Jennifer B. Davis
I just finished John Sculley's book Odyssey that talks about his time transitioning from an executive at Pepsi to being the CEO at Apple (infamous for firing Steve Jobs). I know it is a bit retro, but it was recommended and I found it interesting to read the description of a technology company from someone who didn't grow up in the industry. My favorite line of the book is a comment John made that some criticized Apple for being "a vertically-integrated advertising agency." I laughed because I think that criticism is more true today than it was in the time that Sculley was there.

Now, I should say that I am an Apple fan. I wish them well. I don't own a Mac. I have an iPod, but would consider myself a late adopter of it and even now most of our iTunes library was ripped from CDs. I am not a fanatic, but appreciate some of their innovations (like in product packaging and the cool graphic style they use in their ads, for instance).

That said, I wonder if all companies shouldn't strive to be called vertically-integrated ad agencies. Ad agencies love selling what sells. They love promoting things that make it big and make them famous. They love talking about products that coincide with social trends, consumer sentiments, and are seen as differentiated. Who wouldn't love making a product or service that ad agencies "wish they thought of" themselves?

So, I wonder if we spend enough time as thinking about what products we'd want to sell, if we had them, instead of what we are going to do to sell the products, now that we have them?
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