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Apple Versus Google Innovation Strategies 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-it-done dept.
porsche911 writes "The NY Times has a great story comparing the top-down versus bottom-up innovation approaches of Apple and Google. From the article: '"There is nothing democratic about innovation," says Paul Saffo, a veteran technology forecaster in Silicon Valley. "It is always an elite activity, whether by a recognized or unrecognized elite."'"
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Apple Versus Google Innovation Strategies

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  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:53AM (#38878677)

    ipod released only after there was a market for MP3 players
    iphone released after some phones got the ability to play music files, access email and surf the internet. WAP had been around for years
    tablet concepts had been around for years as well

    Apple's innovation is to find a new market or one in need of a new product
    make a list of all features currently available or wanted
    pick one or a select few thought to be the top features and do them better than everyone else
    add in the rest of the features over the next few years

    apple has never released a brand new unique product that no one ever has

    • by rjstanford (69735) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:12PM (#38878945) Homepage Journal

      apple has never released a brand new unique product that no one ever has

      And, of course, neither has Google. They took existing ideas that were rapidly becoming seen as vital and did them in a more cohesive, higher quality way then their competitors.

      Just like Apple did.

      • by arose (644256)
        Pagerank was pretty unique actually.
    • by ultramk (470198) <ultramkNO@SPAMpacbell.net> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:16PM (#38879001)

      While I agree in some aspects... I have to disagree in others. For example, while MP3 players existed before the iPod, the market largely didn't: there were three main types of machines out there, big HD-based nomad-type players the size of paperbacks with gigs of storage, CD-MP3 walkmans, and small flash-based players with only 16 or 32mb of storage (only enough for a handful of songs). I only knew one person who actually owned an MP3 player before an iPod, and I was smack-dab in the middle of the target demographic at the time. The reason for this is that all the options had big flaws:
      - The big Nomad-type players were heavy, fragile, had terrible interfaces, expensive, and could only run off battery for a little while. Even worse, they were all USB 1 based, which meant that transferring music was incredible tedious.
      - The CD-MP3 devices could hold a lot of music and were cheapish, but they also had terrible interfaces, were as big as a discman, and went through batteries super quickly. They also required a whole additional step of burning off what you wanted onto CDs ahead of time.
      - The little stylish flash players were neat, portable and had good battery life, but only holding 5 or 10 songs made them a complete joke.

      I really think what Jobs' method was, was to look at a class of products and say "OK, here's what exists. Why do they all suck so much?" ...and in the process of answering that question, create a new device that gets right to the heart of the problem and addresses it instantly.

      • by dfghjk (711126) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:11PM (#38879633)

        So he introduced a product that had marginal battery life, low capacity for a hard drive system, and only supported the Mac because it was "reserved for the superior customer experience". The original iPod sucked, too, and much of that was available technology of the time. Don't forget, additionally, that the iPod was developed by an outside company and purchased by Apple. Apple's dominance of mp3 was due to money, being a big name in an emerging market, and a commitment to incremental improvement. Apple was the IBM of mp3, it succeeded because of who it was, not the superiority of its product. That came later.

        • by awyeah (70462) *

          Apple's justification for originally only supporting the Mac was that they thought it would help drive Mac sales. I don't know if it did or not.

        • by ultramk (470198) <ultramkNO@SPAMpacbell.net> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @03:11PM (#38881153)

          I disagree. The original iPod had excellent battery life compared to equivalent devices. It was also tiny compared to HD-based systems, and had vastly higher capacity compared to the flash systems. The firewire connection ensured that it was quick to charge and load, and let it double as a hot-swappable HD. As far as it being Mac-only... Apple hadn't ever made a Windows device before, and why would they? Nobody really anticipated what a game-changer this would be for the whole industry. The iPod wasn't "developed by an outside company" either. Apple contracted with two different outside companies that had more experience in the consumer electronics area, but that's not the same thing, and much of the work was kept in-house. It's not like when they were just selling Canon printers with an Apple badge on them. ...as far as succeeding because of "who Apple was", in 2001 they were "that company who's going out of business". Everyone knew it. It was just a matter of time.

