The Secret Behind Apple’s Success (And How You Can Apply It To Singing)
Apple’s rise from nerd obscurity in the 80’s and 90’s to worldwide tech giant has been a truly amazing sight to behold. I remember the odd family or two in high school that had an Apple Macintosh computer, but other than that everything was strictly Microsoft and PC. Fast forward to the 2000’s and Windows is all but a laughing stock and there is a bright white Apple store on almost every corner of most major cities in the world – what the?
I recently released an article that explained complex singing techniques and singing terms in FEWER than 280 characters, and while some doubted it could be done, I managed to illustrate that in less than a single tweet, even something as complex and niche as singing can be explained in a simple and pain-free manner.
It might seem a stretch, but today I’m going to take the premise of Apple’s rise and success and apply it to learning how to sing and show you how you can take the vision of a genius like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk and apply to to almost any other field out there (I wouldn’t suggest going into the fields of smartphones or alternative power, for obvious reasons).
How and Why did Apple succeed?
It’s well known that Apple Macintosh basically lost out to IBM in the 90’s when it came to the personal computer and to Microsoft when it came to the operating system game around the same time – so how come almost every western teenager in the world has an Apple iPhone and iPod burned into the palm of their hands? The funny thing is, Apple didn’t invent anything new. Read that one again a few times. Apple didn’t invent anything new. While Apple are often seen as pioneers in the tech field, Mp3 players existed before the iPod, mobile phones and smart phones existed before the iPhone and sleek minimalist design has been around since the 60’s – so what gives?
Apple never makes anything that another company could do better
That’s right, Apple takes an idea and pours billions of funding into creating the TOP of the line forefront model that is head and shoulders above their competitors. No other company out there is going to design an MP3 player that is as sleek and modern as an iPod, and the iPhone is always the top smartphone model at the time of it’s release. While other companies pour billions into designing ‘new’ products and researching ‘new’ ideas, Apple takes these very ideas researched by other companies and simple does. them. better.
I’ve even read before that Apple paid their designers to develop products and features that THEY themselves wanted. After all, many companies focus on the technology and product first and think of the market as a secondary matter – Apple is all about what people want, not necessarily what people need or what will make people’s lives easier. Apple is all about filling people’s desires and wants.
Apple focus on ONE idea at a time
Apple focuses on the latest design rather than spreading their resources across multiple options and various models, at any given time there is ONE iPhone and ONE iPod available, and everything else is obsolete – they even change up their chargers and plugs to ensure built in obsolescence of older models, a cruel but ingenious tactic that no doubt frustrates their consumers, but feeds into the idea of “want” instead of “need”.
If you look at other tech companies, you will often find multiple options and many models with their resources spread thin trying to meet the ‘needs’ of many instead of the desires of the few – case in point.
KISS – Keep it simple, stupid!
Have you seen the latest apple remote? The damn thing doesn’t even have a button or arrows on it, it’s just a sleek plain bar that is touch sensitive, and at the moment of this article is about the simplest (and arguably most stupid) design ever made. The simpler the better. Where other tech firms have hundreds of features and flashing buttons and bling, apple spends their time removing buttons and features, seemingly confounding users like me that just want to know how to turn the stupid thing on. And you know what? It works. I will remember this Apple remote for the rest of my life, but can I even tell you the last model of TV or remote I owned? Of course not. Simple designs are easy to remember and the confounding nature of working out where the power button is adds to the ‘experience’ of buying an owning an Apple product.
The Apple experience
There’s a brilliant episode of Futurama that pokes fun at Apple with a futuristic tech store selling EYE-phones that are implanted straight into the eyeball. Fry and Leela immediately have the desperate anxiety of ‘scarcity’ pumped into their psyche by the minimalist design and seemingly limited nature of the latest phone – pan screen to behind the scenes where a conveyor belt is pumping out hundreds of these new phones a second. Scarcity is part of the Apple experience and being met by a team of “Apple Experts” eager to please in store is as much a part of the apple experience as purchasing one of their products – in any other tech store you’re likely approached by salesmen eager to make their commission, but at the Apple store you’re met with a fresh faced teen with funky sneakers who is a total whiz at the new Apple gear and makes it look so easy to find that damn power button. Experience is key.
How the hell does all this relate to singing?
