“Lose sight of the shore”

I don’t even care what this was about, I am just very taken with a phrase that Apple’s Tim Cook just used in an interview about the company.

Still, so you get the full context, here’s the thing. Apple is unusual in that it will ditch popular things because it thinks they’re on the way out. That sounds impossibly arrogant and the company’s rivals which hang on to everything sound like they’re doing us a favour. But time and again, Apple turns out to be right and every manufacturer ditches the floppy drive, the CD, the DVD and more.

Actually, Apple’s even ditched bigger things: once it ceased production on the world’s most popular MP3 player – I can’t remember which iPod it was but one of them – in order to bring out a complete replacement. Which then did better.

Enough. Here’s the quote in context:

“Part of the reason Microsoft ran into an issue was that they didn’t want to walk away from legacy stuff,” Cook says. “Apple has always had the discipline to make the bold decision to walk away … We changed our connector, even though many people loved the 30-pin connector. Some of these things were not popular for quite a while. But you have to be willing to lose sight of the shore and go. We still do that.”

Tim Cook on Apple’s Future: Everything Can Change Except Values – Rick Tetzeli and Brent Schlender, Fast Company (18 March 2015)

Actually, have a read of the whole thing as it’s a rather absorbing piece. But, it’s that line, isn’t it? Lose sight of the shore and go.

Reminds me of Dar Williams’s lyric from We Learned the Sea that “the stars of the sea are the same for the land”.

Ignore people, ignore now, just keep working

I think that’s advice we can all take in our writing. When you start writing, you get asked when your novel is coming. When you’ve a novel, you’re asked when the film is coming. On and on it goes. But just keep writing. When it comes, it comes.

None of which features in the new BusinessWeek interview with Apple’s Tim Cook but all of it features in there. Apple’s been knocked a lot for a lack of innovation and all the way time it’s been working on a watch. You might not like it, you might very well not be interested in it, but you know that every other smartwatch that comes out is going to borrow from Apple’s design.

The piece interested me anyway but in a small way it reminded me of writing. The way that a Doctor Who release comes out a year after I write it so I have the weird thing of people asking me about my new one and I have to think which one they mean and what I can say. I told you it was a small way. But it’s there.

Read BusinessWeek’s full piece.