        • I'm dubious that Apple had any weight to throw around in the early 2000s. They were almost dead by 1999. The iPod single-handedly saved the company. But other than that, nice revision of history you've provided.

      • by YojimboJango (978350) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:37PM (#38879949)

        I hate to do this to a +5 insightful, but you're wrong.

        The first iPod that came out was in direct competetion with the nomad zen. The zen had a longer battery life (14 hours vs 10 hours), bigger harddrive (60gig vs 20 gig), usb1.1 and firewire (the iPod only had firewire), a tuner, and a microphone, and worked on windows, osx and linux (the iPod was a pain on osx and a nightmare for windows). I will give you that the interface was a step up after you got your music on it, but viewed side by side, and dollar for dollar (as I did back then), you'd have to wonder what people were smoking when they bought an iPod. They were not competing with cd-mp3 players at all, and they didn't start competing with the flash players till years later.

        The only thing they at had at first had was white headphones and a bunch of monocrome dancing ads, but, as history has shown, marketing beat out the technically superior product. It wasn't till about 2005 that the iPod actually became the superior product.

        • by rylin (688457) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @02:01PM (#38880219)

          The original iPod had 5 or 10GB of disk.
          It wasn't until the Zen that NOMAD got firewire.

          Thanks for playing!

          • by ultramk (470198)

            Ah, you're closer but no cigar. The original iPod was at first only available as a 5gb, although they eventually bumped it to 10gb. :-)

          • Runs off to check wikipedia...

            Ok you were right, there was a version of the iPod released in november 2001 that was actually much worse than the one I remember. Also yes, it was the Zen that had firewire. That is what my post said. The Zen technically competed with the second gen iPod (released 9 months later).

            I probably never considered it because it was impossible to use if you didn't own a brand frickin new mac with OSX 10.1 (which came out in september 2001). It was the second gen iPod released 9 mon

            • More importantly, iPods actually got better with each generation. Whatever happened to Nomad?

        • The only thing they at had at first had was white headphones and a bunch of monocrome dancing ads, but, as history has shown, marketing beat out the technically superior product. It wasn't till about 2005 that the iPod actually became the superior product.

          I think what they had was iTunes which did everything. Now I didn't need to use one program to rip CDs, another to play them, and manage all the files myself. I just put in a CD and clicked a button and it was in my library, could be played on my computer, and would be copied to my iPod once I connected it. I certainly don't remember it being a nightmare on OSX, but exactly the opposite. However, I didn't actually get an iPod till the 3rd gen. One thing that really helped the iPod, was that it never stood s

        • I hate to do this to a +5 insightful, but you're wrong.

          The first iPod that came out was in direct competetion with the nomad zen. The zen had a longer battery life (14 hours vs 10 hours), bigger harddrive (60gig vs 20 gig), usb1.1 and firewire (the iPod only had firewire), a tuner, and a microphone, and worked on windows, osx and linux (the iPod was a pain on osx and a nightmare for windows).

          When I was 18 I cared about tech specs, because, well, I was 18. By the time the iPod came out, I had matured beyond obsessing about tech specs and bought the better overall product, the iPod, because there's more to a device than its specs.

        • by vakuona (788200)

          And that is why you are not, and will never lead a big company. Anyone who compares an iPod to an mp3 player that came before it, or even many that came after it, is deluded. I did own at one point a Cowon iAudio M5. And then I bought an iPod. Wasn't as good as the first iPhone even. The Zune might have come close.

          And your priorities are really weird if you think it is more important to get the bit where you put music onto a player right, than the interface you use everyday. I hardly sync my iPhone nowdays,

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:23PM (#38879079)
      When was the last time you really saw a brand new unique product?

      You got a Rock, You smash you hand it hurts, your enemy comes after you, you smash him with the rock, you win. Lets get a bigger rock, lets attach a stick to that rock. Lets sharpen the point of that rock, Lets use lighter rocks that throw better. Lets use an other stick to throw that rock and stick further, Lets put a vine to an other stick and use that to fire the rock on a stick. Lets add some feathers so it flies smoother.....

