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Today Apple announced its new iPad. Again this provides a lesson in decision making. With every Apple decision over the last decade, it will be criticized by many. The iPod was criticized because it would be just another music player. iTunes a was criticized because it was just another music store. The iPhone was criticized by many because Apple could not compete in the cell phone business. Apple apps were criticized because their value was not understood. The iPad is just a big iPod - that will be the criticism - too expensive, limited in media available, etc. But Steve Jobs, and Apple, can teach everyone valuable lessons in decision making. These decisions were single decisions; they were a decision to go down a new path. Each of these was the launch of a new product line in a new market space, not just a product. There are two decision lessons here for businesses. The first is to look at strategic decisions like this as creating a new path, not just a single decision. A new path creates opportunities along the way opportunities to launch new versions of the product and keep improving it. Apple kept improving the iPod, iTunes Store, and iPhone along the way, creating $12 billion in additional revenue. Businesses should approach strategic decisions a starting a journey on a new path and consider the opportunities it creates. The other lesson is bold move decisions. Each of these new product lines was a bold move decision. Apple has grown because of bold moves decisions. Too many businesses fail to even consider bold move decisions, let alone have the courage to make them. To be successful in the future, businesses need to make bold move decisions! These are decision lessons that can also be used in personal decisions. Decide to create and entirely new path for your life, instead of just making individual decisions. Make bold move decisions that can reshape you life. So look at the Apple iPad not just as a new product but as decision making lessons as well. Over its history, Apple also provided decision lessons in bad decision making, such as with the Newton. Steve Jobs learned from his good and bad strategic decisions and now is putting that experience to work. We can all learn from him too.

Michael E. McGrath is the creator of the popular Decide Better! decision-making series and bestselling author of Product Strategy for High Tech Companies. His recent book Decide Better! For a Better Life published in 2008, has been nominated for numerous awards and also named a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year.


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Apple iPad Decision