Teach, don’t apologize

Christopher Mims, in a piece for Quartz headlined “Why Steve Jobs wouldn’t have apologized for Apple Maps, and Tim Cook shouldn’t either,” has a very different take than mine on Tim Cook’s letter.

If Jobs were alive today, Apple would probably have remained silent on the maps issue or held a similar press conference – and one very different in tone from Cook’s letter. Jobs would have explained to the public that mapping is a uniquely difficult problem, and that the only way to build your own maps database from the ground up – one that could ultimately lead to a product superior to, or at least usefully different from Google maps – is to put it out in the wild and have millions of real users test it.

I like to imagine a world in which this corporate-communications tactic would have worked. Trying to get the general public on your side by educating them about something is a very, very difficult thing to do. Ask Al Gore. Figure out how to teach people about something they don’t want to understand and you’ll save the world.