It’s not about copying Apple, but about being too late

The copyright battle between Apple and Samsung shows no sign of slowing down. Although it is clear to everybody about who copied whom, I cannot entirely blame Samsung or Google (creator of Android) for what they did. What Apple always does is find the most natural solution to the problem we don’t know we have. In other words, Apple is discovering new formulas or even natural laws on human-technology interaction.

Therefore, the strength of Apple products does not lie in how original they are, but how natural they feel in our hands. Even if Samsung/Google work hard without looking at Apple, they will probably reach similar conclusions, only later. Why not just give up and “borrow,” if all roads lead to the same place?

A FastCompany article says that it is common for multiple people working at the same solution at the same time, often producing duplicated results. It happened many times in recorded history, such as in telephone and remake versions of a classic zombie movie (I think). If everybody is thinking about the same idea at the same time, what separates the winner from the rest, at least in the field of technology?

I don’t think there is much difference at the lower levels, where creative workers get their hands dirty. Because everybody knows each other in their respective fields, it is as if they live inside one big virtual community. If someone generates an innovative idea, by the end of the day everybody can “own” it. The difference, I suspect, is at the top echelon, where final decisions are made.

In Apple, there was only one decision maker–Jobs–and in the rest, there were more than one. Even if executives at the rivals were nearly as smart as Jobs, decision making time must have grown exponentially according to the physical law: 1 (x1), 2 (x4), 3 (x9), 4 (x16)… Result: Apple always finished first.

I believe time, the most precious resource we ever had (and will ever have), is going to be the dominant factor in tomorrow’s success stories. Idea is nothing, because chances are there are 1,000 other people with the same thought (and the same excitement) at the same time. The fastest will always the winner: in some industries, small companies have have already started beating large corporations in terms of innovations.

P.S. With Jobs gone and Apple sliding back (?) into democracy, everybody will be moving at the similar speed of decision making from now on. I expect that the future of mobile devices brings us slower innovations, more competitions, and probably lower prices. Apple has crossed the milestone by its stock price surpassing $700, but the beginning of the end is also appearing on the horizon.