Poor Old Olli-Pekka
Poor old Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Can you imagine climbing all the way to the top of Nokia, achieving a lifetime’s ambition, your hands on the levers of the most magnificent mobile phone manufacturing operation known to man, what can go wrong?
A few months into your CEO-ship, out of left field, comes the bloody iPhone.
“Respond!” the cry goes up from analysts, customers, colleagues and journos.
‘Cripes,’ you say, ‘but I’m only a lawyer. I don’t know tiddly squat about making phones. I look at ROE and ROI and talk bollox to analysts.’
So Olli made the damn-fool remark that the iPhone is a niche product.
A friend of mine, who has a couple of high-flying BP-ers as neighbours, told me that they didn’t know the first thing about drilling.
For the BP-ers, digging wells was something for oily-fingered erks, happily several zillion levels of hierarchy removed from their own exalted positions.
So I reckon Olli thought like the BP guys: ‘These chappies who make these phones, whoever and wherever they are, will soon make a better phone than the iPhone.’
Three years on, and they haven’t.
On the other hand, I bet Steve Jobs sits in on the iPhone development meetings and knows everything about what and why the next product is going to be as it is.
That’s why iPhone profits are five times Nokia’s total profits though Nokia out-sells the iPhone 15 to 1 in units.
It all goes back to the modern belief that you don’t need to know anything about the business you’re in to run the business you’re in.