Ken Segall is a difficult man to sum up in a sentence, or even a paragraph. He’s been a part of some of the most recognizable marketing of the last century. He was on the team that came up with “Think Different.”. He created the legacy of iDevices by naming the iMac. He’s worked with Apple, IBM, NeXT, BMW, AT&T, Intel and Dell. His blog, Observatory, is a wellspring of wit, insight, empathy and honest criticism. He can find the humanity in any story, and never seems to point fingers or make anyone out to be the “bad guy,” even when it’s very easy and everyone else is doing it. Here is Ken’s answer:
You did a great job of answering your own question with those quotes from Disney and Steve Jobs. They’re perfect. I’d add to those a similar quote from Jony Ive: “Apple’s goal isn’t to make money. Our goal is to design and develop and bring to market good products. We trust that as a consequence of that, we’ll make some money. But we’re really clear what our goals are.” Having worked with the executive teams at both Apple and Dell, I can confirm the obvious: these two companies are night and day. At the most basic level, it’s the difference between being a leader and a follower. Apple dreams of changing the world through innovation and design. Their goal is to create products people will fall in love with. Dell simply dreams of pulling in a ton of cash — and it’s been a while since they’ve been any good at it. Their goal is to make a more affordable version of whatever the other guy invents. Okay, that’s a little harsh, but it’s not all that far from the truth. There’s an old joke about Apple being the R&D facility for the PC industry. It’s remarkable how often Dell has attempted to latch onto an Apple revolution: music players, smartphones, all-in-one computers, super-thin laptops, and now tablets. However — if you love working at Dell, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. What’s important is how you feel when the alarm clock goes off on Monday morning. If the idea of going to work is depressing as hell, then yes, it’s time to move on. If you enjoy the challenges of your job, the people you work with, the company’s culture, and most important, the quality of your work — then you’re in the right place, Personally, I’ve always put the highest value on the culture. If that’s a good fit, your job will always be fun and rewarding. Your mission is to find that place before your meter runs out. Some of the most talented people I’ve known have at some time questioned their own worth after being beaten down in one place — only to find fame and fortune in another. I wouldn’t put a lot of hope in changing a company from the inside. DNA isn’t so easily re-programmed.