Focus in Business Means Leaving Money on the Table: Apple

This post is a continuation from a recent post about Scientific Management and the Toyota Way.

Something we are working on is some additional capacity in peak periods (as auto manufacturers have additional suppliers they can bring online if a sudden surge in demand appears). Gradually we are getting there. In the meantime, I take great care not to take on more work than we can handle. There's at least a $100,000/month of business which I'm not seeking as we just couldn't maintain quality standards yet. We are working on increasing capacity first and then slowly adding those additional clients.

My girlfriend is shocked and horrified that we are leaving this kind of money on the table. Her shock diminished when I explained that every day Foliovision leaves millions on the table in Slovakia alone:

  • Tesco and Carrefour selling food and kitchenware we could be selling
  • VUB, CSOB, Unicredit, Slovenska Sporitelna are picking up banking fees which we could have
  • T-Mobile and Orange are collecting mobile communication fees which we could enjoy instead

Every day every company in the world leaves millions if not billions on the table. There is simply not enough time to earn all the money in the world. You have to make choices. As an example, even Apple Computer has taken the computer out of their name and have dropped in the last few years:

  • Xserve: server production
  • Shake, one of the top video post-production tools, extensively used in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Dark Knight to name just a few productions.
  • Aperture as professional photo processing gear (hopelessly behind in Lightroom 3 in terms of image quality for low light and lens correction)
  • DVD Studio Pro
  • Final Cut Pro as a full scale professional editing application

In general, Apple despite their huge profits and huge bank accounts can't manage to maintain focus on desktop systems at the same time they develop iOS and iPhones and iPads. Despite buildings, even campuses full of programmers.

The focus on creating this iOS universe is extremely disturbing for those who have been their long-term customers and advocates. We are slowly looking at Linux. Many of us just won't be taking the Lion train. We don't want to hand over the keys to our computer to Apple.

By discontinuing Final Cut Pro Studio alone, Apple is giving up selling thousands of $10,000 edit suites.

But Apple doesn't care. They've run the numbers and catering to us would cost them billions. So Apple stay focused and are the second largest company in the world, leaving their long time rivals at IBM, Microsoft and new rivals at Google behind in their dust.

This is a principal lesson to be learned from Apple for Foliovision. Focus and quality. Choose your path and follow it. Leave money on the table. Your business will be better for it.

Increasing capacity means developing our flat management structure which is another post.

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