What You Can Learn From Apple’s Apology

October 2nd, 2012 by Nick Notas 4 Comments

Tim Cook Apologizes

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Apple’s recent apology for their mediocre Maps application is inspiring. When the CEO of the largest US company ever has the guts to publicly say “we screwed up” — it’s a big deal. I understand it’s a PR move but that doesn’t make it any less valid.

But Apple didn’t stop with a simple apology and admittance of guilt. They plastered the letter on their homepage for all customers to see. They openly recommended competitor’s alternatives by name. They even featured an entire third-party map section on their app store. All during their largest product release in history (iPhone 5).

Some would argue that they still get a cut of competitor sales on their own ecosystem, which is true. But how many “designer brands” would ever do what they did? You wouldn’t catch Porsche or Gucci saying “yeah we have serious flaws, you should check out Lamborghini or Prada in the meantime.”

Still, right after the release, people across the world had their pitchforks out. I read non-stop comments of “haha, they’re admitting defeat!”, “fail.” and “worst move ever.” This is the mindset of old. It’s the false belief that vulnerability and transparency are weak traits.

For generations we’ve been a culture of hubris and excessive secrecy. Companies point fingers, politicians spin stories, and men who are in touch with their emotions are deemed inferior. The issue is that people are more capable, skeptical, and investigative than ever before. When you deceive or hide your flaws, it will eventually blow up in your face. For example:

  • Apple’s iPhone 4 “Antennagate” – When iPhone users had reception problems, Steve Jobs claimed that people held their phones wrong. It made Apple look foolish and inconsiderate. Three weeks later, Jobs cracked under pressure and admitted he was in the wrong (through free bumper cases, not an official apology). By that time, it was too little too late and millions of people were left unsatisfied.
  • Netflix Pricing Fiasco – Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced that their prices were doubling. Instead of being forthright, he tried to spin it as “still a bargain” and actually a good thing — cue their stock plummeting 77%. If he had come forward and said, “I know this is tough. But we need to charge more to work with studios and give you the best selection possible.” I guarantee the response wouldn’t have been as overwhelmingly angry.
  • Anthony Weiner Sexting Scandal – Congressman Weiner tweeted a picture of his boner. Once caught, he didn’t fess up and denied the accusations for nearly 10 days. Eventually, he had to come clean and resigned because he lied to the public. Again, if he had been upfront and just admitted to showing his junk, the public would have gotten over it and he’d still likely be in office. People don’t like being lied to, just ask Bill Clinton.

This dated mentality is where many of us go wrong in social interactions and when trying to date women. We don’t recognize that being vulnerable and transparent takes courage and actually builds attraction. Guys who are emotionally unavailable can’t create meaningful connections with women. And men who refuse to take responsibility for their actions come off as immature and arrogant.

Here are six important points you should take away from Apple’s letter:

  1. Admitting fault doesn’t make you weak.
  2. A sincere, swift apology is integral to regaining trust.
  3. Honesty will earn you a second chance.
  4. A confident man recognizes and appreciates value in others.
  5. Failures are opportunities to evolve.
  6. The best solution comes from a humble understanding of what went wrong.

Soon more friendships, relationships, and businesses will thrive with candid honesty. Time is running out on deceit.

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  1. Habib Alamin on October 3, 2012

    Oh, wow! Do people still believe that the Antennagate was even a real issue? Even after it was proven that pretty much every phone drops bars if you hold it like a gorilla? Although I do believe that Steve could have handled it differently (a case is a patch, not a fix) for customers who were affected (which wasn’t most customers), I believe the Antennagate was blown out of proportion and many Apple haters used it with glee to turn people’s opinions of Apple the other way a little.

    Oh, welp! Forgot to say, in spite of that tiny difference of opinions, great post!

    • Nick Notas on October 3, 2012

      Most phones lose signal when you grip over the antenna and I agree that it was way overblown. Although, I do have to admit that because of the positioning and way it was exposed, it was easier than normal.

      I’m happy you enjoyed the post!

  2. Chris on November 8, 2012

    I’m an Android guy myself, but I do give props to Apple for taking the high road. It’s such bullshit when companies continue lying when everyone knows the truth. Great article, man.

    • Nick Notas on November 9, 2012

      There really is no benefit to lying, you usually get caught and it ends up much worse. Especially now since people spend hours finding holes in your statements. Thanks for reading.