Peak Mac

from Seth’s Blog

The Grateful Dead hit their peak in 1977. Miles Davis in 1959, Warhol perhaps ten years later. It’s not surprising that artists hit a peak—their lives have an arc, and so does the work. It can’t possibly keep amazing us forever.

Fans say that the Porsche arguably hit a peak in 1995 or so, and the Corvette before that. Sears hit a peak more than a decade ago. It’s more surprising to us when a brand, an organization or a business hits a peak, because the purpose of the institution is to improve over time. They gain more resources, more experience, more market acceptance… they’re not supposed to get bored, or old or lose their touch. If Disney hadn’t peaked, there would never have been a Pixar. If Nokia and Motorola hadn’t peaked, there never would have been a smart phone.

One reason for peaking turns out to be success.

Success means more employees, more meetings and more compromise. Success means more pressure to expand the market base and to broaden the appeal to get there. Success means that stubborn visionaries are pushed aside by profit-maximizing managers.

An organization that seeks to continue its success, that wants to keep its promises to customers, employees and investors needs to be on alert for where the peak lies, and be ready to do something about it. And the answer isn’t more meetings or more layers of spec.

More here.

, , ,

19 Responses to Peak Mac

  1. Daniel Kelly October 20, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    While I might agree that mac has reached a peak, the visual metaphor suggests to me that the Author believes a company reaches its peak and declines which simply is not true. Rather, it is not necessarily true and I believe that if a company peaks that they have just enough if not more of a chance of reaching a second peak. Certainly when a group of people stop caring and work on producing products as quickly, cheaply or for as much money as can be made, the product suffers. But, sometimes, and this is not all the time, there is the chance for a company to decline for a short time and then come roaring back. Think of Disney before it’s renaissance in the 1990’s. The company had clearly peaked under Disney but then came back with a vengeance when a series of serious creators put amazing work on the screen. Now the company, after faltering in the mid 2000’s, quite possibly owns the film industry through Marvel and Star Wars. They are now competing with themselves. Some companies could be killed by market over saturation and a lack of care, like Starbucks may soon find themselves, but many can make that come back. Think back to the 1980’s when the video game industry crashed. Like the author described peak for apple, an entire industry just seemed to stop caring and payed dearly. To a point where video games might not have come back as a reality. Then a company came in with a new pitch, a new idea and without Nintendo we would not have this massive industry though some believe it may be in for another crash. So, my counterpoint to this argue is not denying the validity of his statement and certainly I believe there is a massive glut of idiotic I-products. (why is there an ipen, what is an ipen and who would buy it) But, a peak for me never spells the death of a company or an industry but opens the door for new blood to fill the market with great products. The thing about Apple was that we simply did not know we even wanted a phone with a screen that could access the internet, if Apple begins to fall behind it only provides them with a chance to give us the next Steve Jobs and the next Iphone.
    Absolutely, the company should be marketing towards and listening to its audience, but sometimes the company is worse off for listening to them. On a very basic scientific level, my mind has no idea what it wants beyond a bed and food along with a glass of water. I did not know I wanted a cup that heated up water and made tea with the push of a button because on a fundamental level I simply cannot know my desire for that product. The point of innovation is, sometimes, to listen to a new idea that is based on the customer in mind but not necessarily listening to them. We did not know we wanted chunky tomato sauce until someone made it, and we certainly did not know we wanted a portable computer screen until Steve Jobs told us so. What I believe the writer was suggesting is that when maintaining these systems, they should listen to what works and use real people to test the products rather than follow the corporate talking heads telling them what a statistic wants. Sadly, a statistic will not have need for my product, the people in their broadest sense will. The techies will know how they want their i-device working and will give feedback and interesting comments. Innovation and this kind of technical bug fixing are different in my opinion. A good company, as I see it, which is following what people but keeping a distance goes back to Disney. They are looking into making the next Star Wars, and created an insulated group that wants to work on the project. They know they have the market and so their idea is now to simply release the product they want. This is what I imagine is most likely to create the most innovative project and artistic work. This kind of insulated but connected think tank model that I think will be able to fight off stagnation and peaking for a very long time.

    1. “Seth’s Blog.” Seth’s Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. .

    “Star Wars: The Force Awakens – J.J. Abrams Interview – D23 2015 – IGN Video.” IGN. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. .

    “Are We On The Cusp Of Another Video Game Industry Crash?” Talk Amongst Yourselves. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. .

