Thursday, April 19, 2012

BIG’s Blog: The Secret to Longevity - Reinvention

“They spent the rest of the time talking about where Apple should focus in the future. Job’s ambition was to build a company that would endure, and he asked Markkula what the formula for that would be. Markkula replied that lasting companies know how to reinvent themselves. Hewlett-Packard had done that repeatedly; it started as an instrument company, then became a calculator company, then a computer company. ‘Apple has been sidelined by Microsoft in the PC business,’ Markkula said. ‘You’ve got to reinvent the company to do some other thing, like other consumer products or devices. You’ve got to be like a butterfly and have a metamorphosis.’ Jobs didn’t say much, but he agreed.”
Excerpt from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Isn’t it amazing to look back at the genesis of today’s Apple as being a conversation between Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula? Mike Markkula was an early Apple investor and the second CEO of Apple who remained a close confidant of Steve Jobs throughout his life. The above conversation happened before there was an iPod, iPhone or iPad, back when Apple was under pressure for a new strategic direction.

Isn’t this the very same situation nonprofit fundraisers find themselves in today? The old tried and true ways of fundraising are becoming less and less effective. And it is getting harder and harder to keep blaming the 2008 recession for the drop in donations. Something more fundamental has changed. Aren’t fundraisers in exactly the same position as Steve Jobs in the early 2000s, struggling to figure out a new strategic direction? Wouldn’t you love to have a conversation with Mike Markkula to reinvent your fundraising organization?

Sometimes it’s just good to be reminded that other very smart people have faced serious situations in their industries where the playing field suddenly shifted.

And even someone like Steve Jobs needed advice and counsel for a new strategic direction to reinvent Apple. . .  

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