Let’s talk about Apple for a minute. A decade ago, Apple was a company on the verge of bankruptcy. Since then, it has beaten expectations several times over the last decade. Just when we end up thinking that this is the best iPod ever, Jobs comes on the stage with a better one wow-ing the world. Beating super high expectations time and again is the genius of Apple. Apple has put life in fields that were thought to be saturated and dead along with setting new standards. Just like a decade ago you would have never thought of spending this handsomely on a personal music player (year after year) but changed your mind for the iPods, up until two years back, a mobile phone was treated as something that will be given away for free with a service agreement. Along came iPhone, price equations changed and new standards were set. Suddenly everyone in the mobile phone industry dropped their preset three year plans to design the perfect copycat. Today Apple is a cash rich cow with $21 billion in cash. For any brand enthusiast, it is one of the biggest compliment to be called the Apple of your own industry.
Now back to Obama. Obama’s journey to the White House maps pretty well to that of Apple. A few months before Iowa Democratic primary, he was 30 points behind the presumed Democratic nominee. He was different and he did beat expectations of one and all, time and again. He pumped life into the seemingly dead Democratic primary that people expected Hillary Clinton to wrap up in a few months. The curiosity and political interest he stirred in young people was comparable to the one generated by Apple products in the tech community. He pulled a whole new demographic of young voters to volunteer for his cause and vote (many for the first time ever) for him. His mavens were extremely vocal and enthusiastic tribe raising his popularity in the community along with winning him almost all the caucuses in the primaries. And above all, he definitely set the standards for the future presidential races in this country.
With economy in slump, terrorism around the world on a rise and image of the country not at its best, people elected Barack Obama with immensely high hopes. Expectations are higher than ever before. It will take us at least a few years to see if he is able to do an Apple with those expectations as well.