  2. Isabel Goodman October 23, 2015 at 7:40 pm #

    After reading this article, I would say that Seth makes an interesting point about when companies peak. The term “peaking” is often used when describing a particular person’s accomplishments and that everything after is all downhill. What Seth describes as a peak is when there is no growth. It happens when companies are lazy and content with their products and the company strategy itself. The authors says that he, himself is bothered by Apple’s peak because he is one of their consumers. He feels as though a company lets down its consumers when it reaches a peak because there is nothing more the consumer can get from them and they will most likely change companies in order to find an experience better than what they had before. While he makes an interesting point, I’m not sure if I fully agree with what he is saying. I do not think Apple is at its peak right now. I think with the lines that still exist when a new device lets out and the hype surrounding every new update, there is no way Apple is letting down consumers. Apple is a lifestyle product that fits into a certain person’s life. Buying Apple is buying luxury and I do not see that changing any time soon. While I am not an expert on software and how that effects the products, I feel like with every new update my product and experience, as a customer is getting better. Whether I am naïve or not, I feel many consumers would agree with me. While I do not agree with him on this particular topic, I do think his ways of advising companies to steer clear of the peak is very helpful. He warns them to look into the future. A good company should not have a peak because they should always be improving. Once they give up and reach their max success, nothing will be the same. In order to avoid the peak, companies must keep their values in order and serve the customer everything they had promised them. In addition, the innovation cannot stop. The company cannot get lazy and simply decide to give up and let their product speak for themselves. A successful company knows that even their most successful product can only be successful for so long before competition gets involved and other companies create a better product. Because of this, they can never stop being innovative. While Seth and I may disagree about the validity of his statement that Apple is at its peak, I know that what he is saying about the peak is true. Once companies reach this point, the future does not look so bright and something must be done. For now, at least to me, Apple is in the clear. But that is not to say that Apple may never reach a peak at which no more success is possible because they were lazy and did not follow their values. Any company, regardless of how successful, can hit this point but it is all about the steps taken to ensure that it does not.

  3. Lauren Gutowski October 27, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    Talk to any celebrity or person with a high-end corporate job, no one likes to discuss about “the peak”. Yes, the moment when success slowly begins its downward slope and all that good stuff accomplished seemed harder to achieve now. The one interesting thing is how reaching this pinnacle in a career differs from popular artists to renowned companies. Madonna, Britney Spears, Clint Eastwood, etc. are still considered famous but definitely are not plastered on the tabloids or featured on the E! Network as much as they used. For business though peaking is a bit different. Even though products may not seem as efficient as they used to be, the corporation still has its goal and still delivers many benefits to its customers. Once the peak is identified, employees need to do something about it (making their products still relevant to society or develop something unique). Any brand loyal people could easily pick out what a company remains consistent with and what seems to be lacking lately. But even if there is consistency, what more can that product line deliver to its customers? There is only so much usage in something until innovators decide to either perfect the product or branch ideas off the current one and develop something new to meet additional consumer benefits. The idea of a company remaining consistent is always a challenge because as consumers only want more and more from a product, keeping up with expectations is always a challenge.
    I am proud to say I am not an Apple fanatic; minus using an iTouch for a few years I cannot recall owning any of their other products. But even I could say Apple had its peak a few years ago just from learning of my friends’ troubles with their Macs and iPhones. The cool thing is how Seth has been using a Mac for the past 30 years so he pretty much watched how the product revolutionized up until today’s standards. This makes him credible to claim that Apple software has depreciated over the past few years since his experience with the Mac stretches across a long time. Sometimes I find my friends complaining how this software update messed up this and that and now this “xyz” feature barely works. But the funny thing is even though everyone notices these flaws, they do not care enough to shy away because these products are not just the “cool new technology” anymore. They are a part of us now; they’re irresistible because we cannot survive without them. This goes mostly for technology based companies but it is absolutely true. Does America really care about the peak of certain corporations like Apple? Of course not, Apple might as well run through our DNA.

    “The best strategy for a growing organization is to have insiders be the ones calling [the peak] it. Insiders speaking up and speaking out on behalf of the users that are already customers, not merely the ones you’re hoping to acquire” But really, who looks out for the consumers when a company begins to sell us products barely up to par when looking at their last big hits?

  4. Joseph Belli October 30, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    The way Seth Godin describes peaking in his blog post titled “Peak Mac” is kind of like saying that companies ‘take one for the team’ when they peak. Godin mentions how without the peak of Disney, there would not be Pixar and if Nokia and Motorola hadn’t peaked, the smart phone would never had happened. However, he also says that when companies peak, they have reached the top of their “arc” and are on the way over the hump on a downward trend. Companies like Nokia, Motorola, and Sears have definitely peaked in the last within the last decade and you can tell that their methods basically paved the way for other companies to take over. They innovated a technology or introduced a new method of doing something and opened up more doors for newer companies. The proof is right in front of our eyes. How often (if ever) do you see someone with a Motorola or Nokia smartphone in their hand? Those who may have had one five to ten years ago have now moved to an iPhone or a Galaxy device because Apple and Samsung have changed the way we use smartphones. I cannot even begin to explain how nearly every time I go to my local mall and walk through the barren and fully stocked Sears to see maybe to or three customers in the entire store. Online shopping has truly ruled out the necessity for buying appliances, tools, and other home related goods in the store. Not to mention that Sears has basically remained similar to when they were one of the top leading conglomerates in the 60’s. When other companies were jumping into the market and introducing new ideas, Sears decided to remain stagnant keeping a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. Keeping these things in mind, it is easy to say that these companies have peaked and are now slowly reaching the end of their influence in the market. Does this mean they have reached the pinnacle of their success? Absolutely. Is that necessarily true for all companies that are going through a slump? Absolutely not.

