Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Training Day

Happy New Year and commiserations to all those of you who will have your time wasted by the nonsense known as 'Training Day'.

I read the autobiography of Alan Sugar and the biography of Steve Jobs recently. The two men were both very successful in the same industry, but the contrast between them is immense. I suppose it shows that there is more than one formula for success.

Jobs was obsessed with trivial details such as the colour of the computer case and the type of screws used to hold his machines together, whereas Sugar focussed on getting every component for the cheapest possible price.

Steve Jobs paid a fortune to a design agency for his adverts, Alan Sugar did them himself. Jobs was a charismatic and brilliant presenter, whereas Sugar isn't. Apple products cost three times the equivalent PC price, Amstrads sold for a third. (I should say at this point that I've never used either brand of computer).

It strikes me that Steve Jobs' genius, was to persuade people to pay over the odds for fashion (just like North Face or White Stuff manage to do), whereas Alan Sugar's was to figure out how to make a product cheaper than anyone else.

Both are interesting books, but I can't claim that I would have liked to have spent much time with either of them unfortunately. Jobs comes across as rude, self-centred and constantly throwing a tantrum, Sugar just seems a bit dull.

Oh, you may have noticed from the box on the right hand side, that I have started using Twitter. I don't really understand it yet, but have just decided to give it a go for a few weeks and see if anyone wants to listen to my witterings.


Anonymous said...

They are examples of different strategies. Sugar pursued a 'least cost' approach & Jobs 'differentiated' by establishing a strong brand identity. Or he might have 'focused' on spoilt brats. Not sure which & can't be arsed to think about it.

You might find it interesting to read a book by a bloke called Michael Porter; "Competitive Strategy". He goes into it all there - not rocket science & anybody who can recognise & deal with a second order differential equation would find it trivial.

Porter led the way for hordes of mediocre minds to make a career from 'business studies'. Sugar led the way for a handful of people to just get on with it & make a quid, thus demonstrating that quality of mind counts for less than just working hard.


Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced that the success of the 'Apple' brand is due to a gullible public being swayed by considerations of fashion. Certain Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad were genuinely ground-breaking, and in general they tend to be better designed and less prone to 'bugs' than their competitors. Amstrad, by contrast, is the 'Gerald Ratner' of electronics, producing shoddy goods at a budget price.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Off topic this, but I see that the following piece of startling educational research has revealed that kids who are raised by both parents are better adjusted and perform better at school than those whose mother is an unmarried slapper:


Bleedin' Obvious, or what?

ShrekTheTeacher said...

I would have loved to meet Steve Jobs, a genuine world changer. You can do pretty much anything you want on a PC or an Apple, but doing it on an Apple is actually a pleasure. Not sure Sir Alan will be remembered in 100 years, but Steve Jobs will be.

Anonymous said...

Sir Alan once, I believe, in an unguarded moment, when asked about a product's seeming surplus of LED's and graphics, referred to the look as a "Mug's eyeful" That was just after I'd bought my son one of his "Music Centres" V. gimmicky, awful performance. Never bought another Amstrad product once I realized what he thought of customers.

Anonymous said...

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Miss Jones said...

This post made me really think about how very little we (as educators) are doing to support the children who could be our next Alan Sugar or Steve Jobs. However, they can log onto Club Penguin without support and really enjoy using the spray icon on Paint.

:-) Miss