The announcement of Apple’s staggering quarterly profit (generated at a rate of £5.4 million/hour reveals an interesting response. An obsession with how that rate of growth can be maintained. It seems to reveal a “milking” attitude to growth rather than a developmental approach by shareholders. Apple has phenomenal creative capacity.if it was owned by people with real agency, maybe they would be investing the cash pile the company has generated in something adventurous, and accept a temporary levelling of of profit and a degree of risk.
It is an important lesson I think.
With the chronic levels of uncertainty we have, shareholders without agency are a huge constraint on creativity. When Apple hits a poorer quarter (as it inevitably will), these shareholders will call for Tim Cook’s head, eschew any responsibility for their shortsightedness, and sell their stock.
This approach gives owner managed businesses a huge opportunity. They can move faster, take risks, and involve their staff in pursuit of a common purpose much more engaging than making stockholders rich.
They can break the rules that have to followed by their publicly listed brethren.
It requires different ways of thinking and acting, and turning away from the generic orthodoxy pushed on them by consultants and banks (disclosure. This is why we formed GrowHouse, so I have an interest here)
They can make great use of tools that can leverage their flexibility, including adopting Agile philosophies and the tools that go with it to create opportunities to outmanoeuvre and disrupt bigger businesses.
Handled well, uncertainty is a huge opportunity, not a threat.
They can focus on tomorrow, not be addicted to yesterday.
Separately, there is great report on the creative and high tech economy just published by Nesta that is well with reading