    Seth Godin discusses how he feels that Apple is approaching their peak. Unlike Godin, I have not been a Mac user for 30 years. I have barely even had my first mac for 5 months and I believe it is the best laptop I have ever had. And that is not supported by how much I purchased it for. I have had numerous PCs that ranged in the same price as the different variations of Macs, and none of them preform equally. Using the laptops given to us by Seton Hall, for example, they have many hardware issues that are quite intolerable and are equally as expensive as my MacBook Pro. Godin of course has far more experience and knowledge on the topic and I am just looking at this scenario from a short term consumer standpoint, while he has a long term outlook. He mentions how since about three years ago when Apple products were overall more stable, they have proceeded to move in the opposite direction, often having software issues that are sometimes not tended to in a timely matter. I, being a short term user, do not see these changes and think everything operates smoothly. Also, Apple is constantly changing their technology, introducing new innovations like silent clicking, a backlit keyboard with multiple levels, and releasing multiple updates a year to ensure the stability of their product. I am a firm believer that Apple will one day take over the world in every aspect due to their adaptation to societal needs and wants, allowing them to simply monopolize everything.

  5. Rushil Gandhi October 30, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    At face value the term peaking for any ordinary individual would mean that their business is at the height of its powers and achieving the maximum amount of success it can with the current resources. But for many businessmen and corporate leaders alike peaking is a term that marks the sign for terminal decline in innovation, revenue and in just about all aspects of its business. In my opinion, when a firm peaks, it is at its most vulnerable. Like Seth Godin states in his post, when a company peaks it tends to focus more on maintaining that peak of success for as long as possible rather than trying to revolutionize their ways and continue to grow. The best example of this is Nokia. During the early 2000s Nokia was at the peak of its powers single handedly controlling the cellphone market through innovative domination in terms of technology and finances. However, when this occurred Nokia decided to focus on finances and selling as many cellphones as they could rather than making the next great smartphone. This lead to one almighty fall that has never been seen before. Today we hardly see Nokia products in consumers’ hands, some people do not even recognize the brand anymore. Though I believe this will not happen to Apple in the near future, I do have a feeling that the corporate leaders at Apple have realized that they peaked a few years ago. We can see this sign of peaking in their products.
    Apple tends follow the trend of incrementally updating its products every fiscal year and then advertising them to be revolutionary and “completely new” in order to prolong their “peak”. I am not necessarily against Apple for doing this, I actually believe it is a very smart idea to prolong the peak in order to be better prepared for the fall. However, I do think that Apple’s innovative powers have been waning for the past 3 or 4 years just like Godin mentions. Gone are the days of massive overhauls for the Macs and Apple’s handheld devices. If one was to put on the table the first 4 generations of the iPad or look at the last two to three generations of the MacBook Pro they would not be able to tell the difference. Apart from being gimmicked by so called new features like an “8 megapixel iSight camera” or the new force touch feature in the Macs, there is not much of a difference in the Apple products from 2015 and the ones from a few years back. The only real revolutionary innovation Apple is responsible for in the last two years is the fingerprint sensor in their mobile devices. Apart from that all the other so called new features or innovations are just incremental updates that were available to Apple when they first launched these products. Updates, in my opinion, that have been held back by Apple from the consumer market deliberately in order to preserve their status as an innovative company at the peak of its powers. That new 8 megapixel camera in the new iPad or the new force touch feature on the MacBook pros or the incremental updates to Apple’s operating system are all things Apple could have implemented at the first time of releasing a product in the past two years. But Apple did not because the firm knew that if their developments were not drop fed into the market then they would peak much earlier and that “peak” would be much shorter than it currently it is predicted to last. All in all, I seem to agree with Godin that Apple has peaked but I believe that they are handling it in a much better way than companies like Nokia ever managed to do so.

