The Most Fundamental Lesson Of Productivity You Can Learn From Apple

Right now, Apple is spending money building “Apple Numbers.”

For all you non-Mac users, this is the pre-loaded spreadsheet tool you get when you buy a Mac.

How many people use it?

How many people rely on Apple Numbers?


The truth is that we didn’t buy the Mac because it was great at spreadsheets. We bought it because of the experience of using it over other computers.

So why bother building all the rest?

This isn’t how these companies BUILT their brands in the first place. They built their brands by focusing, relentlessly, on the single most important features to THEIR customers–and no one else’s.

This is an important lesson to remember as we focus on what we want in our lives. Everything we do costs time and money.

It’s up to you how you spend it.

We can only be productive when we put those resources into what matters; everything else is a distraction. Apple is wasting resources going after segments of the market that are useless to capture. If Apple really wanted to, they could be the best spreadsheet developers in the world, but they’re not, they’re Apple. As Apple’s stakeholders grasp more influence over the direction of the company, the company’s alignment with customers begins to fade.

What made them successful was the attention to the needs of the market without being distracted by what companies like Microsoft were building or saying. It turned out, Apple’s customers had different needs than Microsoft’s customers, and they were able to carve out a huge market segment with which they could align.

Boom. Product/Market fit.

By focusing on what consumers actually responded to, Apple was able to build a cash cow brand without anyone seeing it coming.

You only have a limited amount of time and resources to make your impact.

Being productive doesn’t mean working 100 hours a week. It means deciding what’s important and having the discipline to stick to it and pull back when you get distracted.

Don’t be Apple Numbers. Be Apple.

2 Minute Action

Make a list of three things that make you feel alive.

What activities give you energy?

What things drain you?

Now take the last two weeks of your calendar. How many hours were at work? How many were outside? How many were with others?

Look carefully at your time audit and compare it to your list.

Are you focusing on the right things, or will you look back at a life lived untrue to yourself and interests?

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