Hi Mr. Jones. I caught your MSNBC interview this morning with Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski re: your new book, Who Cares Wins: Why Good Business is Better Business. You made some excellent points re: how transparency, authenticity and speed will win the day for corporations; about how companies who expect to do well must increasingly expect to do good, as it is becomes ever easier for consumers to suss out egregious behavior and punish bad actors (from un-friending to public humiliation).
Towards the end of the interview, Ms. Brzezinski asked, “Do you like iPhones?” I saw this as a big set-up question. I thought she’d ask you how Apple could possibly be so popular, given the damn near nefarious practices of its manufacturing partners in China. Turns out she was just pissed that she’d broken her new phone. What a wasted opportunity. So, I’ll ask you, Mr. Jones:
If – as you posit – we live in a dawning era in which lame and/or evil business practices will be readily discovered by consumers who are increasingly empowered to publicly discuss and punish such practices, how do you explain the outsized popularity of Apple?
Based on numerous articles in well-read and esteemed publications such as The New York Times and Wired, among others, it’s been made crystal clear that Apple is no friend to U.S. manufacturers (nor to American workers), nor does it seem to take more than a cursory interest in the working conditions of Chinese workers.
Where is the outrage?
For the record, I don’t have the answer – and despite my harangue above, I freakin’ love my iDevices. For the record, I sincerely believe in what your book evangelizes. I haven’t read it yet; maybe you talk about “The Apple Exception?” Is it an exception? Is a company that produces superb product (and pays lip-service to the proper causes) exempted from the new paradigm?
I write this Open Letter because a) I could not believe the plum-sweet opportunity that Ms. Brzezinski criminally let slide(!!), and, b) because I genuinely wonder about the answer. You seem a smart, decent, and well-connected fellow – heck, you probably have Apple CEO Tim Cook’s cell phone number! – and I hope you can help me figure this out.
UPDATE: If you write an Open Letter to someone and they respond within 24 hours, they deserve more than just an “approved comment.” Mr. Jones was kind enough to reply last night.
it’s a great point – and consistently over the last few years the number one company that people have used against my argument that business must behave better is apple – i actually talk about them and jobs in the book and make the point that the massive decline in share price with the iphone 4 quality issues was caused because they weren’t transparent authentic and fast and instead kept avoiding the issue and coming up with poor excuses – they were using a command and control model not an open model – i don’t have tim cook’s email but i do believe that we are seeing signs that he gets it – they recently published a list of where they source and produce 97% of their products – a total first for apple – and something they would never have done in the old regime – so hopefully we will see much more progress in this space from them – it’s a huge opportunity – but also a huge necessity – and i honestly believe that if we don’t, apple will be the ones who suffer, maybe not this month or this year, but it’s coming…………..
Posted on: February 8, 2012 at 11:12 am By Todd Defren