another giant will arise seems obviously to approach 1 over time, but that Apple will die rather than successfully re-invent itself less so.

The Hudson's Bay company was incorporated in 1670, and has been in continuous operation since. It's one of the dominant big-box stores in Canada, moreso since Eatons closed down, and in the U.S. owns Zellers and Home Outfitters. The tech industry seems to have a very dark view of corporate lifespans because of the apparently quick cycle of birth and death, but it's not obvious that it has to be that way, even over centuries.

Useless trivia. The Hudson's Bay company's largest sale ever was the sale of Prince Rupert's Land to Canada.

For Americans, the amount of land sold was larger than the Louisiana Purchase.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact