Fight or Flight Against The Corporate Antibodies

How HP Missed Out On The Apple 1

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I have a very simple reason for being passionate about pushing back (fight) against corporate antibodies. Nearly all great ideas require nerve, vision, and guts to get in motion.

The corporate antibody is the first of many hurdles that you’ll need to push your idea past. If you can’t develop the skills to fight for you idea and work around your in-house adversaries, you are going to struggle to ever get your ideas and innovations off of the ground. Even if you are unable to get their support for your idea, try to look at your interactions with them as valuable learning experiences. If you are unable to get them on board and supportive, figure out why. Break down your interactions, figure out where the mistakes were made in the past, and decide how you will do things differently in the future, both with corporate antibodies, and the organization as a whole.

If you find yourself turning down a great idea because you believe that “it’s been done before” or “customers will never accept it,” then there’s a good chance that someone else will be willing to take the risk. In 1976 Steve Wozniak, later of Apple Computers, was working at HP. They called it the Apple 1. You know how that story turns out.

If an idea doesn’t fit into the context of what a person knows, understands, and believes in, it’s easy to see it as folly. Years later the manager who declined to take that first personal computer to market, Dave Cochran, was gracious enough to do an interview with me for my podcast. When I brought up the story, Cochran was quiet for a second and said, “Yeah I looked at him and I said, ‘Who would want a personal computer?’” He paused for a second and added, “Who knew?”

Note: Checkout the Killer Innovations Podcast interview with David Cochran and his comments on Steve Wozniak and the creation of the Apple 1

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