Perception

Is everything. It’s more important than reality.

Steve Jobs knew that, that’s the essence of his vaunted reality distortion field. You watched his dog and pony show and believed not only was Apple superior, it truly had no competitors.

But now the press is beating up Apple and the company is silent.

Steve Jobs was not silent during the iPhone 4 antenna fiasco. He interrupted his vacation, and spun the problem as overblown hype from the media… And the iPhone 4 went on to set sales records.

If you read the press today, you believe the iPhone is in a death spiral, that Samsung is king and Apple is going downhill.

And what does Apple have to say about this?

NOTHING!

Some questions you don’t bother to answer. It’s kind of like “Have you stopped beating your wife?” You just cannot win. Haters and destroyers are out to get you.

But when it’s raw misinformation, and the public is acting on it, you’ve got to put in your two cents, you’ve got to spin the story.

It’s kind of like Google. It didn’t advertise and it didn’t lobby. So the government thought it was evil, that it didn’t respect the rules of the road. So Google lobbied up and got the antitrust investigation quashed. Google explained its position.

Normally in the entertainment business we’ve got over-explainers. Celebrities just want attention. And it’s never about the truth, it’s purely spin, so it ends up being ignored. As for the titans behind the story…you can’t get anybody to go on the record. Has anybody gone on the record about Universal being on the hook for HMV leases? I haven’t read anything.

But there’s no leader at Apple. Tim Cook is charisma-challenged. He starts to speak and credibility goes out the window. Phil Schiller has more gravitas, and Jonny Ive eclipses even him, but who’s really driving this car? Everybody knows Cook is an efficiency expert. Who’s the heart and soul of the enterprise, and where is it going?

The vacuum is such that way down the food chain, where the rubber meets the road, where people buy stuff, Apple is losing steam. It’s gone from trustworthy monolith to dying empire, all based on spin. People in the press and online saying Apple is toast with few facts to back it up.

Maybe the company is in a swoon. We’ll find out next week, when it releases its numbers. But unless Apple blows the Street away, it won’t stanch the bleeding. Word is Apple is done. Kind of like when David Lee Roth left Van Halen. Apple needs a Sammy Hagar. Even better it needs to elevate the image of someone already working there, take Steve Jobs down from the shelf and put someone else up.

You’ve got to manage your image. You cannot let the hoi polloi run ragged with your story. You’ve got to control it. I’m not saying you should lie, but at least give some real guidance. Otherwise you’re like Apple, with a tanking stock and everybody piling on.

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  1. [...] out all the reasons investors are nervous. And now we also have noted music industry commentator Bob Lefsetz chiming in, saying Apple needs to speak up when others are tearing it down and that Cook isn’t [...]

  2. [...] industry veteran Bob Lefsetz has attacked Cook in his blog, suggesting that Cook’s silence while the “press is beating up Apple” is damaging [...]

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