      You were walking over a log you pushed it and a heavy object on to of it moved much easier, you use the the log to move other heavy objects, you get more logs and move it. You use the large part of the log and put a heavy stick in the middle and moving things is a little easier you put something around the Stick to stop it from slipping off, you get an animal to pull the wagon....

      Innovation is not coming with something brand new and amazing it is incremental steps improving the original product. Then finding a good niche for your improvement.
    • There seems to be ongoing confusion between innovation and invention. What you describe as Apple's innovation is what innovation is in general -- you start with an existing thing and improve it some way. Coming up with something completely new is invention and I don't think either Apple or Google do a lot of that.
    • by w_dragon (1802458)
      Apple created one thing that didn't exist before that is what really saved the company. It wasn't the iPod, it was the thing that actually made the iPod useful for most people. Apple created iTunes. They actually got license agreements to sell songs online, legally, for a price that people would pay. That was why everyone bought iPods, because they could play music that you could purchase legally without having to rip a CD. Combined with the original iPod being a pretty good MP3 player they were able t
      • by alen (225700)

        apple didn't create itunes. they bought a company that sold music management software and renamed it. there were two at the time. SoundJam and something else. don't remember the names. I think the first one said no to a buyout and the other one said OK and iTunes was born. forgot the details but that was about it.

      • by alen (225700)

        and there were online music marketplaces before. apple tied to a product and made DRM music a safe buy.

        the ipod was a good product and unless you're a bored tech boy trying something new every month there was no reason to switch and "lose" your music

      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        Slight quibble: iTunes Store.

        iTunes software was some music organizer application they bought and rebranded.

      • by doom (14564)

        Apple created one thing that didn't exist before that is what really saved the company. It wasn't the iPod, it was the thing that actually made the iPod useful for most people. Apple created iTunes. They actually got license agreements to sell songs online, legally, for a price that people would pay.

        Before iTunes, there were places like eMusic (I used to work at one of the many incarnations of it before it started getting bought and traded around). eMusic had cut deals with every indie label in existenc

    • by doom (14564)

      Close:

      pick one or a select few thought to be the top features and do them better than everyone else

      Really what they do is convince everyone that they're doing it better. If you have any trouble with an apple product, obviously that's you're fault, everyone knows that they're so easy to use. Clearly you need to get in touch with the Tao of Apple.

    • I suppose Apple invented the idea that sentences in English begin with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark.

  • Elites (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) * on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:54AM (#38878683) Homepage Journal
    Needs one kind of elite to innovate, and another kind of elite to monopolize, shut down, put trivial patents around that innovations or other "innovative" measures to avoid them to succeed.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:08PM (#38878873) Journal

      Needs one kind of elite to innovate, and another kind of elite to monopolize, shut down, put trivial patents around that innovations or other "innovative" measures to avoid them to succeed.

      Heh, I got some laughs out of reading this article as well:

      Yet Apple has also repeatedly displayed its openness to new ideas and influences as exemplified by the visit that Mr. Jobs made to the Palo Alto research center of Xerox in 1979. He saw an experimental computer with a point-and-click mouse and graphical on-screen icons, which he adopted at Apple. It later became the standard for the personal computer industry.

      Is "adopted" the right word here? It's funny how some people consider that same "influence" to be stealing [forbes.com].

      In 2010, Apple bought Siri, a personal assistant application for smartphones. At the time, it was a small start-up in Silicon Valley that originated as a program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Pentagon. Last year, Siri became the talking question-answering application on iPhones.

      So those are you examples for 'repeatedly displayed its openness to new ideas and influences'? They "borrow" and idea and then they buy up and assimilate a start-up? Well, if that's your frame of reference, Microsoft excels at openness too! I know this article is not even trying to be exhaustive but Android isn't even mentioned once. I don't understand how Apple can even be called "open" when compared with Google's offerings to everyone [openhandsetalliance.com].

      • by rjstanford (69735) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:14PM (#38878955) Homepage Journal

        Is "adopted" the right word here? It's funny how some people consider that same "influence" to be stealing [forbes.com].