The rise and success of Apple can actually be related to any pursuit in life, not least of all Singing. Learning to sing is a process that SO many people get wrong by following the old methods and either acting like IBM themselves or by buying figurative ‘Microsoft’ singing products that have all the bells and whistles, but at the end of the day aren’t really what you wanted.
#1 – Can someone else do it better?
In the beginning stages of a singer’s progress, they often fixate on the BEST and aspire to sing just like a singer who has 20 years more experience as them or already has a professional career. Remember, Apple took a product and made it BETTER – learning to sing is the same. I personally LOVE Chris Cornell’s singing and made this very mistake many moons ago while learning to sing, I spent years trying to reach the heights of his range and grit of his delivery, only to realise no-one does Chris Cornell better than Chris Cornell. Do you catch my drift?
When you learn to sing, it’s important that you realise the unique aspect to singing and that you can’t simply “take an Apple product and do it better than Apple”, you need to build your own device (voice) and work to your own strengths and weaknesses as a singer.
#2 – Focus on ONE idea at a time
This is a big one. I’m often met with new singing students myself who have 20 ideas in their head the moment they open their mouths to sing, and it all comes crashing down like a head-on collision. Focus on ONE idea at a time and invest your time and energy on one aspect of your voice at a time. Start out with breathing, then resonance, then range, then each of your vowel sounds, then your consonants and articulation – over time you will master each of these one by one, just like Apple mastered the MP3 player with the iPod instead of making 10 different versions and hoping for the best, while ultimately failing at the task at hand
#3 – Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.
Singing is really a very simple process of coordination and balance, yet there are so many people out there looking for “secrets” and “advanced” tricks to help them sing better, when ultimately what they lack is a strong foundation and proper grasp of how the voice truly works. As I type this on a Windows PC and there are five programs in the search bar that I don’t remember installing, there are notifications flying up in my face every five minutes and every time I cough I’m met with Cortana saying “Can I help you?” – I really do wish I’d gone simple and sleek with a Mac instead!
#4 – The experience matters
Are you practising scales and exercises all day long, but ultimately never sing any actual songs? Don’t feel bad, this is the “IBM” phenomenon of singing. These people have all the tricks and tools known to man but ultimately lack the ability to do the one thing they WANT to do: Sing. Catch my drift? We singers often spend time on what we think we need instead of simply working towards or even doing what we want to do. Remember, desire trumps need in every sense.
#5 – Don’t reinvent the wheel
There have been good singers before you, and there will be good singers after you. Don’t treat singing as an invention that you have to create, take what has already been achieved and make it work for you. Dig Chris Cornell’s range? Build your range. Love Aretha Franklin’s tone? Build your tone. It’s a simple process, but the idea of “building” your voice is a farce. You already possess the voice of your dreams, you just haven’t worked out how to make it function in the best manner.
#6 – Invest
I don’t necessarily mean money. I mean, you need to invest in your voice by way of time, practice and perseverance. I often see beginner singers singing REALLY loud because it “sounds better than singing light” without understanding that the excess volume they are singing with is forming a bad habit in the manner in which their coordinate their registers. You need to invest your time and effort into singing rather than trying to be something you’re not, or trying to walk before you’ve learned to work. Apple were the masters of investment and truly invested their time and money into their projects – where other companies scrimped to make the biggest profits from the least investment, Apple poured all of their funds and ultimately made billions in return from their investment.
Singing itself is a very easy and simple process, but the process of LEARNING how to sing is often over-complicated by expensive courses and voice coaches who run on the old “Windows” model of business. These types of voice coaches and their expensive programs that give you what you think you ‘need’ instead of what you really want are a dying breed and rightfully so.
The Bohemian Vocal Studio YouTube channel actually SHOWS singers how to sing with practical and useful singing techniques, tips and tricks that can be implemented in an afternoon’s work, and even our “How to sing like [insert favourite singer]” videos are different to the majority of YouTube channels out there in that they aim to show YOU how to sing better and give you what you truly desire, instead of showing you how great WE are and making you feel like you “Need” something you don’t already have.
If you want to apply the premise of Apple’s success to your singing journey, a great place to start is the free foundations short courses available here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, and then when you’re ready to take your voice to the next level you can step into the figurative Apple store and book a Skype Session directly and we’ll get started simplfying your vocal technique and working towards what you truly desire – a great singing voice.
If you have any questions about how you can apply the premise of Apple’s success to your own singing voice, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!