Imagine Magic

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That’s what I did a couple of weeks ago at the Sales Champions workshops in Cupertino, CA.  With Apple.  And IBM.  We imagined the magic that we will create in the market.  The magic of doing something that has never been done before.  Re-inventing the way work gets done.  Redefining the mobile enterprise.  Taking analytical insights, from systems of record, simplifying workflows, and putting it all on mobile devices.  WOW!

I am a fan of America’s Got Talent.  I especially like the magicians – the guy that singed Mel B’s palms this season or the ‘up close’ magician from last season.  “How did they do that?” is always the first thing that pops into my head.  So it is with Apple.  It’s hard to remember how we listened to music before the iPod or what we did with mobile phones before the iPhone.  How did they do that?  I learned a thing or two about the Apple mystique these past two days.  They use words that we often don’t hear during our workday.  “What do we want people to feel?”  “Delight, surprise, love, joy, inspire, BLOW YOUR MIND….WOW”.  When was the last time you talked about joy in a meeting room?

They have focus – all the things they make fit on a table.  They have 5 products.  And they are a $170B company (2013 revenue).  WOW.  They do not publish release dates because they don’t know when the product will be ready.  They choose not to release 1000 pieces of crap (their words) when they could deliver 1 device that is magical.  They prefer to do a few things well and to spend time perfecting rather than racing to deadlines.

As I thought about how IBM fits with this creative, inventive, demanding of perfection, and, yes, irreverent, company, I was reminded of an interview I did with a 10-year-old student in the Minneapolis school districts many years ago.  She was transferring from an Open school to a more traditional school.  When I asked her why she was doing that (open schools seemed a lot more fun to me at the time) she said, “In my old school, we talked a lot about feelings, which was great.  But I want to learn about math.  At my new school, I’m going to learn about math.”  No judgment here – feelings are great, but so is math.

IBM brings math to the partnership.  Apple knows how to inspire, but they recognize that getting to deployment is hard.  They need a partner that has scale, execution prowess, and assets like Bluemix, MaaS360, a world-class analytics portfolio.  As Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, told us, “There are no 2 better matched companies in the world.  We have zero overlap.  We both set high bars for excellence and customer satisfaction.  We fit together like a puzzle, and we are both committed to doing great work in re-inventing the enterprise.  Our differences are something to celebrate.”  (note that this is a paraphrase of what Tim said, taken from my notes).

And so we stand at a moment in history.  We will look back and struggle to remember what work was like before the Apple + IBM partnership.  As Bridget said, we need to “take it” – this opportunity to change the world.  I’m all in.

Global Oracle Service Line Leader at IBM

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