        Of course, the fact that Apple did, indeed, pay Xerox for those ideas, makes it hard for most people to see it as stealing. They got an amazingly good deal because Xerox didn't value what they'd developed. Again, not stealing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Is "adopted" the right word here? It's funny how some people consider that same "influence" to be stealing [forbes.com].

          Of course, the fact that Apple did, indeed, pay Xerox for those ideas, makes it hard for most people to see it as stealing. They got an amazingly good deal because Xerox didn't value what they'd developed. Again, not stealing.

          So very very very wrong [wikipedia.org].

          • How is buying $1M of pre-IPO stock not paying them? They made about ($29-$22/$22)M dollars or $318k on the first day from that agreement.

        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          They also misinterpreted what they saw. Jobs thought that he saw overlapping windows and insisted that the Apple engineers figure out a way to do this. Later on, they found out that Xerox stuff didn't do overlapping windows. So Apple did manage to code something new. Once. But it's not like they got OS source code from Xerox, so they could write a GUI app and then incorporated some of that code in Mac OS.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @11:55AM (#38878705)

    Apple got away with top-down because it had developed an incredibly strong brand, with incredible customer loyalty. Part of this was based on the intense focus they had/have on image control and artistic design, part of it on the almost cult-leader-esque charisma of Steve Jobs, and part of it on their conscious cultivation of their "hip underdog" status (even as they became anything BUT an underdog).

    Very few can pull that off. And it takes a lot of work over a very long period of time.

    • Do you honestly think every single feature of every single product Apple releases comes from the top?

      The facts are that Apple has a lot of smart engineers. Major product directions (like producing an iPhone or AppleTV), sure that comes from the top. But within the confines of a product people at all levels are coming up with ideas.

      Now ultimately those have to be approved by people at the top, but I do think a really successful project needs a handful of people to control direction, or you'll have an expl

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Do you honestly think every single feature of every single product Apple releases comes from the top?

        Exactly. One of the neat features in 10.3 was Expose, which started as a simple hack to Quartz Extreme (the GPU windowing system at the time, which didn't include GPU-based compositing). It was kind of a basic thing - since the windows were just textures in memory, they could certainlly be manipulated like a normal 3D scene. All Expose did was rearrange and rescale the windows around, letting the GPU handle

      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        So... you're saying they have really good editing skills?

      • I read in an article once that Steve actually dictated what was served in the company cafeteria - sure spaghetti and meatballs wasn't his invention, but it was sure his idea that day.

    • by ultramk (470198) <ultramkNO@SPAMpacbell.net> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:26PM (#38879119)

      Really what you're saying is just a variation on "Apple fans are all deluded fools who buy everything because it's cool." Of course, that kind of ignores history: Apple wasn't the cool brand by any stretch until the last 12 years or so.

      The reason that over the years Apple was able to make and retain such intense customer loyalty was because they chose to focus on making sure that every aspect of their products made the user's life a little bit easier. When you see--in a thousand little ways--that someone has gone to the trouble of trying to make it easier for you to do what it is you're trying to get done... intense loyalty is a natural result.

      The difference between the Mac OS and Windows (back in the old days at least) was that Windows was designed and engineered to sell to IT buyers and CTOs--not the users, while the vast majority of Macs were bought by the person who would use them. The difference in priority showed.

      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        Nope, everyone who's ever purchased anything at any time from Apple is obviously a handlebar mustached, penny-farthing riding, latte sipping esthete with too much money and no knowledge of anything related to computers. They don't even open the boxes they bought but just show them off at fancy parties, with everyone gathered around their $5000 dollar coffee table and sound like the dad from Wild Thornberries.

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        Really what you're saying is just a variation on "Apple fans are all deluded fools who buy everything because it's cool." Of course, that kind of ignores history: Apple wasn't the cool brand by any stretch until the last 12 years or so.

        Apple has always been "cool" or did you forget the Macintosh, and the 1984 Superbowl commercial?

        The reason that over the years Apple was able to make and retain such intense customer loyalty was because they chose to focus on making sure that every aspect of their products made the user's life a little bit easier.

        Apple products are no more easier or harder to use the Microsoft's. But Apple has done a tremendous job building up a cult like following. That is why they retain such intense customer loyalty. People didn't line up because the products worked, they lined up because it was "cool."

