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Sunday, February 15, 2015

$aapl 'secret' sauce

While I enjoy momentum whoring, I am pretty obsessive with understanding the fundamentals of the companies whose stocks I trade. Obsessive. 

Leads to a seemingly endless supply of case studies, and new found knowledge. 

I try to understand the management, their decisions, the company processes, the market opportunity, the market strategy, the effects of macro/micro economics on that strategy / product, competition, etc. This leads to an addiction of chatter monitoring to observe shifts in the level of understanding and market inefficiencies. (The chatter also includes some trickle of information to better understand a company's process. That's always a pleasant surprise.)

Turns out this persistent defect is great for trading. But it's also where I am a subject matter expert. For realz: out side of my money managing life, I am a industrial (if-you-fuck-up-people-get-hurt) risk manager.

Finance industry has pseudo risk management. In the technology sector the concept is non existent. Except, I think, at Apple. What is typically known as a technology company, the common understanding is that they move fast and okay to fuck up. Leads to beta releases and incremental improvements. 

Not completely true with Apple. Apple originated as a fully integrated (software and hardware) technology company, at a time when computer replacement cycles were non-existent. Their goal, as is today, was to make a device that lasted a long time. This requires a grueling thought process to minimize failures. How they preform this thought process is basically a risk assessment.

Apple products last a really long time, with high resell value. This means they minimized failure points. They have been too consistent at this to attribute it to luck. There is a well defined process to which they follow, that allows them to minimize the failures.

This process can be established anywhere, but it's the context around how they minimize those failure. As Steve Jobs consistently explained, and Tim Cook continues to echo the words, it's about making the best products.

The product process starts with an idea. A small team develops the whisper to a tangible object. That object is iterated upon, with the 'risk thought process' to create an awesome product.

Once the product is finalized the 'risk thought process' is most likely applied to component construction and manufacturing. (Their level of efficiency indicates Lean Principles are applied well in advance.)

Basically, seems like Apple's secret sauce is disciple to its promise to consumers and the process to which it created to maintain that promise. Or I'm completely off base, but that's my guess.

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