  6. Ryan Skolnick October 30, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    Seth Godin makes a lot of good points in his article, “Peak Mac,” about how many companies and artists usually hit a peak and eventually die out. While some of the “peaks” he points out I do not necessarily agree with— mainly the fact that he claims Disney peaked when they are still currently a powerhouse— many of his points are very accurate. Even though the Grateful Dead are still enjoyed by a large portion of people today, they as a whole began to taper off in the quality of their songs. The peak for Apple has been a long time coming— their products have been continuously going down in quality. Apple got its fame by innovation— truly creating something that was the best on the market and completely different. Now, their competitors are able to say in commercials that the iPhone is simply catching up to what they had three years ago. While the quality is much better and easier to use as Apple always was, it is clear there are not too many innovations on the newer products. Not only that, but the Betas have been becoming increasingly more buggy for the past few iterations now. I know someone that loves Apple and does the Beta every time they will be releasing a new operating system, and even he is getting fed up with the quality of the Betas— and actually had to have Apple reinstall the older version simply because it rendered his laptop unusable! Personally, on my old Mac I never had issues— the thing would not get any viruses, would not crash, it was practically indestructible (I may have dropped it a few times). It truly was fantastic. It did eventually slow down and lose space to store documents, but overall my old Mac was fantastic. I recently purchased a new Macbook for my company, and for the most part I am impressed. It is a gorgeous machine and works very well, however recently I have been having a lot of issues. It began with my cursor basically not existing sometimes— it would simply disappear. Then, my screen would go black randomly and not allow me to sign in. Soon after, Safari was quitting unexpectedly so much that it was actually expected. And then, just the other day, my laptop screen went black and I got a notice in white letters stating that my entire laptop had crashed! I only use the laptop for work, so I was very confused how any of this could have happened. My mother has been having similar issues with her new Mac, and attempted to get it fixed more than once by the “Geniuses” at the Apple store to no avail. While I still feel that Mac is the best laptop out there, Apple is truly slacking on their software development. I completely agree with Seth in that, if Apple does not address these issues and continue to innovate, this was their peak. Yes, they are going into different industries to try and expand, but if they do not continue to innovate in the industry they are currently a giant in, they will not keep their hold on the market for too long. More than anything though, Apple needs to ensure that their customers are completely satisfied with their products, because based on the feedback I have been hearing, their customer base is not happy. Customer validation is a huge part in innovation, so if they are not listening to their customer base and ensuring that their needs are being met, the consumers will simply leave. It may just be Apple’s peak, but they do still have a chance to fix their issues and become giants once again.

  7. Dana Guittari October 30, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Seth Godin makes a good argument about the word “peak” and what it means to be “peaking,” but I think him comparing the peak of an individual (or band) to the peak of a corporation is a little off. For starters, it is easy to identify the peak of an individual performer. It is not surprising that artists hit peaks. People do not live forever. There is no surprise that for a band, he gives the example of The Grateful Dead, they have a building period, a period of top charts and success (their peak), and then a decline. In my opinion its hard to compare bands and individuals to corporations. Corporations live on forever, while artists work cease to exist once they’re gone. Godin then goes on and compares the peak of company’s to the peak of brands. He explains how Porsche and Corvette hit their peaks. Although that may be different from the peak of an artist in that car companies live on and their brand name lives on, I still don’t believe comparing the peak of car to the peak of something like a mac. I think companies can hit multiple peaks. Mac may have hit a peak, like Godin said, three years ago, but they probably hit a peak before than and they probably will hit another peak in the future. My only problem with Godin’s point is that he insists that after a peak a company declines. I do believe that can be true. I do believe corporations can hit a peak and that will be the highest they will ever be and then they will decline. But a peak is based on previous numbers. A peak is the highest point. So a peak could be a peak “for now.” “For now” it could be mac’s peak, but they could hit another peak instead of declining. And again this is all based on opinion. Godin goes on to say that mac’s decline started when “Operating systems that aren’t faster or more reliable at running key apps, merely more like the iPhone. The latest update broke my RSS reader (which hasn’t been updated) and did nothing at all to make my experience doing actual work get better.” I understand his point. Some of the updates that Apple comes up with seem like there’s no point to them and that they aren’t doing anything to further my experience. But they’re updates. I’m sure they do something or they wouldn’t be there. I’m sure Apple hasn’t peaked and is still coming up with new and innovative ideas. I’m sure they may have peaked for now, but will peak again.

  8. Ryan Jolluck October 30, 2015 at 7:38 pm #

    All companies seem to have a lifespan, like human beings. They can almost be compared to organic creatures, they grow and decrease in size, revenue, and success. The average lifespan of Fortune 500 companies have decreased about 50 years in the last century. About a third of all companies are out of business within a decade. It is also estimated that estimates that by around 2020, more than three quarters of the S&P 500 will be companies that we have not heard of. I like the metaphor of comparing a corporation to an empire. They start out small and grow in size as they beat the competition, either buying them out or completely destroying them. Every empire hits its peak, its golden age. Long lasting empires, like corporations, have built upon a strong foundation that made them successful. The Romans had their military and governance. The British had their navies and countless colonies. Successful companies create a great product or service that the competition can’t replicate. Apple has their computers, smartphones, and tablets which still dominate the market through quality and marketing. The Romans had their legions and legionaries which other civilizations attempted to copy and recreate, but never came close to building the same fighting force. Leadership also plays a huge roll in building successful empires and companies. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison were the brains and driving force behind the company. You can also say that during the peak of success or golden age, the entity becomes complacent and loses vision of the characteristics that founded the entity. And during this change of views, problems start appearing within the foundations of the original vision the entity was founded on, the vision that made it successful in the first place. The author of the article writes about how Apple’s peak as a productivity tool was about three years ago. He states that since those years, “operating systems that aren’t faster or more reliable at running key apps, merely more like the iPhone. The latest update broke my RSS reader (which hasn’t been updated) and did nothing at all to make my experience doing actual work get better. Geniuses at the Genius Bar who are trained to use a manual and to triage, not to actually make things work better. With all the traffic they have to face, they have little choice. Software like Keynote, iMovie and iTunes that doesn’t get consistently better, but instead, serves other corporate goals. We don’t know the names of the people behind these products, because there isn’t a public, connected leader behind each of them, they’re anonymous bits of a corporate whole”. The author feels that Apple has put less of an emphasis on the users and more focused on the investors. That they are looking for more profits and customers, rather than taking care of their current one. One thing that Apple should not be doing is alienating its current loyal customers. It may have already started in little increments, such as with the author of the article.

