Why Apple doesn’t get community

I was reading [this great post by Tom Tunguz](http://tomtunguz.com/social-disambiguation) on the tube and realized one thing: apple doesn’t get the ‘community’ aspect nailed in their software because they don’t have the culture and values across their customers like our other great social products do.

Reddit, tumblr, soundcloud, Instagram – all amazing social products have their own community and put an amazing amount of effort into keeping them alive and true (HT David at SC and Topher at tumblr who’ve worn the community hat proud and high).

Apple simply uses ‘social glue’ type products like twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to augment the experience of their users. They allow you to take your output back to where your friends are by some level of mostly superficial integration.

While Startups often fear Apple as a category killer (filters in the phone app? Simple video editing?), they oversee that community and a sense of belonging is a much stronger barrier to entry and mechanism of defense. Especially early on, a lot of companies fail to build a brand and sense of style that allows customers to closely identify with the product. This is a variant of lack of focus and decision taking that is prevalent in many product focused companies: my suggestion is to build a much stronger voice, _intentionally_ excluding customer groups so that your core users feel as much at home as possible, allowing you to build the social fabric that will make your community.

It also helps to not build a feature, but a business (best use of VC parlance in this post yet). Actually, building a movement or a tribe (+1 Seth Godin point) is the corollary to that in the social universe.

So, why does Apple not get this? Actually, I totally think they do. They are many times smarter than I am, and therefore have figured it out a while ago: their users are too broad, too generic, and from too many different cultures. If you build essentially 4 products (iPad, iPhone, Mac, Laptops, and add ons), you can’t start targeting your packaged software at certain groups. You need to go wide and let others take care of the community bit.

Once that is done, you can _use_ these communities by integrating (twitter, fb, YouTube) or _leapfrog_ because you have penetration of devices (see the new sharing through airdrop in iOS 7). People then use these functions as tools and infrastructure in their products and habits – making Apple much more engrained in the experience.

Being infrastructure sounds commoditized, but in the end, is the better way for Apple to deal with its multiple million users, who all care about their own communities. A classic case of ‘design is what you leave out’.

via Tumblr http://pmoe.de/post/54086215672

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