Lessons from the iPhone: ten years later

Do you evaluate new technology based on what you already know, or based on the world you don’t know exists? Is your imagination big enough? Read about it in my new article in Advisor Perspectives.


When it comes to resistance to embracing new technology, I’ve heard it all — from, “I built this business on relationships,” to “My clients never ask me for that technology.” Whatever your reason for your reproach — hubris, fear, unfamiliarity — technology is going to radically change your business. It matters little how you feel about it. Change is inevitable, and firms that approach it rationally and adapt to technology will have the best chance to successfully serve the next generations of clients.

Consider the iPhone. One shouldn’t make statements like this lightly, but the iPhone, introduced to us merely 10 years ago, changed the world. When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in January 2007, he cleverly introduced it as “three revolutionary products” — a phone, iPod and a miniature computer in one. Reactions were swift and mostly cynical. Steve Ballmer couldn’t help but laugh. Jim Balsillie, then-co-CEO of the maker of BlackBerry was dismissive, calling it, “one more entrant into an already very busy space with lots of choice for consumers.”

How did these capable and otherwise successful executives, and other “experts,” get it so spectacularly wrong? What was it about the iPhone that left its competition in the dust while inspiring many imitators? Was it the touch-screen? Was it the high-resolution camera? The music player?

Read more in Advisor Perspectives.