  9. Yonjery Perez November 7, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    I agree on the fact that companies do reach their peak. When a company reaches their peak, it refers to a company reaching a point where they feel comfortable and everything they do from there on will not help them grow. This usually happens when a company is content with where they’re at and have no intentions of growing. This can be good or bad. This can be good in the sense that if a company is making a good amount of revenue, they will continue do so because they haven’t changed anything. On the other hand, this can be a bad thing because the company may have the potential of making more revenue but are holding themselves back due to the fact they don’t want to grow.
    Even though Seth makes a good point, I disagree on the fact that Apple has reached their peaked. I believe that Apple is a company that always comes out with new features for their products or even better, new products. When Apple released the watch, many people were excited to purchase one. When the IPhone 6s was released, it made a record breaking 10 billion dollars in just three days. Those are not numbers of a company that reached their peak. With the Mac, many new features have been added. These features include a longer lasting battery, a force touch trackpad, and retina display. With Apple implementing features like these, they are showing they have not reached their peak. Everyone seems to care about these features or else they wouldn’t be purchasing the products. So when Seth stated, “a brand’s products begin to peak when no one seems to care” is a false statement when talking about Apple products.

  10. Kevin Schoenholz November 11, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    I liked reading this article by Seth Godin much more than the 2 previous articles I by him which talked about feelings of failure and corporations. This is mainly because the point of this article was less abstract then the other 2 I read. Seth talks about company’s reaching their peak and then becoming less successful because of this. He says one of the reasons for peaking is that once a company has reached a high level of success it becomes micro managed and is forced to deal with more compromise because of expectations. It would makes more sense that when a company gets large and has more access to resources it should be able to innovate on a larger level right? Seth argues that the opposite tends to happen because the level of success actually dulls innovation.

    Seth goes on to talk about how he realized Mac hit their peak about 3 years ago. This is because Apple keeps releasing new products that are basically the same as the products that came before them. Keynote, imovie, and itunes are basically the same program every year and serve the same purpose as previous versions did. I feel the same way about new iPhone’s that Seth does about new Macs. I was watching a commercial for the new iPhone 6s yesterday and realized that there was nothing of remarkable improvement about this model from previous models. Apparently it can take pictures better than other models, but I don’t think that’s any reason to upgrade your current phone to this new model. Apple is a company that’s great at releasing the same product with minor tweaks and improvements for a ridiculously expensive price. When Apple released the iPhone and iPod it was a huge innovation. Suddenly everyone I knew had an iPhone or iPod and if you didn’t have one you were basically a caveman using inferior technology. Since then Apple has just rehashed the same product for 10 years by changing the sizes, colors, names, and updating the speed of the new models. Apple even released the iPhone 5c which is only different from the 5s model because it comes in different colors. They actually gave a name to a model of iPhone because it was more colorful then the other model which seems absurd. This process can’t go on forever I agree with Seth that the Mac has hit it’s peak. Once customers start realizing they don’t have to rush out and buy the new iphone every 6 months or get that new mac laptop that basically does everything the same as the previous model Apple will begin to decline.

    Seth makes the point that people inside the company need to predict and help avoid their company from peaking. Apple needs to release another great innovative product in order for this to happen. The iPhone’s and iPod’s release was groundbreaking and changed the definition of what a phone could actually be. If someone inside Apple can steer the company to do something innovative again perhaps they can avoid their peak.

  11. Bobby C November 11, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    I have used apple products now for 8 years and I am 22 years old. I have had just about all of the versions of the iPhone, besides a couple of S models because of contract upgrades not lining up. I have also owned the iPod Classic with the first click wheel, an iPad, and two different MacBooks. I can without a doubt say that the simplicity of the software and applications when I got my first products were much easier to use than now. Apps such as iMovie and iTunes were much easier to navigate and now I know for sure that if I were to try using iMovie again I wouldn’t know how to use the app because it has changed so much. I don’t particularly believe that Mac has peaked because they are constantly coming out with new products every year that bring something new to the table. Their issue is its less about the consumer’s ease of use. They continue to make things more intricate instead of simple and to some it gets annoying, especially with the older crowd. I spend a lot of time on my computer whether it is for leisure or school so I am in constant interaction with the various apps and programs. As long as Apple keeps improving their products it can not be said that they have peaked because they are still moving forward. They may plateau in some areas but that is where they pick up the slack and come out with something new. They make people want to keep buying their products and to me, that is not hitting their peak, that is Apple striving to reach farther and farther up in order to keep changing our world.

