What Apple and CornerstoneCG have in common

Excerpts taken from Bloomberg Businessweek article, "Tim Cook: the Complete Interview" on September 20, 2013.  By Sam Grobart. 

Love Apple or hate them, CEO Tim Cook knows his business and understands his market.  I was struck by Cooks comments about Apple's philosophy toward the smart phone market in this Businessweek article because it clearly reflects our own.  

He says, "What we want to do is make a really great product and provide a great experience. And I’m sure we’ll get enough customers that want to buy that. We want to please them." 

That's our philosophy too.  In other words, we want clients who appreciate and value the high quality product we produce AND the great remodeling experience we create for them.  Like Apple we aren't for everybody and while we work very hard to be competitive we will not compromise our quality or our service to be "cheaper."  We don't build junk. 

Perhaps you've heard this, "you can choose if you want it done well or if you want it done cheap but you can't have it both ways."  It simply costs more to have a high quality product delivered with an excellent client experience backed up by a warranty that goes above and beyond.  

Also, like Apple we aren't just for the wealthy - we don't consider ourselves a "high-end" builder in that we don't position ourselves with marketing and advertising to that market segment alone.  We do build a "high-end" product though but we want customers who appreciate what we have to offer and how we offer it, regardless of their income or the size of their project. 

I think of it like this, using myself as an example.  When I was in my mid-thirties I had three kids all under the age of 6, my wife was a stay at home mom and things were tight financially.  I had just received a bonus at work and wanted an mp3 player.  At the time there were a lot of options for purchasing mp3 players.  I did my research and talked to friends and went to the big box consumer electronics stores to compare them.  I narrowed my choices down to two the iPod and another.

So I went to the Apple Store to check out the iPod.  The experience was unlike any other, I was greeted at the door by a knowledgeable sales person who answered all my questions, compared the different models and showed me how to use the product and get music on it - she even recommended some bands.  But WOW the price was steep $100 more than my #2 choice. So I decided right then despite the cost I had to have the iPod but I didn't have enough money.  So what did I do?  I saved up for another two months in order to buy it. 

Yes, it was hard to wait but you know what?  I still have it and I still buy Apple products because I've never had an even marginal experience with either their products or customer service.  I know I pay a little more than comparable products but I'm willing to do so for the experience. 

When we formed CornerstoneCG it was with this philosophy as the cornerstone of our company (pun intended).


Here's some of the interview: 

While these phones represent the high end of the industry, there’s another part of the industry that’s racing toward the bottom. Chinese manufacturers, Indian manufacturers, $100 phones, $150 phones. What do you think about that? What does that mean for Apple?

I think it’s important that we grow, but I don’t measure our success in unit market share. So if there are a lot of $69 tablets sold that you’re just pounding on to get something to work and get some responsiveness, and it’s thick and fat and just a terrible experience, I don’t really weigh that unit of share like I do a different unit of share. I don’t weigh them to be equivalent.

So I think in most markets in consumer electronics, there’s always a large junk part of the market. We’re not in the junk business. We don’t want to make something for that. What we want to do is make a really great product and provide a great experience. And I’m sure we’ll get enough customers that want to buy that. We want to please them.

That other business, it’s not something—we don’t spend our time obsessed of how to make a product for that because that’s just not who we are and what we’re focused on.

I think, fortunately, these markets we’re in—the smartphone market, the tablet market—these are huge markets, and yes, the market might bifurcate. It has to some degree, as you just pointed out. There’s a segment of the market that really wants a product that does a lot for them. And I want to compete like crazy for those customers and really convince those customers that the iPhone is the best experience for them.

The tablet market is the same case. It sort of bifurcates. You’ve got the players down here that would say—you know, your kid is tugging at you saying, “Daddy, I got to have a tablet.” And you just want to shut them up and buy something cheap. That’s not a market I’m crazy about. I’d like to convince you that the iPad is a better experience and that your kid’s going to learn a lot from using it. And the experience they’re going to have talking to their grandmother across FaceTime is unbelievable, and it’s going to change your life by doing that. I’m not trying to say “Pick me” to shut up your kid.

So on this market, the market that cares about those things, I want us to just over-index like crazy on those. I want us to convince everyone to buy like that.

I’m not going to lose sleep over that other market, because it’s just not who we are. Fortunately, both of these markets are so big, and there’s so many people that care and want a great experience from their phone or their tablet, that Apple can have a really good business. A really good business. And you can see that.

If you would like to read the complete article click on this link: