Screw benchmarking your competition

Filed as News on April 20, 2006 6:28 am

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It’s no suprise that I’m a fan of Apple computers. For three years now, my principal work machines have been some version of an Apple Powerbook – backed up by a PowerMac G4 on my desk.

I admire their sleek design, the beauty of the OS X operating system, and how everything just works.

But as an admirer of great design, I really love their retail stores. They’re neat, clean, organized, hip, focus on the product, and they’re just damn cool.

Which is why a recent article in Chain Store Age magazine caught my eye:

In developing the Apple store, Johnson took a lesson from designer Michael Graves. When Graves was creating his home line for Target, Johnson took him to a trade show in Germany to look at housewares. After politely walking the show, Graves told Johnson that he really wasn’t interested in looking at anyone else’s work. Imagination wasn’t to be found in what others did or in benchmarking, Graves said, but in getting inside yourself and imagining what could be. Johnson set himself to imagining what an Apple store could be.

I draw a parallel about Michael Graves’s comment to my approach with blogging and, in a broader sense, BlogMedia. Choosing to blog will bring you all sorts of applause and criticisms. The more traffic you get, the more successful that you are, the more you threaten the status quo, the more criticism that you’ll face.

Part of your success, of course, will depend on how you choose to respond to that criticism.

But the real message from Graves is that who cares what your competition is doing? Who cares what everyone else is hawking? Who cares what your critics are saying?

Follow your heart. The rest will come.

Many see things as they are.. and ask why?

I dream of things that never were and say why not?

- Robert F. Kennedy

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