      • by Kartu (1490911)
        Apple wasn't the cool brand by any stretch until the last 12 years or so. Neither was it remotely as popular. But I recall the "fastest computer" with IBMs CPUs bogus ads and iZealots defending it.
      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        The reason that over the years Apple was able to make and retain such intense customer loyalty was because they chose to focus on making sure that every aspect of their products made the user's life a little bit easier. When you see--in a thousand little ways--that someone has gone to the trouble of trying to make it easier for you to do what it is you're trying to get done... intense loyalty is a natural result.

        Yet, they haven't done this, per se. In some ways, it's been a symptom of their own efforts, but for the most part it hasn't even happened. There is not much Apple has done which has been innovative or even all that useful which was not done before.

        The answer is in two words: black turtlenecks. Quite simply, good, consistent marketing, a cohesively uniform product/corporate image, and trendy products naturally appeals to trend-setters (and those who appeal to them). Remember the "I'm a Mac" commercials, and

      • by zzsmirkzz (974536)

        Really what you're saying is just a variation on "Apple fans are all deluded fools who buy everything because it's cool." Of course, that kind of ignores history: Apple wasn't the cool brand by any stretch until the last 12 years or so.

        You just proved his point. They weren't very big/relevant until about the same time, when they became cool.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:00PM (#38878775)

    Yes, some people are better at some things than other people are, so in a sense "elites" always exist. But they can be organized quite differently, in particular when it comes to openness and boundaries, or what you might call a welcoming versus elitist mentality.

    For example, the Homebrew Computer Club was an elite in a sense, but an elite that was: 1) open in a literal sense to anyone who in good faith wanted to come and participate; and 2) open in a cultural sense to educating people and spreading knowledge. It wasn't an elite in the elitist sense, of a closed club that wouldn't let you in if they didn't deem you worthy. If anything, they represented the opposite type of hacker, the hacker evangelist who actively wants to spread the good word, knowledge, passion, and skills.

    There are some modern organizations that operate similarly, aiming for high quality of community and discourse (so part of the "tech elite"), but without the exclusionary/attitude sort of aspects (so not "elitist"), like Noisebridge [noisebridge.net], the Hacker Dojo [hackerdojo.com], and the SuperHappyDevHouse [superhappydevhouse.org] hackathon/parties.

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:03PM (#38878821) Journal

    When asked what market research went into the company's elegant product designs, Steve Jobs had a standard answer: none. "It's not the consumers' job to know what they want," he would add.

    This is misleading. Jobs usual answer was closer to, "Customers really don't know what they want until they actually use it."

    He liked to quote Henry Ford:

    "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said 'faster horses'."

    • This is misleading. Jobs usual answer was closer to, "Customers really don't know what they want until they actually use it."

      Anyone who has ever developed software for anyone else comes to this conclusion at some point.

    • It's the concept in graphic design that people know when something looks better than something else, but they can't explain why, they just can tell.

      Same thing goes with a lot of Apple stuff. People don't know what they want until they see a good example of it. It defies "supply and demand". There was no demand for the iPad...Apple created demand where there was none by showing the consumer what they didn't know they wanted.

  • by recharged95 (782975) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:10PM (#38878909) Journal

    Top Down == innovation for the sake of business (value)
    Bottom Up == innovation for the sake of knowledge (evolution)

    Hasn't changed for thousands of years if you think about it. Aside from the power hunger dictator once in a while.

  • Fun video on motivation studies that appeared in my Facebook feed today. Interesting for anyone who wants to give it a watch. Big companies and small alike deal with encouraging innovation and motivation in their own ways. http://youtu.be/u6XAPnuFjJc [youtu.be]
  • the Cathedral and Bazaar meme here, I'm gonna call a GodWin.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      the Cathedral and Bazaar meme here, I'm gonna call a GodWin.

      You just did, so GodWin!

      And seriously, it's not a meme, it's an essay [catb.org] by Eric S Raymond which seems to capture pretty well exactly why Paul Saffo is completely wrong.