  12. Matt Pitner November 15, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    The concept of peaking rather interesting because the article claims that one of the reasons that companies peak is due to their success. This is a valid statement because many of the companies that were mentioned have peaked and can be considered more vintage products than the newer companies. However, there are companies like Microsoft, Apple, and some others that have been around for a long time and have not yet reached their peak. These companies also do not seem to be reaching the peak of their company at anytime in the near future. Perhaps these companies are just able to keep modern products because they take advantage of new technology. It seems that when a company is more involved in technological advances, they have a longer distance to peaking.
    It was stated in the article that success is a major contributor to the peaking of a company. That more success meant more employees, more meetings and so on, and bigger companies will generally have more clutter. I think that companies like Microsoft and Apple have not hit their peak but have hit a rut. By this I mean that technological advances have seemed to slow down since the initial introduction of computers and smartphones as these amazing devices capable of doing work and being entertaining, and that companies are looking for the next big thing to throw into the market that will change the industry. It is like the Industrial Revolution, where masses of people moved from farmland to the cities looking for work, opportunities and better lives. So in the end some companies will peak, and others will live on and adapt to new environments, in my opinion.

  13. Stacy Tomaszfski November 15, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    This article makes an interesting point about “the peak” of a company or business or service. To think that any of those things could actually have a peak is not something I regularly think about but it is true. So many products reach their peak and then a new one comes out to replace so it captures the attention of the consumers again. One thing for too long gets boring, and like Godin states, things tend to reach their peak when people stop caring.
    His idea that reaching the peak also means reaching success is interesting as well. I think he is right though because when a company or business does reach a peak it challenges them to come up with something new for their customers. As Godin talks about, this means expanding the market base, getting more employees, etc. So depending on the company, business, or service, if they have had a successful run but have reached their peak, it hopefully means they have the chance to come up with a new idea that their consumers will love just as much.

  14. Daria Chadwick November 15, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

    I am a little skeptical of the idea of a business ‘peaking’, but in what Seth is referring to I’m not sure that any other word would so easily fit the description of his explanation. If a business has a determined life cycle; for example, it was created, boomed, then died – then yes, I think the height of the company’s success can be marked as its peak. I do not think the same for companies that continue to exist and operate, but more so that it is the highest point they may have reached to date. They may have reached this point because conditions were perfect and opportunities were taken advantage of. They may have reached this more by chance if a competitor went under. In terms of Apple, I think they have definitely reached an incredibly high point, but I doubt that, with the rate of technological advancement and the power that Apple has over the market.

    For anyone who wishes to view it, this TED Talk by Simon Sinek gives a great analysis of Apple, particularly their marketing strategy, which attributes to a lot of the company’s success. The link is as follows, and I welcome responses to this video. It was definitely in the back of my mind when I finally made the change from an iPhone to an Android…

    https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en (Links to an external site.)

  15. Brendan J. Kane February 18, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

    A peak can be seen as the beginning of the end. For after reaching the highest point, it can only go downhill from there. This is a natural progression that society sees with almost every brand. It is very difficult for a brand to have a great longevity because competition will eventually grow and evolve. Peaks can happen for other reasons, but most commonly it’s a natural process. As a result, the brand will slowly dissolve into the history of business. As Seth Godin alludes to, a peak is not necessarily a bad thing because in order to reach a peak there needs to be a lot of success gained first. Success is the obviously the goal for any brand that is starting out. However, success does tend to push aside the visionaries and replace them with profit seekers. The brands that once labeled as revolutionary transform into another cog in the business world – pumping out similar products with nothing new or ground breaking. Godin mentions the technology brand Apple in his blog as an example, and I have had the opportunity to see this as well due to my age and growing up with the brand.
    Every company will experience their peak, the size and significance will vary between each brand. The size and time of the peak purely depends on the market the brand is involved in. Furthermore, it is due to society’s demands changing constantly and the brand’s desire to obtain maximum profit by playing it safe. Godin mentions that usually once brands experience success they become complacent. This complacency is a result of playing it safe and try to maintain profits. Consequently, the brand loses its drive to be unique and will lose its edge. The innovation of the products will then suffer because the brand would recognize how successful the current model is. Rather than there being big new ideas with the product, it will experience small variations – essentially being the same product but just having one or two different features. Brands do this to ensure profit and success.
    As stated before, Apple is the most notable company of my experience who has done this. I agree with Godin that Apple has lost its edge and most likely experienced its peak already. Apple has tried to reemerge into this market through the Apple watch, but it has not experienced the same success as it did with the iPhone and Mac. Apple reached its peak with the iPhone. The product was new, revolutionary, and it helped generate a new market – smart phones. iPhones basically allowed you to have a computer in your pocket and all of the functions of a computer at your fingertips. Since the release of the iPhone, Apple has not released a new product that is on an equivalent scale of it. Instead, Apple has released variations of the iPhone because they know it sells well. Therefore, Apple is playing it safe by manipulating the iPhone rather than taking a risk with a revolutionary new product. Furthermore, there have been no new features that significantly set the iPhone models apart from each other. This shows that Apple no longer takes risk as it did with the Mac or iPhone and essentially peaked.
    The bright side of companies peaking is that it opens up the opportunity for a new company to emerge. For instance, Godin uses the example of Apple again. Apple was able to emerge into the market and become the leader because the previous leaders, Nokia and Motorola, peaked. During their decline period, Apple was climbing up the mountain of success. The cycle keeps repeating because the companies become complacent with the success or the consumers lose interest in the brand and its products.
    This can also be seen with the company GoPro. When GoPro first hit the market, it was a very hot product. They were flying off the shelf and somewhat hard to obtain. Eventually, the brand lost the consumers interest because they have yet to release a new and innovative product. Instead, the brand is just releasing variations of the same product. The current decline of GoPro shows that the company has hit its peak. Therefore, it needs more innovation quick or it will be serious trouble.
    At the moment, there are few brands hat are releasing new and innovative products. The majority of them are releasing minute variations of the same product because they know it will sell. More risks need to be taken in order to be innovative. Although risks do not ensure success, they can provide lessons that will help the brand learn what to do and what not to do. These lessons will eventually help the brand achieve success and become innovative.

