It’ll Never Work


Back in April 2001 Steve Jobs introduced the world to a brand new Apple product. The iPod.

The iPod went on to become a huge success but what were the initial thoughts of those who were already Apple fans? While some thought it was a great idea, others weren’t so sure. As the announcement was being made, many were hitting an Apple forum with their thoughts on Apple’s New Thing.

I still can’t believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous! Who cares about an MP3 player? I want something new! I want them to think differently!

Why oh why would they do this?! It’s so wrong! It’s so stupid!

People were expecting more. Even though the iPod was about to revolutionise the way people listened to music, many people didn’t really think that a 5 GB music player would ever amount to much.

And then they saw the price. Not only did Apple want them to buy a glorified MP3 player, they wanted people to pay a premium price.

OH NO! Just checked Apple Store – they want $399.00 for this thing…Ouch!!!

This new device seemed doomed to failure in many people’s minds. A lot of people were trying to see the future as simply an extension of what came before. Apple was offering a new way of doing things. Many couldn’t get past the past.

I have no use for an Mp3 player.

My house has a CD player.
My car has a CD player.
My Mac has a CD player.

I don’t use headphones.

The iPod requires me to change my lifestyle to meet it’s needs…

I need round holes, not square holes.

For $99 I might buy the toy, for $399? Why?

While the iPod as a separate device is now losing popularity, it certainly has had an amazing history over the last decade and a half. (I should add that I have an iPod Classic with over 8000 songs on it. I’m not giving up on the iPod anytime soon.)

Apple took an enormous risk with the iPod. What would have happened if people hadn’t embraced this new device? Not everything Apple has developed and released has worked. They’ve had some spectacular flops but that hasn’t stopped them from looking for something new. Their successes have more than compensated for the times that they’ve got it wrong. (Or maybe the times that the public failed to embrace something new.)

It’s sometimes difficult to move ahead with an idea when everyone seems to be an expert and the so-called experts are telling you your ideas won’t work. How do you draw the line between believing in your own ideas and listening to good advice?

I wonder how often we’re prepared to do something that’s never been done before. Are we prepared to take a risk and do something different or are our ideas simply a slightly better way of doing something we’re already doing? How do we balance the very real need for improving what we’re currently doing and the need to find the next big thing?

Do you have ideas that you’ve put in the ‘that’ll never work’ category? Is it time to pull them out of the too hard basket for another look?

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