I think it’s an encouraging sign that Apple bought Beat. Now let’s see if they can integrate Beat’s leaders with their culture.
Why do I think it’s encouraging? As everyone knows Steve Jobs was the visionary at Apple. That is he could look at something and had an unbelievable ability to see if it was cool. But more than that, he had focus and energy to look at lots of cool things and pluck out what was really cool, drive people to create something cooler, or move mountains to make technologies he thought he needed for cool to come about.
What he didn’t do is hire competing executives. He hired complementary executives. That is he surrounded himself with guys who could execute what they know Steve would like, or find cool things for Steve to choose from. But the final decision was always Steve. With him gone the decision maker for cool is gone. Apple’s problem is now who decides what’s cool? And for a company like Apple, that’s the difference of remaining on top or just becoming another Silicon Valley technology company.
So Beat, the guys at Beat are cool, know what cool is, and can project ahead what consumers will buy because it’s cool. Which is what Steve Job’s did. By buying Beat, Apple has now bought executives that hopefully can fill the shoes Steve Jobs left empty.