  • Billion dollar revenue products that redefine the company. Google has had about three: Search, Adwords, and Android. Apple has had about six: Apple-2 , Mac/laser-printer, iPod, iPhone, iPad. Apple had a drought in the 1990s that nearly killed it. MicroSoft has been mostly living in the past the last decade. Every has to continually innovate to avoid Kodakization.
    • Billion dollar revenue products that redefine the company. Google has had about three: Search, Adwords, and Android.

      Search and Adwords are intertwined. You can't really separate them if you're talking about these products in the context of revenue creation.

      Android, on the other hand, is a net loss for Google. 2/3rds of search traffic on mobile comes from iOS devices for all that marketshare Andy Rubin keeps talking about. Android development costs + Motorola acquisition put the entire project in the red by

  • by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @12:59PM (#38879495) Journal
    I think that the whole Article is based on a false premise, i.e. that the two approaches are different, while in reality the Apple model is a (successful) subset of the Google model.
    In Google, no committee or burocracy has control of the creation model, same as in Apple. in Steve Jobs' Apple, only one person had the control of the innovation process; in Google apparently no one has it, it seems a bit like trying to see in the dark by tossing ping pong balls and hearing the sounds.

    They DO have one thing in common: no one is tasked of "organizing the process", so the burocracy priesthood, "fill the proper form", " there's no time at the next committee, we have quarterly reports; would june next year suit you?", is nowhere to be seen, or rather is firmly put into place as a service to the cutting edge part, design, production and marketing. The parts of the company that are usually overpowering in a normal organizations are simply not there on a decision making level.

    Incidentally, and I quote "John Kao, an innovation adviser to corporations and governments" has a sysiphean task; It's the existence of these layers that makes the organizations wilt in the face of change, not their inadequacy, so I think his business card in my view should state "lost causes" as a specialty.
  • Democracy in the sense of distributed power is precisely what leads to innovation. Telecommunications and an educated public are two of the biggest factors in innovation. The more people are able to share, copy and build upon the innovations made by others, the greater the amount of innovation we have.
  • by RevEngr (565050) on Tuesday January 31, 2012 @01:24PM (#38879791)
    There's a subtle thing here that I think often gets lost in discussions of this nature. The fact is that much (most?) innovation is "top-down" in the sense that there is one person holding the entire idea in their head that ultimately drives its attainment. That person might be a team of one, in which case they are just managing themselves, or they might have 20 people reporting to them that they can direct.

    Whether you consider the resulting innovation top-down or bottom-up really depends on the context of that person within their organization. (And if you are in the organization, it depends on your own position in relation to that person).

    Consider a manager in a company like Google who has 20 people reporting to her. Imagine that this manager has a vision of some innovation she believes she can achieve through the work of her 20-strong team, and so she manages the team in an extremely hierarchical and directed way in order to achieve it. She sets goals for individuals, she approves all design decisions, she vetoes any aspect of the project - at any level - that she doesn't like or that don't fit into her vision of how the result should look.

    If the result of this process is ultimately perceived to be some Great Innovation (say, something like Google Maps), then outside observers are very likely to point at this as an example of why "bottom-up" is the best way to get innovation. After all, the manager was low-level, and was operating outside the direct influence of upper management, such that the innovation "emerged" rather than was designed from the top down.

    Yet this same scenario tweaked such that the manager is instead the CEO of a 20 person company suddenly looks like the epitome of "top-down" hierarchy a la Steve Jobs. People will point at the CEO and say that she is controlling and hierarchical. But, again, if the result is good, this will be used as an example for why top-down hierarchies are "good" for innovation.

    I've witnessed this directly in my own career. Several years back, as the lead of a team of ~20 people, I developed "innovative" new products that were not dictated by upper management of my 2000-person employer. It was seen as 'bottom-up' innovation in the organization, even though I was fairly hierarchical with the team and driving them to my vision. No matter, it was 'bottom-up' because I was innovating without being instructed by my bosses. Flash forward to being CEO of a 40+ person company with a ~20 person product/engineering team. The same characteristics that brought me success and the perception of "bottom-up" success at the large company are now perceived as "top-down" and controlling in this organization.

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