  16. Beth O'Brien March 3, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

    Blog #10 Peak Mac
    Peaking can be good or bad.
    Peaks and valleys are all about business, getting to the top of the industry is the focus and initially it’s the consumer who gets the organization there. Companies who realize that to stay on top they must work harder than before they are the ones who are successful. Those are the companies who take risks and make changes, some good and some not. The organization who believes they don’t have to change or make improvements are the ones that fall behind, become forgotten. Whether it was Sear’s lack of innovation or poor decisions on what to focus on, it remains that they are far from where they use to be, a few decades ago. It’s the downturn of some companies that make them wake up and look for new ideas and possibly collaborate with another company. As the author mentions Disney, they were in transition, then Pixar and Disney worked together and Disney had an entire new way of producing movies.
    Similar to the author’s experience with the Mac and the changes, same thing happened with Microsoft. Windows 7 was fine, I thought then came Windows 8, what a frustrating experience, and now Windows 10, which when it installed knock out my all-in-one, it printed, but I could no longer scan. Then you ask “why do they have to change it?” they have to re-invent to stay on top by changing and upgrading. Sometimes you wonder who the company asks for input on these changes or the surveys circulated are not taken into consideration.
    Unfortunately, for most of these large organizations they do have to rely on the investors to research and stay on top, and that changes the focus from the consumer. Not all companies have the luxury of staying focused on that “single-minded” objective and keeping promises to the user, some organizations must consider the investor and are concerned about the competition. The realty is what sells, what the user wants and what is the bottom-line.

  17. Robby Hazel October 21, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

    It’s very easy to become complacent when one is at the top. Unfortunately in the business world, this saying is all too prevalent. Many large and profitable corporations over the years have seen great successes that are quickly followed by an unexpected downfall. This is most likely due to their lack of innovation, expansion, or rigid leadership. However, when businesses fail it often results in better ones coming out of the woodwork. As Seth pointed out in his blog post, Disney’s peak resulted in Pixar taking over the animated movie industry. Nokia and Motorola’s lack of continued innovation caused companies like Apple and Samsung to realize the demand for smartphones, which are seemingly in everyone’s pockets today. As detrimental as it is to some, the never ending cycle of peaking and falling allows for other corporations to see what works and what does not. It powers the economy and keeps the ball rolling when it comes to continued innovation.

    Back in middle school, it was not uncommon to see one of your friends whip a Motorola Razor out of their LL Bean rollie backpack when the teacher was not looking. In elementary school, almost all of our parents had Nokia’s. Today’s technology outlook looks very different. Nearly everyone who owns a phone owns a smartphone. This is not by accident. Tech companies have always looked for new ways to maximize profits and keep their customers happy, so when tech firms, and those in other sectors, fail to appease their customers they will suffer the same fate as Nokia and Motorola.

    The main reason for business peaking and ultimately becoming irrelevant, as previously mentioned, is complacency. The world of business undergoes constant motion and changes, making it completely necessary and vital for corporations at the top of the food chain to make proper accommodations. Consumers get bored with certain products rather quickly and will look for readily available substitutes to satisfy their needs and desires. Upper management must constantly be looking for ways to satisfy these needs and dominate the market share of the next big thing if they want their companies to remain the top dogs in their industry, as well as protecting the safety of their jobs. Other corporations often look to those that dominate their respective industry and attempt to produce similar products and services, consequently making it harder and harder to remain the industry leader. The secret to maintaining success on such a massive scale is to keep moving forward. In my opinion, Apple is beginning to fall into the same trap by producing nearly identical iPhones while Android and Samsung continue to produce rabidly innovative smart phones. The market share that Apple currently has ahold of will likely continue to shrink as a result of more comparable, and arguably better, competition. Of course, this is only an opinion, but when comparing their situation to those like the newly irrelevant Nokia, it presents an ominous scenario for them and companies like them that are shying away from producing new and innovative products.

  18. Josh Luchon February 24, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

    Apple has created an interesting customer base, one that is loyal but quick to complain about all of their problems. I would agree with the author’s classification of Apple as a luxury goods brand, but I disagree that they peaked. I think apple always has been and will continue to be a company that produces the best looking and the best functioning products on the market.

    I think a frequently overlooked aspect of Apple’s business model is that they have created two very different but equally lucrative demographics: brand buyers and tool buyers. I think this is the most unique attribute that Apple has. On one end of the spectrum, you have the people buying into the brand because of the “cool factor.” There is no question that walking into class with the newest Mac turns heads because everyone knows how expensive they are. People love Apple products because they’re attractive and they just look expensive. They are made out of the best materials and their logo is a social status symbol. Apart from those buying into the brand for the sake of flashing the logo around town, there is an entirely different market for industry professionals. If you’ve ever seen a DJ on TV or met a graphic designer or a photographer, chances are you’ve motived that they usually rely on Macs. This speaks to the quality of the technology and differentiates Apple from most luxury brands that serve no purpose other than showing everyone you can afford fancy things.

    The author made examples out of Hermes and Louis Vuitton for transitioning from use to fashion appeal, but I don’t think that transition is evident in Apple. Granted their products continue to increase in price with the release of new models, but that should not be used as an argument against their innovation. Apple continues to challenge the possibilities not only in their designs but in their product’s functionality as well. I feel that Apple is more often than not ahead of their competitors in terms of what their products can do. Take the MacBook Air for example. A beautiful computer that is thinner than any other laptop I have seen while still being a capable machine for video editing and web surfing alike.

    Another point that the author brought up is that Apple has built up a reputation for themselves in terms of coming out with new devices instead of working on solutions for existing customers with increasingly outdated hardware. This is one are where I have no counter argument. I think the most frustrating aspect of Apple’s business model is how frequently they make devices obsolete with updates or new products altogether. From a business stand point it is a fool proof way to generate revenue and create repeat customers, but at what cost? Consumers are wary of Apple’s iPhones particularly for their rapidly decreasing battery life and tendency to smash into pieces after one drop. Their devices, to a certain degree, are designed to fail. This is arguably the most irritating consequence of having an older Apple product.

    Despite all of the complaints about how Apple takes advantage of their customers, I can’t fault them for creating such a lucrative business. An interesting phenomenon is created because Apple’s consumers are attracted to the brand’s exclusivity, which increases demand, which raises prices, which in turn creates even more exclusivity. This seemingly unbreakable cycle is the reason that Apple is such a strong brand. Their products are unapologetically expensive and their customers get a sense of pride for joining the quasi-cult. It is no secret that more capable computers and phones exist at far lower prices, but it would appear that that’s not the point.

  19. Carl Hakansson February 26, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

    This article by Seth Godin touched upon the points regarding when companies and people alike reach their peaks. For many, reaching your peak is terrifying thing. No one wants to reach their peak, because they feel as though the best of times are behind them and the only way from here is down. Godin raises an interesting point, saying that peaks only occur because you have experienced success. Had you been stagnant, then a graph depicting your life would have a straight line rather than a line with high’s and low’s. Companies cannot be on top forever, and the only way to appear on top is to keep innovating. Disney, although it does not seem like it, has already hit their peak. Disney appears to be on top of their game, but that is only due to their innovations such as Pixar. If companies have experienced success, then peaks and troughs are inevitable. Companies will experience success and failure, and their best work will be reflected.
    Godin offered another interesting example, in the case of Mac. Mac is the most popular computer, even today. So, when Godin said that he thinks Mac peaked three years ago, I was somewhat shocked. His reasoning is believable, as he has been an avid Mac user for the past thirty years. Godin says three years ago, his Mac did everything he needed it to do. The operating system was stable, pieces fit together, things did not crash, and he was able to fix things when/if they broke. Now, the situation is the complete opposite. Godin says that businesses peak when nobody is watching, because consumers generally care enough to worry about it. To keep the business moving and improving without having the peak of a company determine its future, Godin suggests having insiders call the shots. Insiders make suggestions based on current customers rather than future customers. This is so important because if your company is declining, future customers become less and less frequent. The issue at hand is to keep your current customers and keep them happy so that they stay with you while you adapt to the changing market and industry. I definitely agree this is the right course to take for a company that has already peaked. Companies that have not yet peaked should focus on growth and expansion, and obtaining new customers. Companies that have already peaked have an established group of consumers, but that group is not continuously growing. That is why it is so important to keep the ones they already have.
    Just like workers, all businesses peak at some point. If businesses do not peak, then they have not experienced success; they have remained stagnant. Peaking is not a bad thing, however it is certainly something to work off of. Once a company has peaked, the next order of business is adapt to the market and innovate new things that will keep them in line. Peaking is part of the process, and as we have seen with Mac, it does not mean the end.

Leave a Reply